Falling Short of Perfection


I am extremely hard on myself when it comes to assessing my performances. Hard on myself to the point that any type of feedback used to automatically be interpreted as failure and I would dwell on that moment for days or instantly want to go into hiding from embarrassment. I would become obsessed with remembering every mistake that I made and could often give myself feedback harder than anyone on the outside. These feelings and reaction to falling short of our own expectations of ourselves are normal. For some it maybe the belief that they aren’t good enough for me however that wasn’t the case. For me it wasn’t that I believed that I wasn’t capable of completing the task or should be performing a that level, it was the feeling that anything less than my expectation of perfect was not good enough. It took me awhile however to realize that I was always setting unrealistic standards for what my performance should look like, no mistakes where ever allowed and even if I couldn’t name a specific mistake it still wasn’t good enough.

It would be a lie to say that I never feel like I’m not doing good enough anymore, but I have become better at myself assessment and coping with falling short of my expectations. It’s okay to want to do better but its not okay to beat yourself up when something is not perfect.

Here are a few tips for how I cope with not meeting my own standards of perfection:


  1. I set boundaries of when I will accept feedback. If I am in the moment I need to be focused on the moment and not on all the things that aren’t going right. I tell my team to give me feedback on breaks, only if it’s something I can immediately implement, if it is not, please wait until I am done and have a had a few minutes to reflect for myself. I will always take the feedback, but it just has to be the right time and right place for me to be most accepting and open to it.
  2. After a performance where I don’t feel like I’ve done my best I interpret the next chance as a challenge not a threat. I challenge myself to improve on at least 20% of the negative feedback that I received from the previous attempt instead of letting the fear of repeating all the negative to sink in. I write down goals and challenge myself to meet them, whether that’s improving on that 20% or repeating a sustain from the last time. Usually a combination of the both.
  3. I learn from my mistakes. We all make mistakes but learning from them is growth. If we realize we did something ineffective we need to be deliberate at trying not to repeat the same bad habit. If we aren’t actually putting in the work to improve we can’t be mad when it goes wrong.
  4. I force myself to find a sustain. Sometimes this is the hardest part and talking to someone who didn’t witness it can really help because they are unbiased. Yes, hearing sustains from others is helpful because they have an outside perspective but can allow ourselves to interpret that however we want but when we are giving ourselves the sustains its solid and we will actually believe it .
  5. It is easier said than done to accept where our skill level really is and not just focusing on where we want it to be. If it is my first time or I’m still new at a performance or task, its self-sabotage to expect myself to never make a mistake. Enjoy the process of mastery don’t expect yourself to ever meet the destination.

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