I’m not a perfectionist. At least, I never thought I was. I never cared if there was a drip in the paint on my motorcycle, or the seam wasn’t straight on my costume, or my desk was messy, or my bed wasn’t made. I’m more concerned with doing a safe pole invert and being able to say I did it, than making it look pretty. I have an affinity for symmetry, but that’s mathematical, right?
I’m beginning to realize that it’s an altogether different story when it comes to behavior. Observations have piled up over the years from people who care about me, and I’ve begun to takes those to heart and make my own observations. The conclusion? I have impossibly high expectations for myself, and to some extent for the people I encounter.
This reality surfaced on its own for me today when I realized how hopeless I felt about one of the projects I’m working on. It feels impossibly complex, so many moving parts, so many unknowns, so many actors, no one person in charge, not even a solid deadline. We’re working hard at it, pinning down as many details and assignments as we can. But something will get missed. And knowing that defeats me. I have another project I’m working on that is nearing completion. Everyone else will consider it a success and a significant accomplishment. But there will be things that aren’t quite right, tweaks that have to be made, user experiences that aren’t quite ideal. To me, that means I failed. It makes job satisfaction feel far out of reach. Break something, and let me fix it. That is an easy, clear expectation. I know what the standard is. That I can accomplishment. There I can succeed.
I had the same problem when I started college. If there was an A to be had, I was failing if I didn’t get it. I’ve managed to somehow overturn that thinking. I’m still getting As so far, but I feel like I’ve succeeded if I’ve learned something, rather than if I’ve gotten an A. Perhaps there is something to be learned here. I haven’t had much chance to analyze it yet. I do know that if I can sort out my expectations for myself, it can only bode well for the people who have to deal with me having expectations for them.
(Breathe in) I am (breathe out) enough. Repeat. Thanks Joanne. I’ll believe it some day.