The past couple of months I have witnessed many areas of my life explode with so many wonderful new possibilities. It is truly a great place to be in. However, the busier I find myself getting, the more focused on every little detail I become. I am all for being organized, staying on top of everything and producing at a high level, but trying to make everything perfect can certainly be exhausting! Lately I have found myself spending so much time going over everything with a fine toothcomb in an attempt to limit any mistakes. This was such a tedious and draining process that it got me to question why I was so afraid of making mistakes in the first place.
After taking a step back and reflecting it became clear. When I was a kid I was taught that you need to work hard to get ahead, that nothing good in life comes easy and that if you work hard to limit your mistakes, you will be successful; and your success will ultimately bring you happiness. From a young age I believed that making mistakes was a bad thing. Instead of working to improve, learn and grow, I would let the fear of messing up motivate me instead. I spent years and years working hard to get the approval from everyone else in my life, never being satisfied, never reaching that all elusive goal of perfection.
Now although I don’t believe this to be my truth anymore, I realized that there were some roots of these beliefs that still needed to be pulled up and thrown out. In order to eradicate these remains once and for all, and finally silence that inner perfectionist, I needed to first shift my perspective on perfection. I knew in some sense that perfection was not really possible, but why was I still striving so hard to get there?
After some more reflection, I realized that there was still a part of me that wanted to be validated and appreciated by other people. I was striving to meet the standards and expectations of others to increase my self-worth and value and get confirmation that I was indeed good enough.
A big challenge with this process is that every single person on this planet has their own unique perspective and their own individual expectations and standards. This means that there are 7 billion different ways of defining perfection, which is certainly A LOT to live up to!
By seeing it in this light, I was finally able to stop striving for something that I would never actually achieve. No matter how hard I worked to write the perfect book, or the perfect blog or deliver the perfect speech, it would never actually be perfect, because I wasn’t going to be able to please everyone. I reminded myself that true self-worth and validation come from within, not by meeting others’ standards.
I believe that perfection is actually an illusion that we created and is based on the fear that we would no longer evolve as humans if something wasn’t pushing us to be better. But what if evolution were to come from our desire to learn and grow instead of get ahead? What if innovation were to come from our creativity and passion instead of competition and greed? What if there was no such thing as a “mistake” or a “failure” and instead endless opportunities to become a more self-aware and self-actualized person? Would we finally be able to silence the inner perfectionist and stop letting others’ expectations and standards determine our own value? I think SO!
As I re-immersed myself back into my work, I brought this new perspective along with me and put it into practice. The first thing I realized was that the desire to meet others’ expectations and standards was what made the inner perfectionist so loud in the first place. I was letting those old beliefs lead me into action and it was time to let them go once and for all.
I remembered a few years back when I was still in university that creating affirmations based on new, more liberating beliefs and repeating them out loud to myself over and over allowed me to move past a lot of the limiting beliefs in the first place. I put this to practice again and was reminded how powerful this process can be. Every day I started off saying my affirmations to myself out loud. Before I sat down to write a new blog, prepared for my next presentation or finished working on the book, I would say these affirmations to myself. Any time I felt myself pushing to make things better, or “perfect”, I stopped what I was doing and repeated my affirmations.
After shifting my perspective and consistently practicing my affirmations, my inner perfectionist was silenced and I regained control of my actions.
Now I feel free to work on what I want when I want; I feel confident in what I am creating and I am no longer allowing others’ expectations and standards to determine my value!
Try it for yourself:
Here are some powerful affirmations that I used to silence my inner perfectionist. Feel free to use mine or create your own. Try to say them out loud to yourself and in your head as often as you can remember. Even try saying them to yourself in the mirror for a more powerful result!
I always do my best and my best is always good enough!
I am exactly where I am supposed to be!
I learn, grow and evolve from every experience!
I determine my own value in this world!
# # #
Michael Eisen is the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit: www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca, connect with him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter: @youthwellnet