As if on cue, I managed to completely forget to make a post yesterday – the day after I posted about struggling to find the urge to write. I wasn’t like I lacked the motivation, although 10 hours of work certainly didn’t help, I just simply forgot.
If I was a few years younger, this mistake would have been upsetting. I’m a perfectionist and even failing on 1 day out of 40 would have made this whole experience feel like a failure. I pride myself in staying focused and doing the work the right way. Mistakes have never been an option for me.
Recently, however, I’ve realized that perfectionism is not a healthy way to live. Humans miss deadlines. We show up late to meetings. We get B’s and *gasp* C’s on our assignments. We don’t win games that we probably should have. We miss targets all the time. Falling short of 100% doesn’t make me a failure: it makes me human.
Being an Enneagram 3, my self-image is really high. I often imagine myself winning the big game or delivering a big speech in front of millions of people. Glory and fame play a big role in my decision making, as difficult as that has been for me to admit. I often think I could have done that thing better than the person who actually did it. I think I’m better than others and that is why my accomplishments have to reflect that. Losing bruises my ego more than anything else.
I need to make mistakes. I need to show up late from time to time. I need to miss a day of writing. Things like that remind me that I am no better than anyone else. It means that I need grace and mercy. I can’t just lift myself up by my bootstraps and live a solo life. Failure allows me to see where I actually stand in life and break away from my perception of it. Failure gives me the chance to reassess and start over in reality, not fantasy.
Without failure, yesterday’s post would have been some middling slosh about voting or Coronavirus or whatever. Instead, I got to write this. I had a chance to be clear and honest about where I currently stand in life. I actually had a chance to think. Failure makes me better. I’ll try to make sure this never happens again.