Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The pain of perfectionism.

I've always been a perfectionist. I remember crying because I got a 98 on an exam and not a 100. I thought I had to be a perfectionist so that I could get good grades and a scholarship to college and to graduate school. Then I started working and I had to be perfect at my job. So as a result I got good grades and moved up the corporate ladder. But I don't remember having much fun in my youth.

In the Understanding Men course, they talk about the ideal woman. We compare ourselves to the ideal woman. The ideal woman is in our head criticizing us. Do we look perfect? Are we doing everything right? There is no way for our true selves to show up when the ideal woman is around.

I thought I had relaxed my perfectionism and had silenced my ideal woman, but I was wrong. My ideal woman doesn't show up around household things; she doesn't care if she can cook or clean. You can pay people to do that. My ideal woman doesn't show up around work much either. After all, I have 25 years experience doing what I do and I got myself a job that I can practically do with my eyes closed. There haven't been any big failures there. So I thought the ideal woman had relaxed or gone away.

I was wrong. She showed up big time this week, after I had a TV interview in Sacramento. The interview was only seven minutes and it was my first time. I didn't think it would be a big deal. I thought I would do fine without much preparation. But I didn't do fine. I talked too much. I didn't give succinct answers to questions. I said things I shouldn't have. As if that wasn't bad enough, a good friend let me know that I didn't look good. I was slouched on the coach. My makeup was too light. My clothes weren't right. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I forced myself to watch the interview. Double ouch.

So for the last couple of days I've been staying away from people. I don't need anyone telling me how poorly I did on the show. My ideal woman is doing a fine job of that. Finally I had to tell her to shut up. Another friend, who isn't a perfectionist, helped me relax today. It was my first interview and no one coached me. How could I expect to be perfect? I learned a LOT from all the things I did wrong. You better believe I won't do that again. And it was only Sacramento. It's not like I screwed up on Oprah. So the ego might be bit bruised, but in hind sight I can see how it all served.

So if anyone knows a good make up artist, clothes consultant, or TV coach, let me know. In the meantime I'm going to give myself a break. And I'm going to send the ideal woman on vacation, hopefully permanent.


Anonymous said...

I (I underlined, but I do not know how to do it) will respect your request for taking a break. May be it is much needed.

And it is such a relief to hear somebody telling the perfect woman, who can do all and be all for everybody, to be quiet or hit the road.

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