A Perfectionist’s Saturday Confession


I like things done the right way.  I am a rule follower.  I like order.  I like excellence.  These are not bad traits to have and we need all kinds of people to make great teams and to accomplish great things.  But, what about when we are not part of a team?  What about when it is just me?

My confession on this Saturday?  My desire for perfection often makes me live in fear of failure and therefore accomplish nothing because I do not even attempt the thing I fear!  I think to myself  “I don’t know how to do that properly.” ,  “What if I make a mistake?”,  “maybe I will screw it up.” “Well, never mind…I just won’t do it”.

This means I have assured my failure.  I will not accomplish my goal. For me this is a frequent struggle, one in which I am usually able to self talk myself out of it and remind myself that I just might succeed and I will most certainly learn something new, always a plus! But, sometimes I don’t convince me and there I am.

People often comment that I can do “anything”, that I am brilliant! No, not true!! I simply only do the things I am assured I will do well. Thus assuring my own success, or perceived success.  To never try to stretch beyond our own limitations is not truly success.

Here are a few ways I find I can help myself and maybe they will help you too:

  • Accountability – find someone I trust and ask them to partner with me in my goal.  They can ask me questions, follow-up, give encouragement etc.
  • Remind myself who I am trying to please.  If I am afraid of failure because of what others will think than I am already on the wrong track.  What do I think?
  • Ask myself  “What is the worse thing that can happen?  Can I handle that”.  Usually the answer is yes.  I may not like it, but I can handle it and in reality my worse case scenario is unlikely to occur.
  • Make large goals and small goals and work on what I can at the time and work towards the bigger goals.
  • Look back over what I have accomplished so far.
  • Keep a positive attitude.  Studies show that if I think I will fail I often will.
  • Decide what I will do if my plan does fail?  Will I try again?  Will I try another tactic?  Think of Thomas Edison in regards to the light bulb “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  It is all in my perspective.
  • Failure is simply the process of elimination.

In the words of FDR “The Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”

Confession is good for the soul!