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I’m a recovering perfectionist. I have rewritten this paragraph a number of times. More than ten, if we are counting. So much pressure. Perfectionism has brought many great qualities into my life. I consider myself a pretty damn good mother to two amazing kids, a pretty decent daughter, an employee who works hard, self-proclaimed health nut, and now a girlfriend to a wonderful man. 

Perfectionism has also crippled me. It has delayed big dreams and goals. Carefully calculating every move, habit, decision, and thought until it is perfect is debilitating. My need for perfectionism is strongly tied to fear. I want to be perfect because I have a fear of failing. I wouldn’t start art projects, design projects, or my business, for that matter, because of the fear of failing. 

Then life happened. I was knocked on my butt by a divorce and a life-long medical diagnosis. Far from the perfect world I had “built”. Both my marriage and health, which I had worked so hard to be perfect, failed. Rebuilding myself on a better foundation was a must and in the end a blessing. I quickly learned perfectionism was not protection from devastating life events.

Letting go of a need for perfection has released so much unnecessary pressure and fear. James Victore was a huge influence on me when I was rebuilding my relationship with perfection and fear. As James likes to proudly exclaim, “FECK PERFUCTION!” This had become my mantra for the rebuild. Letting go of perfection and fear has allowed me to make room for failure and grace. Yes, you heard me correctly, make room for failure! 

Making room for failure and imperfection has been liberating for me as an artist. It’s like having a hall pass to explore, play, and produce amazing work. 

Letting go of perfectionism and fear is not something that obviously happens overnight. For me, letting go of perfectionism was deeply rooted in forming new habits. Below, are some crucial habits that helped me rebuild a better relationship with perfectionism, and be a better business owner, mother, partner, and person today. 

  1. Practicing Gratitude–it sounds insignificant, but practicing gratitude is huge. I make it a habit to physically write them down…daily. I sometimes share them with others, but I make sure I write them down. Some days I have a few, and other days, I have a whole list. DO IT! Writing down gratitude statements is powerful. I like this gratitude journal.
  1. Practice Imperfection— sounds obvious, I know. But you really have to practice being imperfect. For me, that meant something as simple as drawing with a pen. It was committing to something I couldn’t erase over and over again. Or leaning into a design project that wasn’t perfect, and reminding myself to keep going. That was huge for me. The idea of, “keep moving forward” no matter if the project, presentation, etc. didn’t feel perfect. To keep at it, keep moving forward. I also posted artwork I wasn’t 100% proud of or finished with. It was a powerful exercise. Just keep moving forward. 
  1. Practice kindness–Listen to the way you talk to yourself. Be incredibly mindful and aware of your internal dialog. If you are anything like me, I am incredibly critical and hard on myself. Stop those thoughts, and degrading self-talk dead in their tracks! If you don’t believe in your work and self, no one else will. You are perfectly imperfect. It is who you are and part of your story. Don’t let imperfection destroy your confidence, vulnerability, and ability to keep moving forward with goals. 

Release all the built-up pressure around perfectionism and fear in areas of your life. You’ll never know what amazing gifts, lessons, projects, moments, or relationships you can build.

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