My perfectionist is a little girl of seven or eight. She sits on my shoulder, her perfect pigtails clipped with little pink bows. She wears a polka dot dress and shakes her finger at me.
“Your office is a mess,” she says. “You should have your pencils perfectly lined up. All your books and papers are just clutter.”
“You have to know the whole strategy for your business and follow it perfectly,” she commands in my ear. “You have to attract a ton of clients right now and know the formula for success. Look at that successful person. She knows exactly what to do. You have to be like that.”
Her words make me freeze. I start spinning and spinning and don’t know which direction to go. Each thing I think of isn’t perfect enough in my little perfectionist’s eyes so I do nothing.
She wags her little finger in front of my face, daring me to have all of the right answers right now.
The endless circles my thinking brain has taken me in finally tire me out. I take a deep breath and a different way comes to mind. What if I embrace the imperfect mystery? What if I thank my little perfectionist, give her a gentle pat on her head, and feel into the messy, beautiful glory of building something from my soul’s wisdom? What if I enjoy the struggles and the uncertainty?
What if I take whatever beautiful, messy action that feels like joy to me today?
I realize that each day of glorious, muddled, risky activity adds up.
I make a nice, little pink bed for my perfectionist, thank her for her hard work and settle her into sleep.