Perfectionists need a break too-- frequently only given to themselves once something has actually broken.
I find it hilarious how often I have to learn the same lesson. In coaching school my favorite phrase became ‘Care less.’ At first I thought it was repugnant that we’d be advised to care less about the people we were exclusively there to help. But this theory can be explained with a quote from another coaching training: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” I cannot help those who don’t want it more than me. If I want the change more than you do, you’re unlikely to achieve it, and I’ll be disappointed. As a coach, it’s not about me. I can care all I want, and you still have free will. It makes more sense to care a little less (aka stop forcing things) in favor of the client caring for themselves. This way we all win—the client because you got what you wanted, and coach because I was able to guide you there without forcing you. That kind of change will last.
If only I could apply this to my own life 100% of the time! I-Can-Have-It-All-Perfectionists of the world, I have some advice for you. It’s tough, but important: Care Less. Really. There is simply no way you are going to elegantly perform at your day job while working your get-out-of-debt side job, maintain your social life, plan your vacation, take care of your ailing grandmother, keep your plants alive, and keep winking at people on Match. Admit it- your bathroom needs cleaning. Sometimes we have to let a ball drop to keep the bathroom clean. A silly analogy, but it’s true. Some people can have it all-- those people who have reasonable expectations of what can fit into 24 hours. Those people are the satisfied ones. They aren’t in two bands, working three jobs, and volunteer-teaching Zumba on the weekends to seniors. Nope. They go to their one job, go home to their manageably-sized home, walk their dog, and have the occasional happy hour. They know how to say no to others when appropriate, and when to say yes to something they really want. They set goals that will make a difference in their life on a timeline that is doable. And they don’t lament how they aren’t doing enough. They are doing enough. And so are you. Living in the United States at a time when just keeping up with all your different insurances and online passwords is hard enough as it is. Throw in monitoring your diet and identity and bank accounts and you’re lucky to feel like you’re keeping up with yourself, nevermind the Kardashians.
None of us is perfect. You’re going to mess up in this lifetime, so mess up on your own terms rather than ending up in the hospital from exhaustion. Go ahead and care less. I dare you to not worry about picking out the perfect gift for your friend’s wedding. Spend that time cleaning the tub- but only to the point that you are satisfied-- not to your mother’s standards. I promise you’ll feel better.
Life Purpose and Career Coach
Career Clarity Now