Getting Unstuck

I have been feeling very stuck…again…still. I find myself returning to the same pattern, getting sucked in to work and letting it take over my energy and my time. It is not like I do something I am wildly passionate about. If I was consumed by creating something awesome or saving the world in some way or anything that made me feel more fulfilled, that would be one thing. Most of the projects I have worked on the past year have gotten canceled or taken over by someone else or fizzled out due to reorganizations. I have spent a lot of weekends in the past year working on things that end up going nowhere.  And even if they went somewhere, I am not so sure I would care about where they went. What the heck am I doing?

I don’t really love what I do. But if I weren’t doing what I do now, what would I do? What do I really love to do?

I love solving problems. I love helping people. I love feeling connected to other people. I love feeling a sense of accomplishment.

I often think about going back to teaching or going to work for a start-up. I have thought about taking a year off to “figure it all out” because I am just so tired. I have thought about becoming a yoga teacher. Just the other day, I wondered if I would like to be a writer.

But the reality is, all of these things are part of the life that I have now. Over the past five years, I have managed to incorporate glimmers of all of these things in to my life, on top of a job that allows me to solve problems every day (lots of them!) I make a choice to spend more time on some things and less time on others. I have options. I have more options than most people do!

So why do I make the choice to spend most of my time working at a job that I don’t love?

I am a perfectionist and I want to make everyone happy. I always get the highest ratings on my performance evaluations and I am always the rock star. Because I am good at what I do, my boss counts on me to get things done and constantly gives me more work. Then I have to work harder to be perfect, and I do. This is who I am and who I have always been, ever since I was a little girl. I am addicted to being perfect. Work is the place I am best at being perfect so I spend most of my time there.

I met a woman about ten years ago who said she was a recovering perfectionist. I remember thinking she must not have REALLY been a perfectionist, because I real perfectionist would not be able to just stop being perfect. She just THOUGHT she was a perfectionist.

Well, if I don’t figure out how to be a recovering perfectionist, I will never never be truly happy.

I have said a million times “I am going to work less”, “I am going to go to Yoga”, “I am going to meditate”, “I am going to read more”, “I am going to get out of the house more” etc. I have written these things many times on my blog and my poor friends and family have listened to it over and over.

What I have to start saying to myself is…

  • I am going to let my boss down today, because I need to make more room for things that make me happy.
  • I am going to let this issue go, even though I could spend a few more hours to fix it, because I need to save my energy for meeting new people, finding a relationship, and staying connected to people that I care about.
  • I am going to take my vacation time and stop working weekends because free trips to Hawaii and luxurious gifts that I don’t need are not worth all of the other things I give up during the rest of the year.
  • I am going to delegate this task and accept the way it gets done, or it will not get done at all, because giving back to the world is more important to me than this spreadsheet being perfectly formatted.

I may seem like a slight shift, but I think it is significant. I have to keep the end goal in mind because producing lower quality work and not making people happy all the time will be VERY hard for me. Seriously, it’s an addiction. If I don’t constantly remind myself of what I will get in return, I won’t be able to do it. I’ve never been able to do it. But I will keep trying!

There are many people at my company who make just as much money as I do and work a lot less than I do. (almost everyone at my company works a lot less than I do.) I can keep my job, do less, pay my mortgage, and make more room for what is important to me.

When I make more room for what is important to me and more space in my head to think then maybe I can find my way to a job that I do love. Or maybe I will love my job more when it is not eating me alive.

September always feels like the start of a new year to me. It is also the Jewish new year (and I am half Jewish) so I wish myself L’Shanah Tovah as I embark on my quest to become a recovering perfectionist (in addition to a recovering TVaholic, of course.)  Here’s to this the slight shift in approach and continued perseverance leading to an amazing outcome!

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3 thoughts on “Getting Unstuck”

  1. It is not slight. It is very significant and may be difficult at first. I suggest taking one of the last 3 on the list, and stick to it until you are comfortable with it, then add another etc. The first item is an assumption that your boss will be disappointed if you do the last 3. The boss may or may not be disappointed. It’s in the boss’ best interest, as well as yours, that you don’t burn yourself out. I’d bet that if you do the above and take care of yourself you will still be very efficient and productive, even if not perfect. Some people find it helpful to pick something to do that you don’t care as much about, and practice being not perfect at it. I’m rooting for you

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