Just a few weeks ago, I was speaking to Women in Leadership, a non-profit organization empowering women’s professional development, about the downside of pretending to be Ms. Perfect.
My previous career was Ms. Perfect, the management consultant. When I think back to the characteristics I displayed then, it looked something like this:
- I tried so hard to make work look easy
- I worked long hours and hid my time
- I controlled outcomes and made decisions on what others thought rather than what I thought
- I did it myself, and struggled with delegating or trusting others with work
Ms. Perfect requires tremendous energy to pull off
And that mask took a huge toll on me – emotionally, mentally and physically. As Ms Perfect, I relied on that mask to keep up appearances and to hide the feelings of being unfulfilled with my work, uninspired, and resentful at giving so much of myself to my company and leaving nothing for me or my family. It was so easy to be caught in this cycle and lose track of time, and my direction in life.
The day the mask stopping working was when I went back to work after maternity leave. It was at this tipping point where Ms Perfect was making me unravel. I was at war with myself to keep up the charade. The jig was up!
That’s a heavy burden to carry. How heavy is the burden of perfection for you?
It was at this tipping point that I asked for help.
Ms. Perfect can’t look at herself objectively
So maybe professional development isn’t about gaining more technical skills, credentials, and certifications. Maybe professional development in today’s workplace leads to expanding your self-awareness, ability to be vulnerable, ability to ask of help when you’re overwhelmed?
The only thing separating you from the information you need is the ask. I hope you take this away today. You have a choice – to appear Perfect or to be You. What will you choose to be?
I believe we’re all on the same journey yet at different points along the path. The help you need is much closer than you think and starts by asking yourself the tough questions like “What do I want?”
Ms. Perfect blindly follows and is reactive in life
Being Ms. Perfect left me temporarily sidetracked in my career. The more I invested in Ms Perfect, the further I strayed from myself and my own purpose in life. I’ve shed that mask now, and I love my life, career, sense of self and new freedom.
What I’ve learned is that inner peace comes from within and is beyond the rules of being perfect. Maybe I needed to be Ms. Perfect in order to truly understand that and return back to my true path. What path are you on?
Did this post resonate with you? Please comment on perfectionism below or contact me directly here. I’ve love to have this dialogue with you.
JESSICA MANCA is a certified coach, author, entrepreneur and former management consultant. She founded Managing Mindspaces, a professional coaching firm, providing sensible career and life coaching services to professionals making life-changing decisions.
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