Hi, my name is Marisa and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I write these words to you, not only as a declaration of my struggles, but as a promise to work really hard at the thing I’m pretty terrible at—accepting my humanness.
If you want to know the real story about me, I’ll sum it up, therapy-style: I’m a fixer, a do-er, and someone who’s always running full-steam in the direction of her dreams. I get ideas in my head, and I chase after them, full throttle. I’ve never been good at slowing down, at appreciating where I am and how far I’ve come, and I have this constant, self-imposed pressure to prove. (To myself, yes, but also to some imagined person in my head, too.)
I don’t know if you’re reading this and nodding your head. I don’t know if any of this resonates with you. And I don’t know if you can feel me when I say I’m a (recovering) perfectionist. But if you do, here’s what I’m trying to get at:
When you’re a perfectionist, you have this unconscious, continual drive to get things right. So much so, that you’ll run yourself to the ground trying to ‘finally’ get to the point you believe you should have been long ago.
I fully recognize that this behavior is toxic. I can also recognize that it holds me back more than it helps. The first step in any problem, though, is admitting. It’s understanding that we’re all human and sometimes talking about what we struggle with is harder than actually going through the process of our lives. That’s where I’ve been, at least.
As many of you know, I started a small business in July of 2018—about a year ago. This was surreal. It was finally taking my dreams and putting them on paper. It was seeing my ideas come to fruition. And it was realizing that the road (although I’d been walking it for a while) was, in a sense, only beginning.
I’ve had ups and downs in my business journey. I’ve had moments where I’ve totally freaked out, wanting to build the *best* business and get *every* client I possibly could. In the same breath, I’ve had moments that fall on the completely opposite side of the spectrum—where I thought I wanted to quit or jump back into a different career venture altogether.
I think, as a business owner, there’s this huge pressure to get things right the first time.
We feel like everyone’s watching, everyone’s judging, and everyone’s waiting for us to fail. It’s far from the truth, but it’s the reality we live. We’ve hyped up our journey so much, that we can’t bear the thought of not having this dream fall into place.
But the reality is that our dreams don’t just “fall into place.” It’s hard. It’s really hard.
What I’ve learned in launching a business at twenty-five is that it’s not going to be perfect right away. Or six months down the road. Or even a year later. But that’s not the goal—the goal is to create something you believe in, and take on the process of building it as you go.
I started with a vision of perfection, and I quickly learned that it was never about that at all.
It’s impossible (even with all the funds, a loyal team, perfect networking strategy etc.) to have everything look *exactly* how you intended.
But it is possible to love your mess, to enjoy your ups and downs, and to continually work to make something better than you had the day before.
I guess, what I’m trying to say is that perfection isn’t a thing. It’s not something you can obtain, and honestly, it’s not something you should strive for, either.
In the words of a recovering perfectionist: it’s better to have something that’s crazy and not quite put together that truly embodies you than something so rigid and unwelcoming because you’re more focused on getting it *right* than truly being yourself.
You’re not going to have a perfect business, perfect career, perfect relationship, perfect life—perfect anything. But you can have something that’s beautiful, and that grows with patience and hard work.
And that’s what’s truly worth striving for.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Vehige