Last week I had the opportunity to teach in a video course for the first time. It was really fun, and I shared about everything from how I started working online, and how I use my work day to support sane hours and having a great life alongside owning an online business.
During the session, I brought up some thoughts I've had lately around perfectionism. Mainly about how our experiences, values and insecurities can completely shape what we actually take away when the look at other bloggers and businesses online. You know that moment I'm talking about, right?
We've all had moments when we look at someone else's blog or social media and think, “Their life is so perfect.”
It happens in our work too. In my web design work, clients always come to the table with inspiration from people they admire. They'd like to have their newsletter opt in forms in similar placements, or a banner in a style that worked for someone else. Because more than anything we want some corner of certainty that our crazy passion project or dream online shop will resonate with people who love what we love.
As a designer, part of my job is helping them see how their goals are different, so we should use their site in its own unique way. It's a fun process, but just like posting for the first time, or the moment you're about to step on stage before a performance, it's also scary.
I think that our perfection impulse also comes from part of us wanting to know that we're not doing it wrong.
We want someone to give us that stamp of approval, which is why it's so scary to launch any kind of creative products, or speak up in our unique voice.
I don't like to think of myself as a perfectionist, but I see it at work when I look for it. I really want to spend more time expanding my design skills. I crave getting to know some more creative people and talking about what we do. I wish I was starting meaningful conversations in my community. I want blogging to feel as easy as it did for me in 2009. And I'm a little obsessed with how I can write a valuable newsletter for Freckled Nest Design, but I don't want to start until I know I can do it regularly. And by regularly, I mean from now until infinity.
But I love talking about all of it. Because it's really challenging, but at least it's also something we all have. That low-level “Hmm…. Well, it could be more .” that plays in the background.
Before I did my video segment, I did a perfectionist thing that I do: I arranged my office so the video looked great. Almost like a little set!
And I love that it looked good for the students enrolled in the course.
But the bigger picture of the session (above) is messy!
- There are wires all over the place
- Headphones off to the side
- A list of goals taped to my monitor (because I didn't hit them last month!)
- My calendar pulled off the wall so it didn't mess of the background
- A stack of blankets my dogs curl up on every day
- & a colourful platform of Ikea tables stacked up to get the right angle
And I don't think that makes it any less fabulous.
So I wanted to make sure that I showed some of the messiness too, because that's what most of my life looks like. It's hoping that my client consultations go well, and that what I'm imagining is what my clients are hoping for. It's working hard to hit my daily goals so I can steer my little ship in the direction I want, and not judging myself when I need to work in the evening or get up early to get my time in.
It's finding moments of calm in the middle of chaos, making things work, and wanting to be that better version of myself – but not letting her stop me from enjoying and shining as exactly who I am now.
Do you have perfectionist tendencies?
How do you deal with them when they flare up?
(I've heard rumors that wine & belly laughs work pretty well, but it's just a working theory. For now.)