I've been binging on the Sarah R. Bagley podcast lately. She brings on guests and discusses being a "recovering perfectionist." I've always had perfectionist tendencies, but after a few episodes I realized that I fall squarely into that description.
Growing up, a B was unacceptable for me. I always wanted that A. I breezed by in high school, but in college it got harder and harder to maintain that success. I still did great, but between you and me that 3.69 GPA still eats at me. I was so close to Magna Cum Laude, but I just didn't reach the 3.70 because I slipped up somewhere.
That really hurt, and I came back swinging with a couple 3.9s during my first year of grad school. But then I switched to the MBA program, which led to a few full-on mental breakdowns, crying and all. For the first time in a while, something didn't just click with me and I had to legitimately struggle to understand what was going on. Wow, that a blow to my perfectionism. I finished my first semester of the MBA program on the brink of academic probation.
After that semester, it finally clicked in my head that sometimes my best isn't "perfect" and that I need to operate within what my best is. There wasn't anything wrong with me. As long as I did my best I could be happy. For the first time, the weight of being "perfect" finally started lifting off of me. By the time I finished grad school I was at peace with this new mindset. I've even started bringing it to work. All that matters is that I do my best. My best isn't always perfect, but it's my best.
My B+ life is a great place to be in. Sometimes those old feelings start creeping back in, but a quick reality check takes me back to my happy and peaceful mindset. Perfectionism can hold us back in so many ways. Don't let it.
Have you experienced the same issues with perfectionism? How did you overcome them? Let's talk in the comments!
PS: Check out my Work Smarter series for strategies that can help the recovering perfectionist.