30-Day Radical Rest Challenge: Day 17

Today’s Task: Get Over Your Imperfection

Most people may not realize this, but your own perfectionism can be one of the biggest things leading to your day-to-day exhaustion.

Perfectionism is something I’ve been working on a lot over the last several years. My upbringing lent itself to holding myself to very high standards. Standards that I often feel like I can’t even meet myself – whether related to my grades in school, my physical appearance, how I show up for other people and invest in relationships, and care for my family.

I’ve realized that so many of the standards I created for myself have put me in a place that a lot of people my own age may not be comfortable with. The level of responsibility that I have for the projects I work on, the self-initiative that it takes to be your own boss…these are privileges that I don’t take for granted.

But my expectations of myself – in all of these environments and more – to do it not just well, but exceedingly well, well enough to be remembered or recognized for my contribution, often puts me in a pendulum of burnout that is just not sustainable.

If anything, those closest to me know about these inner struggles. The majority of people on the outside of it all don’t have a clue the things that I put myself up against. The stretch goals that I set up for myself. And how a lot of it leads to inflexibility…and unfortunately, resentment.

I’ve found that when I structure things too tightly in my days and months, there’s little room for spontaneity, getting pleasantly distracted, and doing things that I used to as a kid. And when people come into that structure and ‘mess it up’, I find myself enter into a level of frustration that’s unfair to them. I feel like when I get off kilter, I’ve lost control, that things are out of my hand, and that the downward spiral will start again – of ill health, poor eating, poor sleeping, sadness, etc.

Spending some time here at home and going through old boxes of memorabilia that either gets recycled or saved to take a picture of, and then recycled, has been such a refreshing reminder that 1) I’ve been creative since I was very young and 2) I am a writer, and have been since I was little.

I’d like to think that by eliminating so much ‘clutter’ from my parent’s attic is making space for both them and me to fill it with things and memories that really matter. It’s reminding me of other fun, collaborative projects on the horizon, such as publishing a family cookbook with all of our best recipes, and being responsible for all of the design work.

It’s also reminding me that as an entrepreneur, I have the privilege of mapping out my days in the way that I want. I get to carve out time for the things that really matter. And I don’t have to wait for anyone to give me permission to do so. That’s really. Freakin. Cool.

If I weren’t so driven by tangible results, I might not do as well on my own, with this level of freedom. But I love structure and habits and thinking about how I can make the best out of each day. I think most farmers probably share this quality.

So today’s journal prompts, to ponder via paper or while going for a walk, are intended to help you get out of your own way. To get over some level of imperfection so that you can keep moving forward in life, with greater ease and less exhaustion. Because more than likely if you struggle with perfection, you’re stifling space for creativity, spontaneity, and really cool sh*t to come into your life. 🙂

  • Is there anything that I have hard boundaries around that I could let go of? Are those boundaries serving me?
  • In what areas of my life am I most inflexible? Is it in everything, or just a few areas? Is that inflexibility serving me and getting me closer to the highest expression of myself? Or is it creating blocks?
  • Where is an area that I would like to bring more space, creativity, spontaneity, or flexibility to? What’s one small step that I could take today, tomorrow, or this week that would get me closer to that end state?
  • Is there anyone else who might be willing to provide me some honest feedback if I asked them these questions?

Keep up the great work. You’re more than halfway through the challenge!

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