I was first introduced to the work of Brené Brown about 2 years ago when I read her powerful book “Daring Greatly.” Although the book is filled with gems of wisdom, the one part that struck me most deeply was the section on perfectionism. I had always considered myself a perfectionist, and reading this book was the first time I ever considered perfectionism as not a good thing. I had always worn my perfectionism as a badge of honor, as some sort of proof that I cared so much about the details of life that I wanted everything to be just right.
It was a huge wake up call for me to realize that perfectionism at its core actually comes from a place of insecurity and fear, NOT a place of self-improvement and healthy achievement like I always assumed. Since then, I have been more aware of my perfectionist tendencies and how they actually hold me back from living my highest purpose, rather than contributing to my sense of achievement and personal growth like I thought they had.
Unfortunately for me, my perfectionist tendencies run deep. My awareness of the problem was the first and probably most important step in my “recovery,” but the ensuing journey has felt like a big one-step-forward-and-two-steps-back scenario that has been difficult to overcome. And when God nudges me to move forward with new projects (like starting this podcast) my perfectionist tendencies come out in full force. I feel like a poser and a hypocrite. How can I possibly hope to inspire, uplift, and serve when my life is so messy and flawed? It requires constant effort on my part to give myself the grace to move forward imperfectly, trusting that I will learn what I need to know as I take imperfect action. After all, God can't steer a parked car.
This might sound overdramatic, but the struggle with perfectionism is real. Anyone who has tried to push the edge of their comfort zone and do hard things knows how loud the negative voices can be. Here are a few of the lessons I've learned recently as I've moved forward with this podcast:
So, this is my thought for all of the good people in the world trying to find their voice and make the world a better place. To all of the people in the trenches of life, whether it be the trenches of parenthood, work, church, or the real world: carry on. Have courage. Make mistakes. Be real. Be you. You never know who needs you and your message, mess and all.