Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering, mindset

Perfectionism, skill, imposter syndrome

I am a recovering perfectionist.

For a long time, everything had to be just right. Edit, erase, start over. Make sure there’s always a straight-edge handy. No streaks, no cracks, no chips.

I realize this is fear-based.

I’m better about it. I don’t spend an hour carefully curating which font I’m going to use on slides for public presentations. Find one, make sure it’s good enough (primarily: legible), and spend the time on the real work.

I’ve hand-drawn cards for my students with music notes on them that are not each exactly the same. Someone volunteered to laminate and cut these cards for me, and they’re not all the same size. Deep breath, use them anyway, they still work fine.

However…

I am also not always a good judge of “good enough” versus “the best I can do right now” (which might not really be good enough).

I was looking through pictures from an old blog the other day. I had shared quite a few recipes, and there was one pic with each … and many of them were not good at all.

These kinds of realizations make it a little bit harder for me not to get thrown back into perfectionism, or into give-up-ism, or just into heightened self-consciousness.

Ultimately, my photography skills are limited (though that’s on my to-do list, and has been longer than I’ve been blogging) and my photography tools are limited (phone, though a real camera is on my wish list).

(That’s why I’ve given myself permission not to have a photo with every blog post. If I don’t have one or can’t relatively easily take one that works for the post, I’m going without. It’s not a photo blog—they’re here to enhance or to attract, but the words are what I’m here for and, I assume, what you’re here for.)

And you see how defensive I immediately became? Oof. Brains are funny. And this post isn’t supposed to be about photography! So then I debate: edit those paragraphs down (or out) and stick more closely to the topic, or keep them in and let it be more real?

Today, real wins. Paragraphs stay. (Sometimes, I choose to stick to the topic more closely.)

This rabbit hole occasionally brings me to this: what is life like for people who don’t have this problem? People who can create the details (like the font, or the photo), and be satisfied with it, and be correct that it is satisfying, and then move on? Or is that one of those things where I’m comparing my insides to others’ outside and everyone who creates anything has this struggle in some capacity? Or am I expecting to be able to do something easily that others have spent hours working on?

That happens with my students. Often. They see that I can play instruments easily. They see some other students who can play their instruments easily. And they assume they “just can’t do it.” When really … they need to put in the time.

I would take better photos with more practice, for sure. Would I choose fonts more easily?

How do you differentiate between imposter syndrome and just needing more skill?

What’s your experience?

Author:

My name is Heat! (It's short for Heather.) My last name is Polish and has a few Zs in it and it's really just easier this way.

4 thoughts on “Perfectionism, skill, imposter syndrome

  1. Imposter syndrome is something that’s very common in my field (software engineering). There are days when I find myself thinking that I don’t deserve my job title, that I got here through some kind of fluke or by some sort of dishonest means. (Maybe I “over-sold” myself on my resume, etc…). One thing that I do to help with this is to constantly remind myself that there’s always more to learn, and that’s it’s ok if I don’t know that thing I think I should. Sure, I may not know something I think I should know, but there is probably something I know that someone else thinks they should know! I don’t know if that gets to what you were asking, but I saw “imposter syndrome” and couldn’t not go off on a tangent 🙂

    Like

    1. The question was broad enough that yes, you answered it 😊 I love the reminders to yourself about all there is to learn. So true! Regardless the field, there is so much to learn, even if we’re already “experts” or have tons of experience.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.