There is a disease plaguing high achieving moms around the world. Including me. It’s causing us to worry incessantly, and can even lead to anxiety and depression. It’s called perfectionism.
How have perfectionism and work-life balance impacted Kerry Slavens, the editor-in-chief of YAM and Douglas Magazines? I interviewed her after she shared her experience in an inspiring talk to a room of business women and entrepreneurs at yoUnlimited in Victoria.
Maybe we were criticized when we were kids. Research says yes, that is true. It’s scary because we can pass along this perfectionism trait to our children through our behaviour. As if we didn’t have enough to feel guilty about. The good or not-so-good news is that studies show that perfectionism is also part of our genes.
At its core, perfectionism is based in a fear of not being good enough—it’s a deep-seated insecurity.
But here’s the thing. We ARE good enough.
I have embraced those two words with gusto lately, and it’s helped me a lot. I spend less energy feeding my compulsion to make things just so before I begin a writing project. It’s saved me a lot of time: time I spend with my family that increased my work-life balance. And when I let go of the things that don’t help me achieve my goals, I feel less stress.
It’s an ongoing process. I’m nowhere near perfect at being imperfect. For example, the other day I was baking and I glooped some extra oil into the mix. I huffed and cursed, but my daughter said, “It’s okay, Mom.” “You’re absolutely right,” I said in a sing song voice to show her just how happy go lucky I felt about it all the while cursing internally for cursing in front of my daughter.
Here are the other things I’m doing to loosen up and let go of my perfectionist tendencies:
- Putting the laundry up on the laundry line in the order it comes out of the basket. In the past I’ve sorted it by type of garment, dry time, and sizes. Good enough! It’s drying!
- Leaving my daughter’s bed full of wrinkles after she makes it. It’s made! Good enough!
- Leaving the small flakes of food on the washed dishes after my husband does them. I don’t even point out all of these leftover bits. The dishes are done! Good enough.
- Leaving the dishes as they are when others place them helter skelter in the dishwasher. They’ll get cleaned. Good enough!
Consult this great resource from Anxiety BC for more on how to overcome perfectionism.
We are all good enough.
In fact, we are all already perfect in our own imperfect ways. And that is good enough for me.