Here at The Joseph Group we love books. We like to read them and we love to share the good ones with clients and friends. Dr. Brene Brown’s book “Dare to Lead” is one of our favorites. In one of Brown’s other best-sellers, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” she tackles perfectionism, writing, “Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” According to Brown, hiding behind perfectionism keeps you from leading an authentic life.
So, what are some ways to work to overcome perfectionism?
Change Your Objective
To stop perfection as a goal, shift your focus to signs of progress. There are many opportunities for success and growth that lie between failure and perfection, try to recognize those and appreciate each step toward your goal.
Whew, this is a tough one. If you set high standards, then judge yourself when you fall short, realize that is not at all helpful. Try to give yourself the same grace and empathy that you would a close friend struggling to meet a goal in their life. You would kind to that friend – try to be kind to yourself.
Be Authentically Positive
Authentic positivity helps combat the toxic pressures of perfection. Brown writes, “Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect…. Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”
Brown says the sheer power of vulnerability and living wholeheartedly is completely transformative. Part of living with a whole heart is the ability to cultivate authenticity – a practice you can choose every day. But to make that authentic choice, you must be willing and able to let go of what other people think.
If perfectionism is part of your life, start today to try to cast off that shield and open yourself up to the joy of your authentic, transformative life.
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Source: Guideposts.com, 3 Way to Let Go of Perfectionism