Some things happened last week that I wanted to share with all of you around perfectionism in my life. This is a difficult thing to share because I am always a very positive person and it is difficult for me to share things that haven’t gone well. But, that is part of perfectionism speaking instead of my authentic true self. I feel that I am on a growth journey and have been for the past 3-4 years especially, so I want to share my vulnerable side with all of you as well so that we all may know that there are many curves and bends on our paths.
I feel that I am really in a lesson learning phase right now, and although we all learn lessons daily, sometimes they are hard ones to take.
Recently at the farm where I bake 3 days a week I had a meeting with the main chef and the farm store manager. They wanted to meet with me to see how I was doing since I have been there around 2 months or so and they also wanted to talk about holiday ideas to sell in the store. They told me that there were some items that I had come up with that had sold well. They also told me that there was a customer that was unhappy with a pumpkin pie that they had ordered and it fell at home (sank in the shell). They had refunded them and they are ok with it, but it was devastating news for me. They had positive things to say to me such as they were happy with the amount of items that I produced in the hours that I was there. I remember during my interview that they had said that the previous baker wouldn’t produce a lot in her shift although what she made was of very good quality.
Later that day all I could focus on were the things that had gone wrong. I was really mentally beating up on myself for the mistakes I had made. I was so concerned about being fast and productive I let go of being accurate. I wanted to be perfect! I wanted to have both. I wanted to have everything turn out, but hurry and produce a lot. I was trying to be everything and anything at the same time. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to be the perfect baker that they were looking for- someone who could produce a lot perfectly. The results of this was that I kept going on this way the next day and proceeded to under-bake some items. I was super upset about that as well. I should have taken my time. I should have slowly worked on the recipe that was new to me and given it time.
The lessons that I have learned from this experience are many that I will share with you.
Perfectionism Can Hinder Your Workflow:
First of all, I learned that I have some perfectionism about my work that I need to be aware of. It can be something that really can hinder my mindset and also the outcomes of my work. I have always put so, so much pressure on myself to do all that I can possibly do. I often observe what others want of me and try to be all of that and more. When I really listen to what they are saying though, they don’t expect perfection, only I do. For example, the other chef said that she had some mishaps when she first started cooking at the farm and also recently the other day she over-baked the bread a bit. She did a great job of letting go of it quickly, then moving on to other tasks. Sometimes items that all of us make don’t sell well in the store for some reason or another and we all learn from it. When I don’t let go of work that doesn’t turn out right, it disrupts my workflow to the point that I am not helpful or effective. I let my mindset of perfectionism get in the way of getting things done to the best of my ability and learning from the experience.
Perfectionism Can Distort Your View of Yourself:
I think that within my baking work I have had the view of myself that I have to do everything right and that it’s ok if others make mistakes but I can’t. I let other’s foibles go and when I do something wrong it’s not ok. I am very hard on myself for anything that goes wrong- something burned, something under-baked, something that is not decorated correctly, or enough. This is another way of saying to myself “You are not enough.” “You have to do your work perfectly.” This is not a healthy view. I have to know that I am enough even if I make mistakes. By making mistakes I am learning. By failing I am growing.
Perfectionism Can Slow Your Personal Growth:
Since I am on a path of personal growth and learning I have learned through this experience that perfectionism can put a damper on your personal growth. I know that I am on the farm working in a kitchen team to learn some powerful lessons. I cannot learn those if I let perfectionism get in the way. If I fuss about every mistake and replay it over and over in my mind and beat myself up about it mentally over and over I am not learning the lessons I am there to learn. I know that sometimes lessons show up more than once. Sometimes the lessons get harder just like a voice can get louder if you are not learning them in life. I know that life is showing me this right now. I am choosing to listen so that the voice doesn’t need to get louder and the lessons don’t have to get tougher to get my attention.
I know that from time to time perfectionism will want to show itself, to greet me, to challenge me on my path. For this reason I am coming up some steps to soften that voice in my head and to know that I am enough and that I am doing my job to the best of my ability at this very moment. I think that what I am going to try when one of these moments come up when I make a mistake is to repeat in my head “You are enough” instead of “You did a poor job.””What’s going on with you?” “Why aren’t you doing a better job?” and so many other things that pop into my head at that moment. If I can take a moment to breathe, say “I am enough” to myself and maybe to even write it down somewhere to carry with me that will change the direction and momentum of the day. I am going to try this method this week and report back how it went in another short bonus blog post.
Thank you all for being on this journey with me, through the ups and downs and everything in between.
I would love to know your experiences with perfectionism. Feel free to share your story below in the comments or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
With lots of love,