I’ve been very happy for the last two years living in my serenity bubble, where I have faith that I’m on the right path and that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. It’s been fantastic, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to do things I never would have tried otherwise. I’ve always known that fear is my kryptonite, and thought that keeping in the moment was the antidote. Unfortunately, this week I re-discovered something that bursts the serenity bubble faster t
han #NoBen can dismantle a Styrofoam packing container; my old friend perfectionism.
Sigh. Of course I know this and of course I know it all goes back to fear. I have this theory that growth is like walking through quicksand with an elastic band tied around your waist (a really, really big elastic band, secured to a dump truck or something filled with toxic waste if you really want the full effect of the imagery). As you walk through the quicksand, away from the toxicity, the band stretches tighter and tighter and it feels impossible. If you stop, you sink and/or are snapped back to dump-truck-ville. The ONLY thing to do is keep moving and eventually the band will snap from the tension and you are across and on the other side. My life has proven out this analogy time and time and time again and YET…much like the ancient Israelites who experienced miracle after miracle and still freaked out when they hit a bump in the desert, I still get completely discombobulated when I’m going through a change that will inevitably lead to awesome things.
In this case, we just started a new milestone of all three littles being in preschool a couple days a week, a new facility for our gym, and some new business opportunities for me in addition to the unceasing conviction that I need to quit dawdling and add personal coaching to my service offerings NOW instead of ‘when all the circumstances align perfectly and I get permission from the universe to really do this’. In the midst of all these things, like I don’t have enough to worry about, perfectionism has leapt into the fray to distract, derail and otherwise impede me.
Perfectionism comes in the form of thinking that if I make a mistake at one thing, I have to abandon the whole endeavor. It’s true that as an independent consultant, I have to be on top of my game like nowhere else, but it doesn’t mean I’ll never make mistakes. And that’s true for every area of my life. It’s really hard for me to forgive myself if I screw up on the job, or as a mom, or wife, or friend and when I’m juggling way too many things, it just happens.
Perfectionism comes from thinking that I have to do this thing like the other moms, which I know is crazy, because everyone’s all over the board. Stay at home, daycare, free-range, helicoptering. It’s probably all a wash, anyway, but when my kid is the one taking another kid’s snack, or monopolizing all the teacher’s time (probably because they don’t get enough attention at home because I’m FAILING) it’s hard not to second-guess oneself. Hard, but necessary, I sense. Because at the end of the day, the pressure’s not going anywhere and the last place I want to go is backwards. So I’ll keep pressing on and hope for a breakthrough and in the meantime, if I don’t call you back, or my kid took your kid’s goldfish, or any of the other many ways I may drop a ball, I hope you understand and I do look forward to a renewed ability to organize and stay focused once every single thing in my life isn’t all changing at once.