If you or your child grapples with perfectionism, I have an interesting story from my childhood that might shed some light on this struggle.

Back in the day, when I was just a kid, my father, who was an artist himself, insisted that I sketch and draw with ink rather than a pencil. Now, whether this was his way of imparting a valuable lesson or simply a touch of parental dickery, I couldn’t tell you. Pen and ink were his preferred artistic tools, and he wanted me to embrace them as well.

Perfection Can Be Scary

What I took away from those ink-filled childhood hours was a lesson that seemed daunting and, yes, a little scary. Drawing with ink, or any medium that doesn’t allow for erasures and corrections, can be quite unnerving. After all, one slip of the hand and your entire creation could be marred beyond repair.

Fast forward to my adult years, and I find myself looking at that experience through a different lens—one filled with valuable wisdom. Drawing with ink, I’ve come to realise, not only heightens the stakes but also compels you to grapple with your imperfections head-on.

Embrace the mistakes

When you make a mistake in the world of ink, you can’t just hit the “undo” button; you must find a way to incorporate that mistake into your ultimate piece. As an artist, it grants you an intriguing opportunity. You can either pass it off as a deliberate artistic choice, weaving it into the fabric of your creation, or you can openly acknowledge the error. 

The latter approach, I’ve discovered, holds its own charm. When you present your work to the world, you could certainly admit your slip-ups and inadvertently project a lack of confidence. Or, you could take control of the story, acknowledge those mistakes, and show how they have improved the work.

And, of course, there’s the option to stay silent, allowing the final piece to speak for itself, confident in its own unique imperfections. Who’s going to know?

Parenting a perfectionist

When supporting an budding artist or facing perfectionism, remember that mistakes can lead to masterpieces. Embrace them, use them to your advantage, and let them add depth and character to your creative journey. After all, perfection may be a destination, but the journey filled with detours and surprises is where true artistry often thrives.

Encourage your kids to make mistakes, embrace them and celebrate them. After all, the only way we truly learn is by making mistakes, readjusting and trying again.

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Another perspective on this is how we handle tasks like recording videos for social media. This is something that many small business owners end up fixating over and then not getting anything done, thanks to procrastination.

It’s a realm where it’s incredibly easy to make mistakes, and the temptation to hit that “delete” button after a blunder is often overpowering. Trust me, I’ve been there – the second, third, and fourth takes can end up being just as exasperating as that initial flub!

If you find yourself getting hung up on this, consider implementing a simple yet powerful rule: the one-take rule. Much like our earlier analogy of drawing with ink, it’s about embracing the imperfections. When you goof up, instead of scrapping the whole recording, roll with it. Own your mistake! 

What might seem like a disastrous slip-up can often turn into a unique and engaging moment in your video. It humanises you, making you relatable to your audience. Plus, it saves you an incredible amount of time, especially if you’re in the groove of batch-creating content. (We have a whole workshop on this topic in the Wonder Mom Success Club)

Consider this: a small mistake could mean having only five videos or ending up with twenty unique ones.

Embrace the bloopers

So, don’t be too hard on yourself in the pursuit of perfection in your online presence. Embrace the bloopers, acknowledge the blunders, and weave them into your content. The authenticity that comes from owning your mistakes can be far more appealing and relatable than a seemingly flawless facade. After all, it’s the little imperfections that often make our creations truly remarkable.

When it comes to parenting and perfectionism at home, with a child who struggles with making mistakes, try these:

  • Talking about your own mistakes, what the mistake was, how you fixed or what you did instead of fixing it.
  • Encourage high standards but not perfection. 
  • Praise for effort, not results.
  • Teach them the power of YET. If they are struggling to master a skill, skill takes time, so they haven’t done it ‘yet’ but with practice, they can get there.
  • Teach them how to sketch out or draft something before they commit to it.
  • Also, encourage to use the one-take rule and talk about when each system (draft or one-take) is appropriate to use.
  • Ask for their feedback or help when you have to fix a mistake. (Modelling the behaviour for them).
  • Talk about having a growth mindset and how learning from mistakes will help them improve.

If you are a struggling perfectionist, try using them on yourself!

Hanging on to the belief that everything has to be perfect will keep you in a state of paralysis and stop you from moving forward. So embrace the mantra “Done is better than perfection” and roll with it!

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