Renee Ballard

The paralysis of perfectionism

The pain is real. You’ve got something great to post, you’ve got a cool pic, and a witty one-liner to go with it. You have the channels to post it out onto and all you need to do is find five minutes to make it happen. Easy. Everything is literally in the your palm, you need only hit send to make it happen.

And then, that nagging, pain in the arse, perfectionistic voice in your head starts up…

“Should you really post that?”

“Do you think it’s relevant? To anyone?”

“What if it’s not as funny as you think?”

These questions are purposefully designed to be unanswerable, and to keep you safe. You end up thinking, maybe that post is a little too risky, I think I’ll leave it for now. Perfectionism wins again and another beautiful/funny/clever/heartfelt post dies on the vine. Your target audience doesn’t get to hear from you, and the fear of posting something imperfectly does another bicep curl and gets stronger.

On so on goes the loop. Perfectionism keeps us safe from feeling silly, but it also locks up our voice and cuts the connection to those who we want to talk to most. To unloop ourselves, we need to shift gears and reverse out our motivations.

When we are paralysed with perfectionism, we are imaging that whoever will be reading our posts, will be judging them. That’s probably true, exactly as we all judge other people when we’re online. But that’s the ‘judgers’ problem, not yours. And your problem isn’t to guess what they’re thinking, your job is to go back to that feeling – just before that annoying voice started up –  I’ve got something I think is interesting to post, and I’m going to stay with that feeling while I finally hit send.

It’s not an overnight solution, but every time that you put your voice ahead of your inner perfectionist’s, you’re doing a self-strength bicep curl and making your comfort zone just a little bit bigger.

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