Not exactly an over-the-board, can’t sleep type, but a mild case of procrastination and self talk kind of perfectionist. Why do I believe this? Because I tried to record three short videos yesterday to introduce a segment for a new coaching kit soon to be released. The videos only needed to be 30-120 seconds. Yes, that would be seconds — not minutes!
Let me tell you how it worked and you tell me if I am a perfectionist. I decided to sit out on the deck at my lake-side office. So out I went with my iMac with Quicktime up and running. I sat on a bar stool with my iMac on a fencing ledge at hit “record new movie”. I started talking. Then I messed up the name of the coaching kit, so I stopped the recording and played it back. I scrutinized my hair. I scrutinized the tilt of my glasses. I scrutinized the top I had on. I scrutinized every little wrinkle, tilt of my head, and where my eyes were focused. I decided this wouldn’t work.
So, I slapped on more make up, changed lipstick, changed my top, figured out which way my glasses needed to tilt and started recording again. And again. And again. I was obsessed with the way my mouth and face looked at the start. You know....when someone first sees the video it is a freeze frame of the speaker’s face. In one I looked like I was singing. In another it looked like I was a serial killer on the hunt. Another, I looked plain silly. On the one I tried to smile, it looked like I was getting ready to steal someone’s wallet and was trying to distract them!
I had to do at least 15 takes. Okay, it was really more like 25 or 30 takes and I had not completed one 30 second video.
I made the decision there was no way I could possibly do a video until I had my hair cut, bought a new outfit, and possibly found some new glasses. Which meant the product release could not happen until I did all those things. Really! What was wrong with me?
I decided to show the videos to my husband so he could affirm me in my decision to delay until I could have the perfect hair, perfect glasses, perfect mouth look at the beginning, and maybe a new shade of lipstick. He silently watched five takes. His response, these are good. Good? Did you see me? In his kindest voice, he said “Honey, I thought you looked fine, but i wasn’t paying attention to that. I was listening to the message! It’s good. Spot on.” Really? “Yes, really. You don’t need to be perfect, you know.”
It was with those words I knew that my need for “perfect” had blurred my view of the content and the reason these videos were needed to introduce the work a coaching partner and I had put together to help other coaches. Why did I do this to myself? Because I was worried about what others would think of me. I know that my perfectionism shines like a bright light when it comes to judging myself. I never think I look or sound good enough. I don’t really know what good enough is, but logically I do know that sometimes good enough is good enough and I decided that needed to be my mantra for 180 seconds.
Three lessons I took to heaert as I re-recorded once more (my husband had me move my chair for a better lake view....which I hadn’t noticed because I was too busy self-critiquing myself!):
1) Always remember: It is none of my business what other’s think about me — so quit worrying about it!
2) Sometimes the need for perfection = procrastination! If I strive for perfect, nothing will ever get completed.
3) I refuse to listen to the negative committee in my head that stops me from doing the work I know I have been called to do!
So, get it done. Let those self-doubts go. Ditch the skewed reality that perfect is even possible. Life will be so much sweeter. And....you might actually get something completed! BTW - I did get the 3 videos completed.