Hi, my name is Ashlee and I am a recovering perfectionist. I thought I had healed this little flaw and found my way, but somehow perfectionism has crept back in. A funny thing about healing perfectionism is the desire to do so perfectly. 🙂
I’m not sure exactly when perfectionism reared its ugly head again. It happens subtly. Things seem like they are going just fine and you haven’t changed a bit, but really vulnerability is gone and shame has come in. Looking back, I can see the markers, but I didn’t realize what was happening.
I was surprised to see recently I had fallen into that old habit or trying to do things just right. Perfectionism comes in silent but is like fast-growing cancer. At first, I felt justified and believed I was holding back and procrastinating for good reasons. My desire to produce quality and creative work is important to me. I didn’t realize that perfectionism had crept in until I took an honest look at what is holding me back.
Perfectionism kills connection and fosters isolation. Perfectionism smashes creativity and leaves daunting tasks in its wake. Perfectionism rarely serves and often hurts. Perfectionism is kind of like that friend in elementary school who was always on again-off again. You never knew quite where you stood until you felt the familiar sting of shame. You wonder why you thought you could trust her because you have already learned that when you play with fire, you definitely will get burned. Yet, you keep hoping things will be different this time.
A few years ago, I worked with a therapist on several issues, including perfectionism. I read “The Gifts of Imperfection” at the time and recognized my pattern of perfection was not helping me create a life I love. With practice and my therapist guiding me, I was able to create new patterns of thinking. I embraced being messy, allowed myself to celebrate projects being done (not perfect), and experienced greater freedom, joy, and productivity as a result.
Perfection tells us we can’t move forward until we have everything just right. Perfection tells us we are foolish to try until we know everything. The drive for perfection limits joy and contentment. The funny thing is I KNOW I am not perfect. I can point out very specific examples where I am consciously choosing NOT to be perfect. My front living room has been completely empty with no furniture for nearly 1.5 years since we moved into this home. Visitors see a lone yoga mat in the corner and cheap curtains and ask what we plan to do with the room. I am likely to be the one house on our street with weeds in the flower beds because I care more about picking mental weeds with my clients. I embrace quesadilla night and celebrate choosing to keep dinner simple rather than getting all fancy like I use to do. I just recently removed the spider web that has been hanging for 6 months. My car looks like a battlefield complete with kid debris and dirty socks. I participate in flawed webinars where I wear the same pajamas 6 days in a row. That’s right, I work in my pajamas! I let all kinds of things go because my therapist taught me how to do that.! I learned to be perfectly comfortable choosing where I shine and making conscious choices to be imperfect regularly. So I thought I had this perfection thing nailed!
And then the urge/prompting to grow my energy business came in. I would tell my business friends about how committed I am to growing. I would carry on about my dreamy plans that really weren’t plans at all. As individuals contacted me over the last 6 months wanting to participate in my Purely Alive Mentorship, I would respond, “Oh yes! I am absolutely relaunching soon!” And yet, there was not a plan in place to make that happen. I KNOW I need to do it. I can feel the importance of sharing my knowledge and, yet, I’ve been stuck. I could identify legit reasons I was stuck and worked on those, but I totally didn’t see that perfection was ruling me in my business. I didn’t know I was stuck because I was hiding behind things like perfectly updating my materials and website.
I would lie to myself every single day.
“My website isn’t ready to support everything I am doing, so I am creating a new one.”
“I will post once I have a photo and logo together….”
“I am mixing things up and making them better.”
“I need to build my following a bit more and then I will have enough people.”
Blah, blah, blah. You get the idea! When we constantly look for a legit reason to not move forward, we are guaranteed to find that reason and stay stagnant. I felt justified in my procrastination. I wanted to provide better customer experiences and I want to be at the top of my game. Who doesn’t want to do their best? Plus I had firm
reasons excuses of why it didn’t make sense to move forward until I fixed things.
This little website? I hate it. It really doesn’t reflect what I currently do or who I am. It’s clunky and even the colors bug me. In truth, I have multiple websites “under construction.” Under construction like an abandoned NASA project without direction or a solid plan to move forward.
All my headshots are 3 years old or more. How are people going to connect with me if my headshots are outdated? I’m totally ready for new ones and will schedule them as soon as I drop a few pounds and find something I love to wear…or maybe it is that I am looking for just the right photographer.
My email drip campaigns are a mess, but I’m totally rewriting everything and it will be awesome when it is done…soon.
And then we get into the other judgments. These are the ones that really stopped me in my tracks. “I majored in marketing – what is wrong with me and why can’t I figure this out! What will people think? What if nobody comes? What if I bite off more than I can chew and fail? Who am I to run a multi-million dollar direct sales team AND be an energy coach? If everything is energy and I really have it all figured out, I shouldn’t struggle and the people around me shouldn’t either.”
I would go to bed praying about how to take the next step and then run into fear and perfection every single morning. I was subconsciously comparing myself to every other educational experience or coach in my world. I could see so many ways I needed to improve in order to justify my offering. I took multiple marketing classes and connected with some of the best coaches, all with the intention to learn what I needed to know to have a solid business launch. I didn’t realize that I was filling my head with information which was pushing out my inspiration. You see if I get quiet, the one thing I know is that I was born to work in this space. I was born to connect others with themselves. I was born to be purely alive and help others become purely alive. I am here to help others let go of the false beliefs that hold them back and empower them to be present and happy!
I keep having the thought, “I need to launch my program.” And then I self-sabotage or get busy working on noncritical pieces. In reality, I need to just do it. I need to trust that the right people are ready. I know they are. I can’t even remember or count the people who have asked me to open the doors on this! Inspiration tells me that people are looking for exactly what I offer. Inspiration tells me to trust myself and move forward, even though. Inspiration says the time is now and so with full trust in heaven and myself, I am launching. I am ignoring the quest for perfection and moving forward because it is what I was born to do. I am officially I am opening the doors on enrollment for my Purely Alive Mentorship regardless of the marketing being ideal. The class materials are ready and are exactly what is needed in by so many people right now.
After more than ten years of working with clients, I created the Purely Alive Mentorship as a 6 month course and offered it for the first time last year. As I prepared the material for our calls each week, I could feel heaven open and the material practically wrote itself. I knew that I was being used by God to empower my students. And guess what? I didn’t hold back waiting for perfection – no, I simply leaned in and a beautiful offering beyond my own talents was created. I had so much fun helping my students discover who they really are, how to access and rely on their spiritual gifts, how to deepen their trust in and understanding of God, how to hold joy and peace, and how to help others with the blocks we all face. The good work that happened wasn’t because of me, but I was able to tune in and bring something unique to the world.
More than perfection in the worldly sense, I want to be in perfect alignment with God’s will for me. The “sweet spot” of being on His errand, while using my talents and gifts to help others, is the exact place I want to be working. Last year, I thrived working with my Mentorship students and I didn’t need a perfect website because I relied on Him. Sure, I will keep moving forward to get my marketing in line with my vision, but in the meantime, there are people waiting and it is time. My top priority is not going to be setting up all the stuff to go make a difference to people. I want to make a difference to people right now, with what I have today. Perfection isn’t me but leaning into faith is totally where I shine.
Here’s to letting perfection go (again). Here’s to trusting God. Here’s to deciding enough is enough and done is better than perfect. Here’s to making a difference despite our imperfections. Here’s to growing and becoming. Here’s to choosing in. Here’s to bravery and joy. Here’s to connection and creativity and living on purpose. Here’s to being Purely Alive.