annual review

Yesterday Mr. Lively had his first annual review at his current job. And I also had a review of sorts, with the launch of Quincy and Belmont.

As we talked about the very positive outcomes from both reviews, we were slightly amazed. Given how challenging our jobs have been in the past year, it is almost baffling to think that among dozens of hardships, setbacks, and delays, we were able to come out of the year with glowing feedback.

For me personally, thinking about how freaking hard it was to get Quincy and Belmont to launch day, I almost feel like the buzz and support I’ve gratefully received seems undeserved. I mean, I was far from perfect during this process. I’ve written a fair amount the past few months about . the . challenges I’ve been working through in my head. And I’ve felt a fair deal of anxiety and frustration.

And despite all of the problems, mistakes, and worry, the ultimate outcome is fantastic.

To go through so much crap and then find such glowing reviews confuses my brain.

Because you see, as Mr. Lively and I have been re-reading one of my favorite books, The Pursuit of Perfect (found on the MML bookshelf), I’ve noticed that some of my latent perfectionist tendencies have been resurfacing this year.

I’ve been believing, deep down, that in order to “really” be able to enjoy success, I need to have been perfect the whole way through the process. I need to have handled every situation and issue that came up along the way perfectly in order to truly deserve a great launch.

The reality of getting these products developed included imperfections, anger, joy, breakthroughs, and tears (both good and bad). How can the outcome be good if there was so much stress throughout the journey?

Because a happy life, or a successful business, does not require perfection.

I need to relearn that I do not need to expect an uninterrupted stream of positive emotions or outcomes to be happy overall. I set myself up for failure when I have that expectation because it is impossible. It also numbs me from positive feedback. I can’t really believe the positive comments people say too much because I still have been holding on to the negative feelings and reactions I’ve had in the past during the process.

It’s like I finished a marathon and instead of being thankful that I finished and pushed through the tough parts, I’m focusing on the times during the race where I walked, slowed down, or deviated from my perfect pace. I’m not allowing a positive response to the race because there were setbacks along the way.

So now it’s my job to work through these limiting beliefs and let go of the dead weight in my mind to free myself up to fully feel the happiness of what I’ve accomplished.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. kate.

    I struggle with this ALL the time. I’ve been pondering it a lot lately and sometimes I feel like all the blogs I read aren’t helping. Sure, sometimes people document the epic fails. But, part of blogging is carefully documenting in nicely styled pictures the process. It’s often perfectionism on top of perfectionism and maybe doesn’t realistically represent reality. It’s a view of the perfected finished product.
    I’ve been listening to “Appetite for Life,” the biography of Julia Child. And, hearing the number of obstacles and the number of YEARS that she put into Mastering the Art of French Cooking is really inspiring. We’re talking 8 years of chipping away; compiling and testing recipes, editing layouts, writing and rewriting directions, growing and shrinking the size of the book, working with various publishers, problems with co-authors. The presentation of that process was so eye opening for me. It’s not perfect, and it’s not immediate, but you keep plugging away and you just might have something life changing.

  2. This is so very true for so many people, including myself. You are definitely not alone. I’ve been contemplating the same thing lately. I think of all the people that I look up to and assume that they never made the same mistakes or have the same questions about the process as I do, but in fact, even the most successful people have probably been in our confused shoes at one point or another. It’s inspiring to me that such a successful business woman like yourself can talk about mistakes that we were made, because it doesn’t make every mistake that we less successful people make seem so definite.

    Lovely, lovely new collections, by the way. I seriously now feel the need to go buy an ipad because I’m dying to have one of those luxurious cases :).

  3. I really feel that you articulate issues I also have better than I ever could! I really have a hard time with wanting every step of a process to be perfect. If the process is messy or doesn’t go as planned, that somehow spells failure to me. Even if the outcome is wonderful.
    I’m going to pick up The Pursuit of Perfect at your recommendation. Sounds like I could really benefit. Thanks, as usual, for sharing!

  4. Jess

    Kate, Caitlin, and Lindsey, thank you so much for sharing your personal struggle with this issue. And I wish you all the best with working towards becoming more “optimal” rather than perfectionist – I’m working on it right along side of you!

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