Grace over perfectionism. Well… I sat down to write this post, and thought I would listen to the latest Facebook Live I did on the same subject.
Oh my word!!
I actually said in my opening comments… and I quote, “Another part I’m working on with managing my thoughts is overcoming imperfection.”
Overcoming IMPERFECTION?? As in… I’m working on being perfect?
NOT what I meant to say! I had no idea that even came out of my mouth.
I just have to laugh because the comment provided a great example of what I was trying to convey: offer grace to yourself and release the grip of perfectionism.
Let me set the scene a bit more for you.
I have been wanting to do more speaking and writing, but seemed to always be waiting for the perfect situation, the perfect timing, the perfect schedule, the perfect class… which ultimately only led to more procrastination. Recently, I decided to take some action and start moving forward with this, which landed me in a coaching group for speakers.
Within this group we were given challenges to do Facebook Lives because most of us had never done one before. I’ve now done four of them, and each one has kept me humble, providing plenty of opportunity to release any illusion of being perfect. Hah!
For example, the first one I did was short and to the point. Little did I know (until I watched the replay)… my bed was in the background with clothes piled on it.
Facebook Live #2: This one was longer, so I taped my notes to the wall behind me to keep me on track. Toward the end, both note pages fluttered down, falling right in front of the camera as I spoke. Ugh! Definitely far from perfect, but I kept going as if nothing had happened.
FB Live #3: This was the first one I did outside of the challenge group on my personal facebook page. I did ok, but the background setting was STARK white and not very pretty to look at.
Sometimes you just need to get going, not worrying about controlling everything– and work on overcoming the thoughts that are holding you back.
Some Imperfect Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism
1. Be Willing to Encourage Yourself
If a friend did a Facebook Live and her laundry was piled on the bed in the background, what would I say to her? Would I say, “How stupid are you to not put your clothes away before doing a FB Live?” Or if her notes flew across the screen while she was sharing, would I berate her for that? No. Absolutely not. I would giggle with her about it and then focus on the positive parts of her presentation, letting her know what encouraged me. I would talk about her bravery and willingness to take a risk.
It’s so important we talk to ourselves the same way… the way we would talk to a close friend. Have that love and compassion to encourage yourself.
Cheri Gregory says it this way: ‘Perfectionism is grace rejection.’
Be willing to encourage yourself with the way you think and talk to yourself.
2. 80% Gets the Job Done
“A ‘good’ plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” (General Patton)
This is a whole new frame of mind for me. I am a ‘recovering perfectionist’ which makes it hard to embrace the idea of going for an 80%… a B-. But, a B- is a better-than-average grade and gets things moving. Dropping the attitude of needing everything perfect has brought about more productivity in my life.
It’s the get ‘er done philosophy. Perfectionism breeds procrastination.
My new outlook is to strive for excellence, but release the illusion of perfectionism. (It’s a work in progress!)
John Steinbeck says it this way, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
3. Choose the Freedom of Creativity Over the Chains of Perfectionism
Perfectionism will stop creativity every time.
I’m learning so much from my 12 year old daughter, Olivia. She will start multiple art projects and spend hours creating new things. Her creativity flows out of her ability to explore uninhibited. She will watch a how-to video, then go for it in total freedom… not worrying about the outcome, just enjoying the process of seeing where the project takes her. Her room is a complete mess while this is happening. If I went in, demanding she keep it picked up and organized as she works, it would kill the artistic spirit. If I can patiently give her a few days to ‘do her thing’, it’s amazing what she comes up with.
When I sit down to write, my best sessions are when I just let it flow without self-editing and analyzing every word.
There’s a time to revise and edit, or for Olivia— organize and clean her room— but it’s important to give yourself the freedom to create without having to be perfect.
Manage your thoughts by offering yourself grace to release the grip of perfectionism!
Matthew 11:28-30 (Message Translation)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me— watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I’d love to hear if you struggle with perfectionism and how you work through it.
If you’d like to watch an imperfect Facebook Live on this subject…