Prompted by a discussion in The Quiet Entrepreneur community, about Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection“, I’ve been wondering whether perfectionism might be one of the biggest challenges for introverts, and whether it’s one of the main reasons why we find it so hard to promote ourselves and our businesses.
That’s not to say that extroverts can’t also be perfectionists. But when introverts are being told all the time that our behaviour is in some way “wrong” or “unsociable”, it’s only natural that it might increase the tendency for us to question the validity of everything we do.
I’ve had to let go of being a perfectionist, recently, for the sake of my health – and simply to get stuff out of the door. But it’s not easy. I’m constantly worried that people might think my work isn’t good enough and ask for their money back!
When I was filming the videos for my latest e-course on video creation for introverts, I encountered more technical problems than I had done in the entire three years of filming to-camera videos previously. At one point, I started to wonder whether the Universe was trying to tell me something…
But I persevered. I re-recorded the videos that were out of focus, or where I looked uncomfortable (which was on quite a few, as I had a bad back at the time). And I decided to stop using my fancy new camera, which I hadn’t yet learned how to use, and to concentrate on filming videos with the kind of equipment I thought my clients would be using.
Even then, I had some technical problems – crackling on the sound track, caused by me moving my arms about as I talked. And I thought perhaps I should start filming them all over again.
But the problem with that is, you lose the spontaneity. In my opinion, that is the biggest problem with perfectionism. Sure, you might get a “perfect” product – but it lacks authenticity.
In this age of air-brushed images and CGI, it’s sometimes difficult to tell reality from fiction. And if you compare what you’re creating with that unreal world, then of course it’s going to look flawed and imperfect.
But that’s the point.
Life is flawed and imperfect. And if you’re not prepared to share your flawedness and imperfections with your community, then you’re doing them a disservice. Because you’re trying to pretend that you’re better than they are.
That’s why I decided to include some out-takes and early videos in my video creation course – just so that people can see how far I’ve come (even if it’s still not all that far!!), and can take comfort in knowing it’s possible to start off really badly and, with practice, get better.
Because, of course, you know that already.
Everything you are proficient at now, you have had to learn to do and practise until you became more competent at it. But if you’re anything like me, then you might have a desire to always start at the finishing line – to be super-competent at everything, even though you’re a beginner.
By tempering my perfectionism, I’m hoping to open a gateway to greater creativity, greater honesty and greater productivity. Watch this space…!
About the author Julia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.