Perfectionist? No thanks! Averagist for me…

Staring at the ceiling, I contemplated what my next move should be. A thousand thoughts went through my head as I argued with myself over a career move that I was reasonably certain was an impossibility. 12:00am, 1:00am, 3:30am…same conversation playing in my head.

Earlier that day, I had a conversation with someone who told me about an opportunity at another employer. I hadn’t thought much about it at the time. After all, I was only 33 and this job had a list of requirements that I didn’t think I met. I usually go with my gut on matters like this, but my gut wasn’t helping things.

kid therapy

Here’s the problem: All my life, I’ve taken the safe road. There’s a psychological disorder where people will only try things if they are certain that they will be successful. If they think they can’t be, they’ll not try it at all (Full disclosure, I’m not a Psychologist but my sister is and she tells me regularly how screwed up I am); however, I’ve not been officially diagnosed with this.

That said, I know I must have some version of this. (E.g., When I was a kid, I could get a B+ or A- without studying so I didn’t. Why not? b/c if I studied and still only got a B+, that’s a failure.)

Back to the sleepless night. Here are some snippets from the argument going on in my head:

  1. “I’ve never done this before”
  2. “I’m too young”
  3. “I have a good job now and you’ve only been there 1 year”
  4. “This could be a career killer”
  5. “What if this isn’t what I really want to do with my life”
  6. “I don’t have the experience. If this had only come along a year or two down the road…”
  7. “What if I find out that I’m over my head?”

The interesting part about this? All this was BEFORE I EVEN APPLIED for the position!!!

I was reading a post over on Leadership Freak where Dan really made me think about the way I do things. I never realized it before, but I’m apparently a perfectionist. Dan talks about being an “averagist”.

“Averagists,” those who take imperfect steps toward achievable goals, always go further than perfectionists. Each step forward calls for another because you haven’t arrived.”

In a world where we’re taught to play it safe, the challenge is to keep moving towards perfection rather than waiting until you’re sure you’ll get there before you take a step. I want to take imperfect steps towards achievable goals.

I don’t want to be a perfectionist!

I, gulp, WANT TO FAIL…forward. We don’t learn from success, we learn from failure.

Btw, I’ve been doing the job over a year and am loving every minute of it…