It can be tempting to use the concept of “perfection” as a self-imposed barrier to taking action. You want to do something ― It could be anything from writing a blog post, to writing a book ― but you somehow cannot get to the actual execution of these ideas. Why? Because you are waiting to reach the pinnacle of what you believe to be Perfection. It may be that you don’t believe it’s the “perfect” time, or you don’t think your article is “perfect”, or that you’re not sure about advertising your blog, because the website isn’t as “perfect” as you would wish for it to be.
Let me whisper a little something in your ear, and I mean this with lots of kindness:
there is absolutely no such thing as perfection.
That’s it. No frills.
Unfortunately, what there is though, is a common Myth of Perfection that can easily tangle many of us in its web of deception. We are socialized to believe that success and merit can only look one particular way, and if it does not resemble that, then you need to hold a permanent seat at the drawing board until you “get it right.”
You’re stuck at this drawing board mulling over your desired outcome, but shy away from proactivity because you are terrified that no matter what you try, it will never resemble this Myth Of Perfection.
What tends to happen is that you miss multiple opportunities to show your greatness, mainly because you cannot acknowledge your own greatness already exists. It’s there, but the blinders are on. It IS good enough.
Anything that you’re working on or thinking about, dreaming about and planning, is more than good enough. Self-acknowledgement of greatness is necessary and important.
Our greatness will not, and should not, look like anyone else’s, but you are here now, with magnificent abilities.
Honestly, it’s been something I’ve battled with for most of my life. No amount of great report cards or awards could make me realize that I was good enough. Nothing could convince me, for a really long time, that I was intelligent, creative, and many other facets of my excellence that I now acknowledge. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been constantly engaging in some form of self reflection. Whether purposely or not, I have developed the habit of digging deeper into the things that I think, the things I say, and the things that I do. I believe that everything has a root, and sometimes that root may be a sore spot. Falling into the trap of the Myth of Perfection is rooted, for many of us, in long-held notions of not being capable of being great at anything. Going further, this long-held notion may be due to being told by one or more persons repeatedly throughout your life, that your worth was much less than it actually is. At some point, you start believing that this is your reality, leading to questioning and hesitation.
Here are three reasons that will make you feel that you are not “ready,” but why you should just do it anyway:
1. You Don’t Know Enough/Not An Expert
Part-perfectionism and part-self doubt leaves many of us stalling to launch our projects. We have great business ideas, and we have done all of the possible background work that could be required to lay a great foundation, but we just cannot do it. We drown our minds with thoughts of What-If and Suppose, doubting the merit of the groundwork that we’ve done up until this point. Maybe, we need to do more research into this topic, this industry, this market, before we can even consider sending this project of ours out into the world. The self-deprecation begins to hit us with the “Who do you think you are?” and the “Why do you think you can do this?” questions.
When you find yourself thinking that you do not know enough, even after weeks and/or months of research and other groundwork, give yourself a (figurative) shake. Remember this one thing: there will always be something left to learn. The beauty of launching or releasing the work that you have spent so much time and effort on, is that you’ll be able to finally view it from the perspective of an outsider. Learning comes from the experiences you have with the process of moving from idea to execution, and that cannot be done if you never allow yourself to bring your thoughts to fruition.
2. Not Enough Support
Even if we don’t want to admit it, we feed off of community and collaboration. We get our first taste of this with the family that we are born into, then with the people we choose to surround ourselves with as we go through this journey of life. Along the way, we develop a blanket of security which is dependent on how much support we believe we are gaining from loved ones, and even people from outside of our usual circles. When the perceived support looks nothing like what we expect, it can be discouraging. We can sometimes get hung up on whether or not others are paying attention. A lot of times we focus on a few select people who we place on a pedestal in terms of what we expect of them.
Your support system may not look the way that you envision it to, but making it the sole or main focus of thought, will debilitate our efforts to attaining our goals. Do not allow the lack of support that you perceive to be a defining factor in your pursuits. As long as you are taking care of yourself and making sure that you are focused on your goal, the support that you need will eventually come. Not having the support that you would like may hurt, and it’s more than ok to acknowledge when you are feeling emotionally bruised, but with some simple strategies of coming to terms with how you’re feeling, why you’re feeling the way you do, and how to lessen the adverse effects on you, you can move closer to accomplishing your goals.
3. Not Enough Validation
In the same vein of not having the kind of support that you would like from the people around you, is the desire for your talents and abilities to be co-signed and validated. For some, it may seem that the only way for them to acknowledge their own self-worth, is to have others acknowledge it first. It may be in the form of an encouraging word, or a review of your project. You may hinge your concept of success on the amount of likes and shares that your post may receive on social media, or the amount of positive comments it receives. If these expectations are not met, you may feel that this is an indication that your work isn’t as good as you thought. You may end up finding yourself doubting your own validity, on the basis of others not acknowledging it. You may even go even further and think of all the times throughout your life that you have tried to do well at something, and you never received any encouragement from family, friends or classmates.
As difficult as it may be to accept, you need to get to a point of being satisfied with yourself, and your work. You have to do the extra bit of mental work that it takes to bring yourself to a place of accepting your own validation. Once you have gone through that process, anything else received from external parties will just be extras.
This article was originally published on WittedRoots.com. Witted Roots is a mental and emotional wellness platform for the witty & creative millennial woman of color. With a focus on self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-appreciation, we guide millennial women of color towards a more fulfilling, intentional life.