You Were Born to Be Real, Not Perfect

You Were Born to Be Real, Not Perfect

When you are raised by a perfectionist, you become a perfectionist. At an earlier age perfection seemed like a normal thing to strive for. I remember being 25 in my career when my boss stated during one of my annual reviews, ‘you are a perfectionist.’ Never had I considered myself a perfectionist before this point in my life. His comment left me speechless, which if you know me, is rare. Was I a perfectionist? What is a perfectionist? He went on to tell me, that I needed to ‘fail forward.’ HOW DARE HE…. Fail forward??? I remember thinking, what did that even mean? I left our meeting spinning, trying to understand how to take this information and learn from it. After some digestion time, I realized his point was valid. I didn’t like doing anything that I didn’t know how to do with excellence. I wanted to grow as a technology consultant, and the only way to do that was to get over the story that I had to know it all. How can I grow if I am too scared to try new things that I have not yet, dare I say it, perfected?

I just decided to dive head first, my desire to be the best was stronger than my fear of not getting perfect. My career as a consultant snowballed from there. There was no situation that I couldn’t come out looking like an all-star in, or at least like I knew what I was doing. I became comfortable admitting when I didn’t know the answer but was confident, I would find it out. Now it is like a game, I am so excited to walk into a meeting with new clients and see what curve balls will come my way. And I celebrate when I walk out looking like the player of the year!

As I started thinking about Deliberately Classy, and starting my own company my perfection side flared, BIG TIME. I wanted to have everything in order before I told my family and friends. I wanted to know all the answers to what I was doing. I wanted to know it all just to get started. I was paralyzed. How the heck was supposed to know how to start a company, if I never had started one before? I remembered my old boss saying, ‘you have to learn to fail forward’ and that my friends is exactly what I did, and am still doing. I found parts that I was comfortable with, and just ran with those things. The items I was leery of, because of my lack of knowledge, I took on in small doses. I leaned on my husband to help with all corporation paperwork. I asked my friends to double check my copy. I reach out to my cousin to design my logo. I paid a guy on fiverr.com to build my first website. I asked a few restaurant servers and bar tenders to model my mascara. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew the result I was looking for with each task. I trusted my gut, which for the most part has not led me astray.

One day while deep in a Pinterest hole, I came across a quote that went something like this, if you look at perfectionism, it’s just a fancy form of fear. That resonated with me so deeply, do you know how many times I didn’t do something because I couldn’t get it perfect? WAY TOO MANY. That quote lit a fire under me, I wasn’t going to let fear control my life. And you know what, no one expects perfection from me, except me. So, to all my Paula Perfects out there, I challenge you to take some small steps to break the pattern. Don’t let the story of perfection, stop you from being your best self!

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