In the world of carefully curated Instagrams, reality TV shows, and catchy hashtags, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of perfection. We all want it all. Every girl boss out there wants to show how they can handle their busy schedule, turn in perfect work, and keep up the perfect persona on social media along the way. 

While this is great motivation to some and shows how many successful women there are out there, it can also lead to perfection becoming the ultimate goal for us. 

It can turn the ideas of “working hard” and “doing your best” to “we must always be the best.” 

These are expectations that we all put on ourselves, and it’s something that we all need to work on consciously. As we pull out our hair about why we can’t fix every single problem and handle being in charge of every issue, we need to remind ourselves that, while natural, these feelings can actually hurt our success. 

The time we spend worrying about one tiny detail, could be spent working on another assignment or another project. 

It’s natural to get second place and wish for first.

It’s natural to be told we did “good” and wish we had been told we’d done “great.”

And it’s natural to want to impress people with how hard we work.

But at what cost?

If we beat ourselves up so much about not being the best at it all, how can we enjoy the successes we currently have? Maybe we didn’t get first, but we have a shiny second place trophy that we earned. Maybe we didn’t get a perfect grade on our essay, but we still got a good grade that can always be improved on the next one. 

When our goal is perfection, we never get to celebrate the accomplishments we’ve had. We should be living in the moment, enjoying these small successes, and embracing how much we’ve progressed so far.

Nothing in this world will ever be perfect. Every essay will inevitably have one mistake, every project will have one road bump to overcome, and every work day will have a to-do list box left unchecked. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be working to ensure we can catch major mistakes and complete important tasks. It means that we shouldn’t put unrealistic expectations on ourselves because it can have consequences. 

Perfection is not only an impossible goal, it’s an unhealthy one. The need to succeed as fast as possible, the need to be the best at everything, and the need to always impress can lead to dangerous mental health problems. Putting this kind of stress on ourselves can affect other aspects of our life. Stress can cause chest pain, sleep problems, and even angry outbursts.

Putting our emphasis on being perfect not only harms ourselves, but it can be a negative example to other future female leaders that are looking towards us as a role models. Skipping multiple meals to get the small details on a project just right is unhealthy for any person, and giving young girls the idea that that is what successful people do only continues a dangerous cycle. 

It is understandable that we all want to put out best work forward, but this does not mean that we should be putting our mental, emotional, and physical health lower on out priority list. 

Stormi R