Crap, I’m A Perfectionist
Honestly, I’ve had plenty of chances to read Kelly’s new book Practical Perfection in various stages of its drafts, but I never did.
One big reason why.
I assumed it didn’t apply to me.
I am not a perfectionist. I have never used that word to describe myself & I don’t think anyone has used it to describe me. Anyway, yesterday I figured it was finally time to open the book. So I put it into iBooks and read it on my way home from work, figuring it would make my commute go faster, even if it wasn’t relevant to me.
However, the FIRST FREAKING LINE in the book is: “I think you’re being too hard on yourself”.
Yeah, people say that to me. People have left that in comments to me on this blog.
Guess I’d better read the book, hey?
Do You Know What I Know?
Something I know I need to work on is assumptions of knowledge & norms. I actually think it holds me back, yet I struggle like hell to identify it.
As Kelly says in the book:
We’re all good at something, or know a lot about something. Unfortunately, we tend to think that because we’re good at that thing or know about it then everyone else must be good at it or know a lot about it too. But nine times out of ten they aren’t, and they don’t.
I wish there was a shortcut to knowing this better.
Overwhelm as the norm
People (seem to) love to talk about being busy. It’s almost as if it’s a competition.
I hate this with a wild passion. Sometimes life is genuinely busy. That happens. But never trying to break the busy cycle by forcing something down the priority ladder is just harming yourself in the long run. I’ve had a lot of hard, busy and stressful years. But there is ALWAYS something you can dump off your list. The challenge is not in identifying it (because I bet you know what it is right now) but DROPPING IT.
But, at the same time, stop thinking that selfish has only negative connotation. You have to be selfish when you’re overwhelmed.
Same as words like fat or failure. I see these words as descriptors and not inherently negative.
I am fat. I am also adjusting my diet and tracking my steps with my iPhone. Fat is a fact. For me it is not negative or emotional. It is just a descriptor. Maybe not the most accurate word to use but that doesn’t make it untrue. (And it also doesn’t mean you have to use the word, or think about it the same way I do.)
I have failed many times. Take a subject I did as part of my undergrad degree: I didn’t like it, I had no interest in it, it had no relevance for my goals, it didn’t match the supposed outcomes for the subject…
But instead of dropping the class, I just stopped going.
Why? Because bad people drop subjects.
I was good for not dropping the subject. Instead I paid for it and failed it and it’s on my transcript. Honestly a WTF was I thinking moment.
But I learned from it. So was it a failure?
Kelly has a number of tips in her book about tackling overwhelm, but boy I was proud as peaches when I read number 4. Because I do it. I read this post about “it could have been me” feelings in life when others achieve success. And I left this comment:
When I feel that “it could have been me” I look at the reasons for it. More often than not, investigating the history or reality of a job/project/book/whatever actually tells me I don’t want it and it wouldn’t have been right for me, no matter what the glossy surface looks like.
Maybe I do need to give myself more credit!
If you’re interested in Practical Perfection, there are some great bonuses available that end at midnight today. So jump in quickly if you want them.
Do you think you could be a closet perfectionist?
33 Replies to “Crap, I’m A Perfectionist”
This book sounds so interesting. I have always labelled myself a perfectionist but I think I have overcome quite a lot since having six kids undermine my every attempt. It’s great you were reluctant to read this but then discovered so much!
I imagine six kids forces you to lose some of the perfectionist aspects! And it must be a great lesson in time management too.
‘The challenge is not in identifying it (because I bet you know what it is right now) but DROPPING IT.’
Now there is a line I wish I’d been able to insert into the book!! So true!!
So glad you found the book useful Ness. Thank you so much for sharing about it xx
Thank you for writing it!
I am a perfectionist – it’s even been confirmed by a psychologist! So I better get my hands on Kelly’s book and try to make my perfection tendencies a little more practical. Thanks for the review Ness!
When it has been confirmed, I guess there’s no escaping it 🙂
Hmmm… not so much as a closet perfectionist but an out and (not so) proud one.
It looks like I must make a point of reading Kelly’s book!
It could be worthwhile then 🙂
Great review. I’m with you on the not realising what we’re good at. People used to call me a walking dictionary and get me to proofread everything and it still took not only a guest post request, but a NUTSO reaction to that guest post to make me realise that, WOW, there is actually a need for grammar and spelling advice and I’m actually good at it!
Love the quotes you’ve picked out. They’re the ones that reached me, too. x
I tried to use Kelly’s suggestion of what people come to me for but I’m so peopled-out these days I couldn’t think any more about people! One day it will click better for me…
im a total perfectionist and I know it! I think it’s where a lot of my anxiety comes from. Looks like I need to get me a copy of this book!
Fingers crossed it gives you some tips to help out.
I’ve started to read it but I left it too late at night and started to fall asleep. You’ve given me the motivation to read it tonight. I love anything Kelly writes. She always has a knack for writing truth that penetrates.
And she makes it so easy to read that you can think about how it applies to you while you’re reading it.
I need to read this! I’ve struggled with being a perfectionist, and a procrastinator…bad combo! #fybf
Ooh yes I am quite skilled at procrastination too. But it’s also a good thing because it’s the only time I clean.
Of course I’m a perfectionist. There’s no doubt about it …
Kelly’s book is probably for you then 🙂
Yep, I’m a perfectionist! Kelly’s book is sitting in my Inbox. Must read. Today! Thanks Ness.
Interesting on the busy – I see it as a negative, as it means you’re not juggling the balls adequately…(or you’re still stuck in the hampster wheel…)
I think a big part of busy is people who won’t drop something, or at least prioritise effectively.
Definite perfectionist over here. But only when it comes to certain aspects of my life. For instance I couldn’t give a shit if my house is messy (until it gets to the point of being overwhelmingly messy) or if it it’s perfectly furnished, but other things? Don’t mess with me! I am so keen to get my hands on Kelly’s book. I loved her other one and I know I would love this one too.
It’s probably good to only be perfectionist in some areas, otherwise it would be even more overwhelming.
Great to read this. Kelly’s book is on my list to read. I can’t wait! Xx
I’m sure you’ll find it great 🙂
PS Thanks for linking up with the Lovin’ Life Linky Ness!
I use to be more of a perfectionist, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to be easier on myself. And I’ve learned that complete is better than perfect.
Yes. The whole procrastination/perfection cycle is a difficult one to break out of.
I know I’m a perfectionist! I take way too long to write and put a post together, because I want every photo and sentence to be perfect. Also, I’m scared silly of spelling mistakes, so I check, double-check and triple-check everything. It can be a curse!
Visiting via the Lovin’ Life Linky 🙂
I wish I could say I proof read my posts but I rarely do 🙂
Ness – love your insights adn take on Kelly’s book, which I am 2/3rds the way through (I know it’s not very long, clearly I’m not a book-reading perfectionist, but life has been busy – truly not just in the perpetual overwhelm sense). I always tend to think of myself as not being a perfectionist too, because I’m not organised enough, I’m not much of a list-maker, I’m too much of a procrastinator. But I’m a perfectionist when it comes to pleasing people and being liked so I guess I’m coming out of the closet.
Perfectionism has many forms, that’s what I’m learning!