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Hello friends and welcome back to another episode! Today I wanted to talk about something that is very personal to me but I think it’s probably personal to a lot of us. Chances are if you clicked on this episode you resonate in some way with what I’m going to talk about today and I do think that this is something more common than we would like to realize or maybe we don’t realize but a lot of us struggle with perfectionism. I think perfectionism shows up a lot in today’s society and it definitely shows up a lot in entrepreneurship!
We’re going to talk a bit about ways that I have recognized perfectionism in my work, in my life, and how I’m positioning myself in order to let go of some of those perfectionist tendencies.
There are some good aspects of having a kind of “achiever” personality but I think at this point in my life, I’m just realizing that perfectionism is not serving me in any way. In fact, I think that it holds me back in a lot of ways!
When we’re starting our own businesses and we’re putting ourselves out there every day, perfectionism can have an absolute chokehold on everything that you do. It can really taint a lot of the things that you end up doing because you have this idea that you have to be perfect. Of course, we all know that nobody is perfect and yet perfectionism takes hold of us and makes us think that we have to be perfect. That somehow we’re lacking if we’re not perfect and that can be a really damaging thought.
How perfectionism shows up in my work:
I want to start out by talking about how perfectionism shows up in my own work and this is something that I’ve known through the years but it’s become more and more apparent as I’ve gone on in my business and with recent events in my life. It has just really been glaringly obvious that I struggle with perfectionism.
Obsessing over my design work
The first way that I see this really popping up in my work is obviously just obsessing over my design work itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’m preparing a concept for a client and I second guess what I’m doing. I think “what if they don’t like this”, “what if this isn’t exactly what they had in mind” instead of just trusting myself. I have been doing this for several years, I know my clients, I know their industry, I know what would best suit them. In fact, they’re hiring me to tell them all that stuff! Yet here I sit, second-guessing my skills, second-guessing what I am providing to them.
I found that through the years the way I handled this was to present multiple concepts and have the client choose and for the client to really tell me what they wanted. Now, I still like to have a very collaborative work environment with my clients so it doesn’t bother me for them to have refinements (I actually really like that, I feel like it makes my work better in a lot of ways.) But for so long, I almost didn’t trust myself to design something that I felt like was good for my clients. So I wanted to give them options in case they also thought that it wasn’t good for some reason. So you can start to see where that perfectionism is actually just causing a lot of self doubt. It’s not that I wasn’t designing good things for my clients, it’s not that I don’t know what my clients need, it’s just that I am so hyper focused on designing something perfect and being the perfect designer for them that I feel like I just kind of let myself down and I don’t give myself the credit that I know that I deserve. I don’t trust my own creativity and it’s like I always trust the clients creativity more than my own sometimes.
Stressing over my marketing and social media
Next is how I show up in my marketing in my social media. This is another area that I see perfectionism a lot. I tend to stress over what I’m posting on social media, what I have in my captions, and how it all fits together within my feed. And I think a lot of us probably do this! It’s really hard to put yourself out there every day and to either be accepted or to not be accepted or to not have a lot of fanfare around something that you’ve worked really hard on! I think that social media just kind of has put in our minds that every single thing that we produce every single day needs to be noteworthy. That it needs to be the most beautiful thing. If we’re going to show it with our fans, our friends, and with other designers or other people in our industry, that it has to just be jaw-dropping.
The fact of the matter is that we all start somewhere and we don’t all start at the top of our game. I know that when I first started the Sweet Horizon Studio Instagram account I didn’t even really know what I wanted it to be. I was kind of a blog, I was kind of a designer, it was a little all over the place. I was following a lot of other designers that I looked up to and I was comparing myself to some of these women that have been in business for 10+ years at that point. And I always wondered why my social media account didn’t look like theirs, why I wasn’t getting the same comments, the same traction, the same engagement. And it really just kind of hyper focused this perfectionism that if I was going to show up on any platform that it needed to be the best of the best to get noticed.
I think in a lot of ways that has kept me from showing up on social media in a way that feels really natural to me because I don’t like to compare myself to other people. I like to just create from a place that feels really comfortable and natural to me. When I start posting things and comparing likes and comparing what other people are working on that week it does cause self-doubt and it makes me think that what I’m doing isn’t perfect. That it isn’t good enough. So a lot of times it has kept me from even showing up at all on social media. My mental health in some ways is better when I’m not showing up on social media constantly. And it all comes back to this idea that I have to be perfect in order to even show up or be there in the first place.
Worrying about client communication
I also see that perfectionism shows up in the way I communicate with my clients. I spend a lot of time honing in on my process and trying to figure out the best way to communicate with each client. And to be honest I have just found through the years that literally every client needs something different, which can be really frustrating when you’re trying to get down a process that makes sense. But some clients really need to have meetings in order to convey any sort of feedback. Other clients just want to send emails. Others are perfectly fine with feedback forms. I honestly have not found one type of communication that works well across-the-board for everyone. But I have spent a lot of time stressing about that and I feel like with every project that I take on there’s a little bit of time in the beginning where I am really trying to get that right and trying to figure out that particular client and what it is that they’re going to need. And again, it is just this idea that it’s up to me. It’s up to me to figure out what that client is going to respond to and what’s gonna be best for them. Sometimes I beat myself up over the fact that the process that I have for my clients doesn’t work for them. And that’s actually not a shortfall on my part, but it feels like it is in the moment because I’m always second-guessing why the client isn’t responding well to however I am choosing to communicate with them. And it feels like I’m not getting it perfect for them or that I’m not doing what I need to do for them. It’s silly. Everyone’s different, every relationship is different and really it just comes down to what the client is needing. It’s not that I am not doing a good job of presenting or that I’m not doing the right thing in order to get feedback, it’s that maybe that just doesn’t work for that client and that I need to tailor how I’m communicating with them in order to meet them halfway.
Stressing about financial investments
I also see perfectionism a lot in how I invest in my business. Any sort of financial investment to me is really stressful. I think it is probably stressful for most people to invest in their business but certainly for me in the past, I have always had this feeling that if I am going to financially invest then I need to really make it worth it.
So if I am taking a course for my business, then I need to do everything I can to absolutely get every drop of information out of that course and be the best student that I can be in order to get my money’s worth. In some ways I kind of blame being a high achiever in school on this, because I worked really hard in school and I did well in school and I went to a really fantastic design school for college and there is always this push obviously to perform well and you will reap the benefits. Now that’s a whole other conversation on whether or not higher education is necessary in order to run a business (and maybe will have a podcast episode on that) but this idea that if I am buying software or you know purchasing a course or getting a new template for something that I have to use it. That I have to get the most potential out of it in order for that investment to be worth it and it’s up to me to to get all of that information out of whatever it is that I’ve purchased.
That has just led to a lot of fatigue in what I’m even learning how to do. If you take a course and you second-guess all the things that you’re learning and you’re hoping that you’re getting the most out of it and you’re getting frustrated if you don’t understand something and the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is that could be a shortcoming of that course. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong. The same goes for other financial investments like software for designers or camera gear for photographers; all of that can feel kind of daunting.
Especially subscription services! I don’t know about you guys but I’m kind of over subscription services. I’m so tired when I see that just because it’s this perpetuating idea of the if you have invested in this and you’re going to continue to invest in it month after month, that if you aren’t fully using that program or if you aren’t using it all the time then you end up second-guessing it’s worth it. “Am I not doing something right in my own process? Should I be doing something different?” It starts to kind of spiral into this idea that there’s a shortcoming on your part. When in reality it could be that maybe you don’t need to use that software every month.
Maybe this investment is worth it even if it just brings in one client. Changing your perspective on that a little bit can help with those perfectionist tendencies but that is something that I have struggled with from day one. I’m always nervous to invest in my business because I just think “Do I have the time to put into this? Do I have the knowledge to get the most out of this?” And I put a lot of pressure on myself to make those investments worth it! This kinda goes into my next kind of point with perfectionism and how it shows up in my work.
Trying to learn everything I can
I find that I try to learn literally everything I can. Even things tangential to what I actually offer for my clients. So a lot of graphic designers these days offer different packages based on what they think you need. And so many of us now are offering brand strategy, or SEO help, or marketing help, and the list goes on and on. A lot of those things are actually outside of the actual graphic design work that we do. There’s even a lot to learn within the actual graphic design industry. Not only do you have to learn the programs, you have to learn how to design layouts in a way that’s gonna be the best for user experience, you have to learn all about what colors work well together, what typography works well together, how to balance images in text on a page or layout, I mean the list literally goes on and on! I find that I have spent so long trying to learn all the extra things so that I can literally be the best possible choice for my clients.
I think a lot of this perfectionism and my work shows up in a way where I am so stressed out that my clients are going to second-guess booking with me at some point (which again is so silly, that literally has never happened to me before) and yet I just had this idea that if I can’t help them with every single aspect of their business that they are going to question whether or not it was worth booking with me. Even in this podcast in the past, I have talked so much about you know how to position yourself in the blogging industry, how to attract clients etc. and it’s all been things that are actually outside of my graphic design expertise.
I feel like I know a lot about the graphic design industry, I know a lot about designing for clients, I know a lot about user experience, I know a lot about the tools that I use every day and how I can use those to best serve my clients. Yet I find that I also “need” to know about how they market themselves. I also “need” to know about coding (that’s a whole other conversation as well that a lot of designers don’t learn to code and that’s totally fine you know they hire developers). But for me, it was always I want to be everything I can be for my clients. And that also came in the form of being able to build websites for them or edit code and change things for them if they needed it. So there’s this perfectionism that shows up in just all of the avenues that I feel like I have to know about in order to be a good graphic designer.
Why I need to let perfectionism go:
Now as I’ve been going through all of these things I’ve kind of touched on how all this perfectionism has affected me, but really I have come to realize that all this perfectionism in my business is causing a lot of issues in just how I feel about my business. So there are several things that I want to touch on about why I feel like I really have to let perfectionism go.
You may be listening to this and thinking “Ok Catryn, this is perfectionism but look at all that it’s doing for your clients, look at all the stuff that you’re learning to do, look at what a better designer it’s making you!” Sure, yeah, maybe… but it’s also causing some major issues. I think that actual perfectionism does cause issues. Like I said, there is a difference between just being a high achiever and being a perfectionist that beats yourself up over things.
It’s causing burnout
One of the main reasons that I feel like perfectionism just has to go and it’s something that I’m really working on is the fact that it causes such severe burn out. I mean really it causes burn out in so many different areas of my business. I kind of touched on how I’m marketing myself and social media, gosh just makes me so tired to even show up on those platforms and to basically put myself out there every day. Sometimes I feel like I put out really beautiful things and see that it doesn’t get a lot of traction or a lot of engagement and that just hurts. I mean it hurts all of us when we put ourselves out there and get ignored.
The burn out that it causes me even in my actual design work is astounding because I second-guess my own creativity all the time. And all that that makes me do is work harder but then second-guess every design choice that I’m making. So not only am I coming up with extra concepts, and trying to find new ways to communicate with my clients, and obsessing over what I’m sending to them every week. But a lot of times I finish the day or I finish the week, I don’t even know if that was good work! Because I’m so in it and I can’t distance myself enough from it to say yeah that’s actually really great work! I second-guess it, I obsess over it, and I stress over it and it just has caused this sense of burn out where I just am so tired by the end of the week. I’m so mentally and creatively exhausted.
I second guess every design and decision I make
Along with that, it just has caused me to second-guess basically every decision that I make in my business. Not just design choices but financial choices, the types of clients that I’m working with, whether I’m marketing myself through social media, or even the content that I’m putting out on the blog and podcast. Even the aspects of my business that I do for fun like the sketches that I do, and these episodes where I get a lot more personal just talking to you guys. It does make me question those things. I don’t know if it’s always resonating with people or if the effort that I’m putting in is worth it, but I’m doing it anyway. And maybe that’s helping with perfectionism, I’m not really sure, but I can definitely see that this perfectionism does make me second-guess basically every way that I show up in my business. How could you not be burnt out by the end of the week if that’s what you’re dealing with every single day?!
It leads to comparison syndrome
It also obviously leads to massive comparison syndrome and impostor syndrome. As I said before, showing up on social media is really really hard for me because this perfectionism to always be putting my best work out there to always be showing off something great. I see all the work from all these other designers and that is hard for me. I think it would be hard for anyone to not compare their own work and their own creativity to the final product that everyone else is showing off as well! I’ve tried to kind of reframe what other people are showing off on social media. I’ve scrolled through some accounts that I really love to follow and I’ve noticed that they have maybe three or four projects that they’re really really proud of and they just show off that project over and over and over again in different ways (and I don’t know why that’s shocking to me!) I think I just always assume that people have new content that they’re putting out all the time when in reality they’re just showing off things that they did maybe even years ago that they’re still really proud of and they’re just finding new ways to show it off. They’re not creating something from scratch every time. So a lot of my social media strategy this year has been to have multiple posts per project that I can show off over and over or in different ways and really reuse some of my client work to showcase what I’m working on. I have such a bad tendency to show off a project once and then I just move on and I don’t show that project off again. I have so much client work that I just haven’t even shown on Instagram it’s actually absurd!
Comparing myself has also caused me to go through and mute a lot of the designers that I follow/ (And literally no hard feelings if I have muted you and I haven’t engaged a lot with your stuff and we are friends on social media, I’m really sorry it’s literally because I just love your stuff and I have such a hard time comparing myself to you! So please don’t take it personally! Not that most people would know if I’ve muted them.) But if you are ever comparing yourself to someone, you don’t have to unfollow them, just mute them from your newsfeed. I mean you can keep them so you see their stories so you can still engage from time to time. But I just couldn’t show up every day and only see other designers work. It’s just too hard on me for some reason.
I’ve said before that this perfectionism has held me back from even just showing up from even marketing myself to begin with! I second-guess what I’m showing and I obsess over what I think people want to see or how this is going to be educational for my clients. I have other designer friends that started around the same time that I did and they did show off their stuff and it definitely showed growth and they were putting themselves out there and marketing themselves and getting clients really before I was because I was just so scared to even show up!
It holds me back from simply showing up
I think I’ve told this before here on the podcast, but there was a point in time where when I would edit a photo (literally just a photo of me working) for Instagram I would literally export like five or six different versions of it and they would just be really slight tweaks to the editing. Granted, I was figuring out lighting, photography, and editing all on my own. I probably would’ve been much better served to just hire someone to take those photos for me but I was broke and I was just determined to figure it out myself. Of course perfectionism, I was going to do it myself, my way. But I would export so many different versions of a single photo and then sometimes not even post any of them because I didn’t think that they matched my feed enough which is just so crazy to me to think about now! I think in a lot of these ways the more you show up, the less you’re gonna stress about one individual post. At least that’s what I found to be true.
There never seem to be enough hours in the day
Finally, I just feel like I need to let go of perfectionism because I always feel like there are never enough hours in the day. If you feel like that too, that could also be a sign of perfectionism. It could be something else, but a lot of the time when I feel like I haven’t had enough hours in the day to get everything that I need to do done, it’s because I have painstakingly obsessed over everything that I’ve done that day. I have poured over client concepts, I have stressed over engaging on Instagram, I have changed up my processes. I mean you name it. That usually is a sign that I’m kind of falling into this perfectionism trap of everything needing to be so perfect for me to be okay with it.
There was a lady on TikTok, and I wish I knew her name, but she talked about perfectionism and working out and it really resonated with me. She talked about this idea of feeling like there’s never enough hours in the day to do everything that you need to do and she said “just stop trying to do everything perfectly and you’ll have more time.” I didn’t understand that at first, but if you feel like you’re struggling during a workout and it’s not perfect then you’re going to be more discouraged to stop your workout or to even come back to your workout the next day. You’re not going to want to do it because it wasn’t perfect the last time, or you didn’t sweat enough, you weren’t sore enough, or you didn’t go hard enough. She said if you just got up and you just move your body for 20 minutes or 30 minutes and say “ok good enough”, even if I didn’t sweat today, even if I didn’t kill myself today with working so hard, that it’s good enough. You just do that with other tasks throughout your day. You clean the dishes that you can get in a certain amount of time and you don’t worry about it. Otherwise, you pick up your bedroom and you don’t worry if things are perfect, you just do the things that you can do during a set amount of time and you move on. It gives you more freedom throughout your day and it feels like you have more time to think other thoughts because you’re not spending so much mental energy in doing things perfectly or sitting there and doing a task until it’s 100% perfect. If you do the task and it looks good and you move on and don’t worry about whether or not it’s perfect you can get more done.
I also shared an Instagram story last week (and again I wish I knew who it was) but it basically said don’t be afraid of B+ work, because B+ work can help your potential client and benefit them in a real way. If you don’t share your B+ work because it’s not A+ work, you could be preventing your client from getting that help, from benefiting their business, and from connecting with you. And I totally see that! If you’re obsessing over whether or not your work is perfect and that’s causing you to not show up or not have enough hours in the day to really show off your business and all the cool things that you’re doing, then that’s preventing clients from finding you and from getting help from you.
Perfectionism and how it shows up in grief:
Now I want to kind of step to the side here and also talk about perfectionism and how I’ve seen it show up lately in the midst of grief. I obviously have had a lot of grief in the last year which I’m not gonna get too much into in this episode. But my husband and I did lose a pregnancy halfway through. We also lost our dog who was literally like our first baby and certainly a third of our household. We lost his grandmother as well all within about a five month period and all of it was very very hard. But I have seen perfectionism show up in my grief in a very real way and I don’t think I realized it was perfectionism until my grief therapist was talking to me about it. So I just wanna take a second and talk about how these tendencies can pop up in ways that you may not expect when you’re going through a really stressful or a really heavy time in your life.
I overthink every situation and wonder what I could have done differently
I saw perfectionism show up a lot in the way I was overthinking different situations. I realized that every time a situation was tough or even if a conversation with someone about grief didn’t go the way I wanted, I always tended to overthink that situation and wonder what I could’ve done differently. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re going through life and wondering how you can be better and handle situations better, but the problem with this is that I was taking full responsibility for how situations were handled or how conversations were handled even if I felt like the other person maybe wasn’t understanding me or wasn’t meeting me in the emotional vulnerability that I needed. I’ve felt responsible for the conversation not going well and again that’s just like that classic perfectionism of thinking that it’s somehow my fault that every situation wasn’t perfect.
I feel the need to fix every bad situation, even those outside of my control
I also have seen that I have felt the need to fix every bad situation and I truly mean every situation. Situations that were totally outside of my control like with losing our baby. I had no control over our dog dying from cancer, and yet I felt such immense grief over the fact that I couldn’t fix it. I somehow couldn’t wave a magic wand or say the right thing or do the right thing in order to fix the situation. Again, just classic perfectionism of feeling like I somehow could’ve done something differently in order to keep our baby or to keep our dog or to keep Mike’s grandmother. And obviously, you can’t not think that way when you’re facing something so heavy.
I feel the need to control myself more when life is out my control
One of the worst aspects of life is death, and that’s totally outside of our control. Yet because things felt out of control, I felt like I needed to control something and that manifested in me over controlling myself. I still am seeing that quite a bit, and it’s something that I am working through. But when life kind of gets out of hand, and when things just kind of start going into total chaos mode, a lot of us are trying to overcompensate and try to control the things that we can control and a lot of that comes back to us. We have control over ourselves. We have control over what we say and what we do, how we spend our time, how we interact with our environment, how we interact with others. And that can manifest in a very perfectionist way of feeling like you have to be perfect in every single situation in order to make up for the fact that life is a mess.
I stress about how others will perceive or handle my grief
I’ve also stressed a lot about how I feel like others will perceive my grief. This kind of comes back to comparing myself to others. It’s like if other people aren’t going through grief, I almost don’t want to have them think that I’m over grieving or that I’m ridiculous in a way (which at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.) I’m going to grieve how I grieve, and someone else is going to grieve very differently than me because they’re a different person. But I have seen that in moments of weakness and moments where I was really struggling, I have come away from the situation and then stressed about how that other person perceived me in that moment. Whether or not I stressed them out when I didn’t mean to, or if they thought that I was being ridiculous for being so upset about the things that we were going through, and that’s a hard thing to not think about. I think we’re all very aware of the people around us and how interactions go and obviously, we all want to have good interactions with other people but I definitely overcompensated and worried more about what other people thought of me while also dealing with my grief.
I feel like I have to keep being productive while also grieving
Along with that, I also felt this need to be productive even while grieving and that is a very screwy thing. I think that’s a societal issue, that we feel like we have to always be productive. And I wasn’t allowing myself any time to just step back and just be present with my husband and to grieve with him. This comes and goes, because I still catch myself having days where I don’t feel creative at all and that I’m really struggling emotionally. I think my hormones are still kind of leveling out from the pregnancy in December and I have this tendency to push myself and feel like I need to be productive even when I am very much emotionally struggling.
Mike is reading this book right now called “The Gift of Imperfection” and if any of this has resonated with you, I highly recommend reading that book. I plan to read it after Mike does, but we have talked about it a lot already. There’s a whole section in there about digging deep and it’s basically this idea of “just get through this day, just get through this project, just get through whatever task you’re doing and then you can rest.” The author was basically saying that she’s not doing that anymore and that is so damaging in a way because it makes you feel like you just have to keep being productive, just do one more thing, just keep going. And I feel like I have been in that mode for a while now, where I just think “just design this concept and send it off, just get your blog post written, just show up on social media and do 30 minutes of engagement, just do this, just do that.” And then on the weekends, I absolutely crash like I don’t wanna think a single thought on weekends. I don’t want to be productive at all even though there are things around the house that I want to do and there are things that I want to do with Mike. It’s like I just literally check out on the weekends because of that digging deep and trying to do more is so exhausting.
Ways I’m combating perfectionism:
Okay, so I’ve shared with you a bit about how I’m seeing perfectionism show up in my life, definitely my work, certainly in my times of grief, and why I feel like I really need to let some of these tendencies go. So I want to share with you some ways that I’m actively combating perfectionism. Some of these have come from just my own perspective and talking through situations with Mike and trying to get a grip with all of this but also from talking to my therapist and some suggestions that she had as well. So if you struggle with these types of things as well, I hope that this helps but these are just some things that I have found have really worked for me.
Accepting the things I can’t control
The biggest thing (and this is really really hard to do) is accepting the things that I can’t control. There are aspects to life that are completely 100% out of our control and that is scary. I am not going to rose color that and say “oh it’s fine, you’ll be fine.” No. That is actually terrifying, and I’ve just had to come to a realization that I can’t control that. Even if I worry about it, I can’t control it. There are just things outside of my control. Other people and how they react to situations – that is outside of my control. I can control myself but there are limits to that as well and I need to let myself just be sometimes. I need to accept that there are things that I can’t control and that I don’t need to control. That is very very hard and that’s something that’s going to be a continuous journey for me as I move through this and understand myself and understand life.
Recentering myself in the knowledge that I am only human / No one is perfect
I’m also re-centering myself in the knowledge that I am only human. So while I can control myself, I need to be very aware that not a single person on this planet is perfect. I don’t need to put the pressure on myself to be perfect. We are all human, we are all figuring things out on our own time, we are all failing at things and that is okay. Whether it’s in your business or whether it’s in your personal life, if you are not necessarily where you think you need to be, that’s okay. You are on your own journey, you are figuring things out, you are becoming you. My therapist actually said to me that she always tells her son nobody’s perfect, except for me. I laughed when she said it, and she said he always laughs just like that because we all know that nobody’s perfect and so it’s comical to even say out loud to someone else “Oh, but I’m perfect” because we’re not! It’s okay! Actually life would be really boring if we were all perfect because gosh we’d all just be great at everything that we try to do and there would be no learning process or a journey to get there.
Writing down wins and monthly recaps, not just to-do lists
Other things that I found to be actually really helpful for my mental health (and I just started doing this earlier this year) but in my planner where I write down all my to do list I have also started writing down wins either for the week or for the month. I love to write down things that have just gone really well or things that I’m really proud of and it kind of repositioned my whole thought process on productivity. I’m always a list maker and I like to check things off but it’s also different to say “yes, I got this done” but then to write down “this went really well, I’m really proud of x,y, and z.” I feel like that has done wonders for how I feel about life and about my business and what I’m achieving. When I look back at my yearly recap and each month is filled in with my monthly wins and things that I did that I’m really excited about or really proud about, that is so much more fulfilling and it totally shifts my mindset to be about what I’m doing really well, not just about the tasks that I’m getting done.
Communicating more openly about what I’m needing
I’m also trying to communicate more openly about what I’m personally needing. And this goes across the board – with Mike, with my parents, with my friends, with my clients. I am trying to be very communicative about the things that I am able to do in a week right now, the things that I’m not, and the things that I need out of a week. If I’m talking with friends or talking with my parents, a lot of times I’ve had to say “this is what I am needing in order to feel fulfilled” and honestly it has made a ton of difference. I’ve let some friends know “hey I need to see you right now, I need to be around people” or with Mike letting him know “I really need some time with just us where we can focus on each other and not have to feel productive” and that has just made a world of difference. With my assistant, there have been days where I’ve told her “I am just not feeling productive today, my creativity is totally drained. I’m just feeling so overworked, I’m going to take a break.” I’m being really open about that communication. She can either pick up the slack that day and help me get some tasks done or she can just recognize that today’s an off day for me and the to-do list is not as important, but it’s necessary that I communicate that with others. I can’t just keep that to myself and expect everyone else to know what I’m needing or what I’m trying to do with my day.
Maybe the biggest moving forward is I’m learning to take breaks and I think that just when I get into this perfectionist mindset of having to do and having to overachieve, taking breaks is so so necessary. Taking the evenings off, not working long hours, taking the weekends off, and not leaving things to the last minute. Actually taking vacations, Mike and I are in Boone at the moment and we are skiing and having a wonderful time by the time this podcast airs! I am doing that simply because I need that time away. I need time to be free. I need time to think other thoughts and then I can come back and be creative and productive and all the things that I need to be in order to run a successful business, but you can’t keep going on and on and trying to be perfect every hour of every day. It’s just not possible. It’s not possible to be perfect ever, but it’s totally and completely unrealistic to expect that continuously forever in your schedule.
So if you struggle with perfectionism like I do, I really encourage you to try out some of those things that I’ve just mentioned but more than anything just give yourself some grace. You are amazing at what you do. Nobody can do what you do, the way that you do it. Just give yourself a break, acknowledge that you are human. Talk to yourself the way you talk to a friend because chances are you would not expect your friend to be everything that you’re expecting yourself to be.
So take a bit of a break today, go for a walk, do something that you enjoy, and I hope that you have enjoyed this podcast! I really hope that you take some time today to just appreciate all that you are and to give yourself some love! You deserve it!