Mandy Nicholson

The Creative Genius Corner

Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’

The foolish pursuit of perfection.

So many women I meet are in pursuit of perfection. The perfect man. The perfect body. The perfect home. The perfect 7-figure business. The list goes on. But perfection does not exist, and it is foolish to strive for it. 

I am not saying do nothing, you all know that I am a great believer in vision and goals. But perfection does not have to be the vision!

Think about it, what is perfect? Perfect is merely a word. If you look in the dictionary it means without fault, having all the required or desirable elements, as good as it is possible to be. This is great when you are creating a car engine because you want it to function perfectly. 

YOU are NOT a car engine. 

The word itself triggers feelings of inadequacy, leaving many women with self-worth and self-esteem issues. Enter the artist who wants to create the perfect painting, open to the critique of everyone who sees it. There is no wonder so many creative women suffer at a whole other level.

Recent research indicates that the pursuit of perfection is rising. The domination of social media and the instant image is leading the younger generation towards feelings of failure. Traditionally the image of ‘perfect’ has been associated with motivation and ambition and encouraged and praised, particularly in the business world. But measuring ourselves against unrealistic and often contrived role models is creating a world filled with people who want to be perfect and are constantly disappointed in themselves.

It is time to change your language!

If perfect is merely a word, then you can choose to use a different one. Here is my suggestion…PROGRESS.

When you start to acknowledge progress over perfection, you can be kinder to yourself and feel more worthy. Here are my top tips to help you to change your mindset from perfection to progress.

    • Snapshots Of Success – first and foremost can we get it crystal clear that the perfect people that you see on social media are NOT perfect. The photos we take of ourselves are on a ‘good day’. The success we share in our business is when it has done well. The painting we share looks perfect. We don’t share the 2 hours in hair & make up. The 4 years of 12-hour days getting to the successful business. Or the 6 canvasses in the bin and the tantrums we had on the way to the result. When all you share is the result, then no wonder it makes people feel less worthy. We are human and we compare ourselves. Stop comparing yourself to the snapshots of success and focus on the daily wins towards your goals.
    • The Perfect Storm – the last quarter of a century has seen a massive rise in the reaction to the pursuit of perfectionism. It has manifested in neurotic behaviour, anxiety, guilt, and envy. This in turn has had an impact on productivity, reliability and has negatively affected the economy through the workforce. More people are unable to work through mental health issues and employers are having to adjust at huge expense. Creating the perfect storm. Be realistic about your approach to the online world and limit consumption. If you are prone to scrolling, set time limits or times of the day when you are allowed to engage. Even the perfect storm has a calm centre. Stand there.
    • The Perfect Solution – the answer is a simple one…love. Define love and you find words such as kindness, unconditional, support, praise, encouragement. When we choose to show up authentically and share our shadow side, our weaknesses, and our bad days as well as the good, we are encouraging others to do the same. Actively seeking authentic people whom we can resonate with and encourage us to feel good even on a bad day should be our new pursuit. Invest in giving and receiving unconditional love. Praise your children, friends, family members for every small win instead of comparison and critique. Look for them doing something well and acknowledge and celebrate it. Most importantly do this for yourself and lead by example. It is not ‘big-headed’ nor narcissistic to celebrate your own wins, it shows others that it is OK to love yourself.
    • Progress – what is progress? It is the small things that we do better today than yesterday. Progress is spending one less hour on social media! Progress is taking fifteen minutes to review your day and identifying what went well in addition to what didn’t and giving yourself a pat on the back. Progress is getting up ten minutes earlier and doing something productive with that time. You see you don’t have to make grand gestures or change the world overnight; you just need to make small changes and make sure that you acknowledge them. Turn them into habits by doing them every day and you are making big progress within a month.

When you are looking in the mirror and not loving what you see it is because you are comparing the unique and beautiful you to someone else and that is not attainable, because they are NOT you! The same applies to comparing your creative work to someone else’s, it is an unfair comparison because they do it their way and you do it yours and your way is unique to you.

Be OK with who you are and how you do things and stop trying to be perfect. Perfect is a big lie and massive illusion. 

You are beautifully imperfect just the way you are. 

Now, that is something that I can celebrate.

Love & Colour

Mandy x

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