So I just discovered that I'm a perfectionist. Literally 5 minutes ago.

Thursday, August 24


I just watched an Instagram story on the feed of my beloved Brooke White (if you don't follow her, you should, she is a soul sister in the truest sense of the word) and she was talking about her struggle with procrastination and time management, and the deeply rooted cause behind it. The root essentially being perfectionism and putting off participating in life if you feel that you can't do it perfectly. Yes indeed, ACTUALLY putting off your own damn life because you feel you can't do it perfectly. There was one quote that she pulled from Brooke Castillo's Life Coach School podcast on rejection that said, "Procrastinators are scared people." I heard that and I thought, omg that's freaking me. I've never identified as a perfectionist but holy balls am I a die-hard procrastinator. I've used procrastination since grade school as a self preservation tactic, trying to irrationally avoid judgement, and rejection for as long as humanly possible. That self preservation tactic also bled into my inclination toward being a people-pleaser. So much so, that it nearly destroyed me when years ago, I discovered that there were people on the internet who deeply disliked me. I began writing to please them, and in turn, the soul of my writing became nearly unrecognizable while I slowly, daily, betrayed myself.

"People pleasers are liars", says Brooke Castillo and her truth bombs. Saying you like something when you don't. Saying you're ok with something when you aren't. I had become so good at lying. I'm still good at it, when I allow myself to be. Like a weak muscle memory. For years, I brought this damage on my relationship with my own mom when I put my self-imposed need to please and avoid potential rejection, over my deeper need to speak my truth. And it was only when my truth became so overpowering, so insistent, even bubbling over into my nightly dreams, that I was forced to confront and speak it, and the relationship was sent on its way toward repair and healing.

Perfection. Procrastination. Self Preservation. Back in the ol' heyday of blogging, I was invited several times to speak on panels at various conferences. This is not a brag. At the time I was horrified. At first, in a moment of panicked white-knuckling, I said yes, and then, eventually, I would find a back-doored way to say no. I didn't trust myself to speak out loud -- most certainly not to a room full of people. I didn't trust them to not judge me, not reject me. Yet this universal invitation to speak, and to become stronger than I was in that moment, was not eliminated, only delayed.

I am now, in the early stages of not being scared of myself. And when I say the early stages, I'm talking like a year and a half deep here. I am daily, hourly, digging deep on my why. And I am, for the first time, trusting myself to vocally speak in front of those I love ( um, you). Yet the knowledge and confidence that I truly do have something to say, is racing neck and neck with my fear that I won't say it eloquently enough. I am in the middle of launching a podcast, and while I feel, deep down in my bones, that this is part of my purpose right now, I am in the very same moment, combatting negative self talk about my ability to execute it with the grace and ease of others. The term "others" is not a mirror in which to view oneself, but damn if I don't use it as one.

Also within these early stages of not being scared of myself ... officially known as, "come at me bro part 1, 2 and 3" ... I am diving into the realm of creating courses as an alternative, and what I hope to be a deeply fulfilling, new way to make a daggum living on these internets. And you know what is the dumbest? Perfectionism. That's what's the dumbest. I know my purpose, I know my why, (thank you to Alison's Brand Workshop for that, it was my literal emergency hotline) I know what I want to do, and yet I am stunted, and paralyzed by my impulse to indulge the poison of perfection. I let fear of judgement back in. Fear of rejection. And I am so not down with that.

So here is my truth. I am going to speak it now.
PERFECTION IS A LIE. AND I AM NOT A LIAR.
Not anymore.

19 comments:

Miss Tweedle said...

SOOOO excited for your podcast!!! You are perfect!

Lara Nelson said...

This. Yes. I relate so hardcore. Wow. Thank you for sharing and writing your truth and being vulnerable. This stuff is what gives other people the courage to do the same, like me. So inspired by you.

amy said...

man I read this & my inner perfectionist said " I mean...we all have different standards of perfection we're holding ourselves to...it's not like it isn't our own actual standards...and that makes it okay, right?" yeah...I'm in that deep that I'm awesome at justifying all of it- the thing is though, personalized to fit all of our individual nonsense it may be, it's still an impossible standard that leaves us all drowning. we set ourselves up to fail. why do we do that?!
I guess I've known for a while what I was doing but told myself finding out why & getting to a point where I don't care what other people think (which I literally can not imagine) would be harder work than the self inflicted high bar = fail system I'm in.
I'm so in awe that your putting it out there & figuring it out. I'm so excited to hear your podcast & insights.

mollybc said...

Yes! One time I bought a book on procrastination. And then I avoided reading it and never finished it....
All of what you have been saying about this time of life has totally resonated with me. When you shared the thought of "I'm doing everything i ever wanted, now what?" I felt like you saw my soul!

so thank you and I'll be here along with you during this journey.

Lindsi said...

I love this!! Thank you for sharing! Where are your red earrings from?!

Taylor said...

Yes yes yes. There are finally words that describe me, to a T. It has taken until my thirties to see a light and go for it. To stop caring what others think and to stop pleasing everyone else and start a journey to find myself. This echoed loudly. Thank you for sharing. Im headed into my first month of a year long reformation and I'm looking forward to really defining my core values so I can start living MY WAY.
I look forward to reading about yours!

Dusty Yurkin said...

I have been following your blog for years, since the very beginning when you were still in school for design. I have loved following your personal and life journey, as if you are one of my dear friends. Since instagram stories, I feel like we have made it to a new level in our online friendship as it is surreal hearing your voice, instead of just reading your words (but oh, how I love your words!). The idea of a podcast excites me to no end and I cannot wait to see you push aside your procrastination and do it, because I will definitely be a follower/listener and cannot wait!

Laura Maldonado said...

<3

Kristian said...

Would I be totally wrong if I said that I don't want grace and eloquence? Would that ease your spirit slightly? All of my growth and learning happens in the messy bits of life. I can't think of one life lesson that happened when everything was going completely perfect and then boom, here comes this magical wisdom from thin air. As you build your podcast, feel free to write in pencil and get a little messy because that is where all of the magic is. Please yourself and make yourself happy. The universe is working in your favor and I'm rooting for you.

Billie Jane said...

GO GIRL!

Maria said...

Oh my gosh Sydney, I hear you loud and clear! This is something I've been intensely struggling with lately. The realisation that I keep myself from doing so many things because I'm terrified of failure - not doing it right so I don't do it at all. I mean, it's good to have high expectations of ourselves, right? That fuels a desire to succeed. But it's also limiting in that it prevents you from doing things. I've recently been told about something called 'imposter syndrome'. It's something people pleasing, intelligent people get .. although successful and personable its having an irrational constant fear of being 'found out' or 'exposed as a fraud'. Some of the most successful people I know in my field of work have this. Personally, I can't WAIT for your podcast. Remember being imperfect is to be relatable. And relatable is what people like. It reminds us all that we're ok, in what the internet can portrait as a falsely perfect world.

Mara and Jae said...

love this and love everything you say and how you say it. and cannot WAIT for your podcast. more power to ya, girlfriend.

Meg said...

Agh, I relate to this on a deep level. I have so many goals and 'dreams' but the concept of failure or not completing them perfectly means they end up packed up in my brain storage.
I'm so excited to hear your podcasts, hear your journey and hear your honesty. It's super exciting and super encouraging for your audience to get some authenticity, which is sometimes hard to come by as a blog-reader.

Alynne Leigh said...

Thank you for saying EXACTLY how I've been feeling. I'm excited for a podcast!!

Kelly said...

Same. Same. Same! I've been struggling with this for years. I am SO GOOD at coming up with excuses and not saying how I feel in fear of judgement. I don't come back to your blog for your outfits (although they're always beautiful) but because of your authentic, candid voice. Thanks for being honest. Excited for your podcast.

Jessica Castiglione said...

This right here is exactly what I'm experiencing! Thank you for writing about it. I feel like so many other bloggers present themselves and their lives without flaws and it's hard to get behind any of it. I love your honesty and I've always loved your blog even when you were struggling. Your true self still shined through. Can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

Thank you sooo much for sharing this. These words are so good for my heart to hear. Literally just yesterday I broke down crying because I was convinced I should not be a mom. Because I'm not perfect. But I felt determined to raise the perfect child. I felt I shouldn't do this Mom thing because I can't do it perfectly. Knowing I am not alone is SO unbelievably relieving to me and I feel I can walk away from reading this standing a little taller. I'm going to go squeeze my imperfect baby boy and apologize for trying to mold him into anything but himself.

Sara Hazen said...

Reading this I kept thinking- "Did I write this?!". lol. I'm pretty sure you are my spirit animal. hahaha. Right there with you!

Cindy Zastrow said...

I haven't read your blog for quite some time. I used to follow you quite regularly but things had gotten "stale" with your posts and you weren't posting consistently. I would check back in every few months/couple times a year....then I checked today!!!!!!! Holy content girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow!!!! I love LOVE LOVE this new side of you that you are allowing us to see. The real you! Thank you!!! So far every post is something that I needed to read and you are helping me and I am so grateful! Thank you!!! PLEASE don't stop!!!!

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