Photo by Denis Cherkashin on Unsplash

Solve perfectionism with this mindset (nerdy but effective)

“When will I know I’ve MADE IT?” I yelled to my career coach. This was a few years ago. I was frustrated and angsty after months of trying to advance my career, with roadblocks along the way.

“When will I know I’ve gotten there?” I followed up, desperately.

(I just want everything to be PERFECT, to feel “finished”, to no longer need development. O, show me the way to this hidden utopia, expensive career coach. I must find it!)

After a pause, she replied: “There’s no there there. You’re already there, now.”

Of course, this only riled me up even more. But eventually, the words of this career coach / human fortune cookie sunk in:

In life, there’s no such thing as being “done.” 🤯

“There is only the present, constantly.”

To quote the incredible memoir, “Not Fade Away” by Peter Barton. He writes: “The present moment is lived, and relived; written, and rewritten. Every previous version still inhabits it. There is only the present, constantly.”

Lexus’s tagline is: “The Pursuit of Perfection.” As perfectionists, we want to be the Lexus that just appears in someone’s driveway on Christmas, complete with a giant bow on top. Cut to end of commercial, happily ever after, done. Finished.

But even that Lexus needs routine maintenance afterwards!

Are you a perfectionist like me?

Do you just want to have “made it” already? Are you “never enough”? Could you always be or do more, better?

If perfectionism is paralyzing you more than helping you, I’ve been there. And in my *Alexis Rose voice* journey to work through it, I came up with an analogy that’s helped me whenever perfectionism flares up.

The mindset to tame perfectionism: Think of yourself like a piece of software.

Yes, like the apps on your computer and phone.

You are a piece of software.

Full of features. Full of function. Always evolving. Always updating. And yet, always buggy. 12 updates later, and still: A bug here, a bug there.

You squash one, out pops another. It’s like whack a mole. (Or rather, whack a bug.) So you update to your next better version. Maybe it’s version 13 now. And all is well. You’re functioning well. For awhile.

Until you need your next update. Sometimes you crash. Oftentimes, unexpectedly. Everything’s going fine, then suddenly CRASH. Maybe it’s one of those damn bugs. Maybe you just need a reboot.

Or maybe the computer’s been pushed for so long, it just needs to go into Sleep Mode.

Update, retool, squash bugs… By the 40th update, you’re working great! But even then, you’ll always need updating. New features, new bugs, new demands — As an app, you’ll never be perfectly DONE.

There’ll never be a ‘finished’ app. Just look at your phone, there are probably updates you need to make to apps you’ve had for a LONG time.

As a piece of software, constantly-evolving is part of your Terms & Conditions.

And whether you actually read them or not, in order to operate,

You have to click “I Accept.”

Whether you’re a Lexus or an app, one thing’s for sure: You’re enough. Right now. And there’s no there there. (Sorry had to do it.)

I write comedy things. the ha & lol. Also a founding editor of Slackjaw on Medium.

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