Doing Your Best Without the Stress of Perfectionism


Doing Your Best Without the Stress of Perfectionism
By Julia Felberbauer


“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” ~Robert H. Schuller

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by perfectionism? Would you rather not do something if you can’t be sure it will be perfect? Although this kind of thinking doesn’t make much sense, I understand it, because I’ve been there.

I’d like to share with you some insights that helped me overcome my own deeply ingrained perfectionism and the unhappiness and stagnation it caused me.
Avoiding perfectionism doesn’t mean avoiding quality work and high achievement.

I am someone who loves making sure that even the smallest details of my work are right, and that the work I deliver lives up to my highest standards.

I used to think that the opposite of perfectionism was doing sloppy work, so I tried that for a while, but it really didn’t sit well with me. I don’t know about you, but I like to do something well and make it good quality work, and doing something less than that makes me feel bad.

If giving your best is what you do naturally, then doing something only half as well as you could just to avoid the trap of perfectionism isn’t going to help you. Trying this has always made me feel stressed because I was going against my nature and because I didn’t like the work I produced. So what to do?
Who defines your “perfect”?

I think perfectionism is really fear of being judged by others. It’s actually likely that others will judge us for what we do and say, but in most cases, we can get over it because it’s not so bad—or because we have to.

However, a perfectionist never looks to compassionate and wise people and imagines how they might judge them! For example, when I am writing a new blog post, I never think of what my grandmother or the Dalai Lama would say about it. (It would probably be something like, “It’s wonderful that you express yourself creatively and try to help others at the same time!”)

Instead, the people I have in mind are the cynical journalists whose articles I read (which is really my own fault) and the mean and angry people who post anonymous insults in online newspaper forums. I’m pretty sure they would actually hate what I have to say, but why do I pick them as my internal jury?

This internal process is what I call destructive perfectionism, because it’s a way in which we beat ourselves up and possibly feel so stifled that we never even start our work, or never dare show it to anyone.
Constructive perfectionism is the fuel you need to move forward.

Destructive perfectionism stops you in your tracks. Constructive perfectionism allows you to start and do your best—even if a year from now you find it amateurish. That’s how great things get done; you have to start somewhere and work your way up.

I started getting into strength training, movement art, and gymnastics over a year ago because I wanted to move as capably, strongly, and gracefully as the movement teachers I admire. I soon found that achieving this in a short time frame was highly unrealistic, meaning: For a long time I looked and felt more like an elephant doing gymnastics than an actual movement artist.

But the vision of what is possible kept me going, and now I am a far better and stronger mover than when I started, even though I am miles away from what I want to achieve. If I had given up after one attempt because it wasn’t perfect, I’d still be a couch potato!

In my journey away from perfectionism, I also stopped beating myself up and driving myself so far that I came by several injuries, and started enjoying the movement and the small progress I made every day.

Maybe I will never reach the kind of athletic ability and grace that I long for, but I am enjoying the process so much and doing my health a big favor. So I hope you take this to heart and start enjoying yourself by doing what you love and giving it your best.

Life is too short to miss out on the pleasure of doing something well just because others might judge you or you might not get it right. As they say: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Photo by Helga Weber

The Challenge – Day 31 First month finished of my 1 year best of health challenge

Here it is the last day of first month into my 1 year challenge.
I’ll miss the “attitude of gratitude” which I expressed every day for a month but for mow I’ll just keep it for myself.
To sum up, the first month went pretty well with all the green smoothies (which I’ll continue to have every day for the whole year). The food journal helped me to observe overeating – where from is this coming. I’ve noticed 2 major triggers for eating bad food and/or overeating: one is tiredness and the other one is low blood sugar levels. As a mum of 3 kids under the age of 7 I encounter many sleepless nights therefore being tired was the norm for me. Even now, when I’ve realized what is triggering my bad food choices I still cannot avoid being tired (as my mum role is ongoing). However I can chose to sleep next day or whenever I can instead of doing heaps of jobs around the house. With the low blood sugar issue I need to find out more which foods have a lower GI and to eat mostly those.
Even if I’m not yet on top of the world in regard to my health I do feel empowered to make the necessary changes.
So, for next month I will continue with the 200 grams of greens a day and I will eliminate some foods (which I’ll confirm later) and I’ll introduce some new foods healthier. That is for my body. For my soul I will read 3 books in relation to finding life purpose. For my mind I will try to meditate for 20 minutes 5 times a week.

I’m grateful for:
1. finishing up the first month of challenge
2. realizing what is important for me and my family at this time
3. all the slaps in the face I receive from the universe
4. the extraordinary friends that I have in my life
5. inspiration

The Challenge – Day 29

Going with the flow of life became an obsession for many people. But how do you get to actually translate that into practice? It came to my mind to ask one of my friends today as she seems to manage it all well as opposed to myself. Feeling rushed and always on the search for the next thing to do is just what drains me and makes me angry and inflexible whit everything and everyone around me.
To sum up my friend’s answer to the above questions is: “I focus on what’s important on my life at this time. Getting financially/materially ahead while you go backwards emotionally or mentally is not a good trade for me. For sure the time for other things will come in my life but it’s just not now”. Whoaaa, what a revelation! That is so much true! I spent my last years in trying to combine work and raising a young and challenging family to exhaustion. When I got to the point that every other day I was depressed I started to ask more questions to myself and others.
I must declare that I am a workaholic addict in recovery … it just came to me today that to be tense and angry that you aren’t a supermom and superwife and superwoman and superbusinesswoman at the same time is not a bad thing. I’ll keep you posted how my recovery goes.


I’m grateful for:

1. having so many distance healing clients (for Reiki)
2. having such a great teacher and friend in my Reiki teacher
3. taking the time to rise healthy, happy and confident children
4. having enough free time on my hands to do my so loved vegetable gardening
5. realizing that I have a passion for becoming a multimillionaire (to read “financially free unbounded to any restrictions to live a balanced spiritual life”)

The Challenge – Day 28

There are moments in life when you feel so peaceful, so present, so in tune with everything, that makes you know you are “at peace”. This is one of those moments.

I feel grateful:

1. for a good book
2. for a blissful moment
3. for a moment of peace after the kids are asleep
4. for my body (as this is the vehicle I’ve been given for this life)
5. for finding spirituality

The Challenge – Day 27

Having three children it comes at a price some times. It all ads up in cost and the time for you, is almost nonexistent. That would be the downside of the story but the upside of it is the endless joys that a life on a full house offers. For me, there are so many pluses in staying at home with children that my many years of study really don’t matter anymore. Sometimes I’m a bit scared that I might get too attached by the role of being a mum. There is a little scary thing at the back of my mind that I might hate just any job I’d try when the children are older. So, to stay sane and connected with the outside world I keep this blogging journal.

I feel grateful for:

1. Reiki symbols for which I am attuned
2. my children’s endless resource of creativity (even when they do naughty things)
3. the sense of peace I feel right now
4. this very moment
5. the green smoothies I have every day

The Challenge – Day 26

I’m tired and have a feeling of being rushed today.
So, I feel grateful for:

1. my new car
2. the people around me because they teach me all sorts of lessons
3. the small little pampering things that I do for myself
4. my black cat
5. my power of bouncing back after each setback.

The Challenge – Day 25

15 years since I’ve got married seem like a long time. In actual fact flew like a feather. There is still the feeling of being 20 something but the novelty of a new marriage is long gone. What does it stay with us after the “heat” goes away? Friendship and team work is what comes to my mind first. Love and passion will flare up at times but for most of the time is just dormant. What I feel grateful for is:
1. the sunny day outside
2. my beautiful twins
3. my dear friend Mihaela
4. abundance in my life children’s healthy appetite