Potbellied Pigs and Perfectionism

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Potbellied Pig Baby

Many years ago I wanted to create a newsletter that would help people with their “perfectionism” problem. I’ve always been a “perfectionist” and it is not a fun way to live sometimes. It seemed to be a continuous struggle, so I thought I would start a newsletter to help people who were experiencing the same issues. Needless to say, my newsletter never got off the ground.

Yesterday my life long friend and I were talking about falling into the perfectionism trap, so I thought it would be an interesting post and it would be fun to convey a story that made me realize “I had issues.”

I know this sounds strange but I created a registry and education potbellied pig organization called NCOPP in 1990. It stood for National Committees On Potbellied Pigs.  It is a non-profit organization which I founded and developed from nothing into a robust entity for 6 years. In time it became a dying breed due to the fact that pigs can have 10 to 14 or more piglets per litter. Its demise had everything to do with supply and demand. I would advise anyone starting a new business to not let emotion cloud the realistic picture of the business you are pursuing. Do a lot of research prior to developing a business plan and take the time to do serious research in future projections.

This article is not about potbellied pigs. It’s about perfectionism. One objective of our organization was to register potbellied pigs and educate owners to support the breed. This was in the 1990’s, so the internet was barely getting off the ground. In fact, Microsoft windows had just made its debut.

One service our organization provided was mailing out information or questions about potbellied pigs. For example, let’s say, clipping potbellied pig nails, or maybe traveling with your piggy. One of my jobs was to provide the information requested by mail (not email, but snail mail).  I fulfilled requests by mailing back articles pertaining to the requested information. This is when the perfectionism part comes in.

I would get a request in the mail, pull one or two articles pertaining to their request, and instead of mailing the information out, I would set the articles on an 8 x 10 yellow envelope on my “action” counter. I would not mail it immediately thinking, “My response isn’t perfect enough. I’ll wait to be sure I’m sending the right material.” A couple of days would pass, and then I would realize I had not followed through to get the information to the member. I would end up mailing out the original articles that I could have mailed out the first day of the request.

Perfectionism

One day, a week had passed and I noticed I had not mailed out an information request. I felt a little bit of a panic and concluded that this isn’t working. My “perfectionism” was disrupting my work! It was at that moment I realized that this issue was a possible problem. After that experience, I had to discipline myself into taking immediate action the day I received a request and mailing out material the day it was received, regardless if it wasn’t “perfect.” At least they got the information in a timely manner.

Another example of this condition was the way I handled faxes during that time. A return or request fax would be delayed until I typed out a beautiful cover letter to accompany the memo. Again, this created a delay and I had to break down and “fill out the cover letter by hand  just to get it out on time!”

Since then, I’ve improved tremendously and I don’t get hung up on being perfect. Not being perfect makes us unique and human.

perfection-its-okay-not-to-be-perfect

I hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends! In fact I’d love to connect with YOU! To follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, just click on my Social Media Icons on my sidebar :)

Raena_Lynn

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20 thoughts on “Potbellied Pigs and Perfectionism

  1. Great story Raena. It demonstrates how perfectionism can effect our productivity. I have been guilty of perfectionism in a lot of my tasks as well and this article has really driven home the point of how self-sabotaging perfectionism can be. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Wendy

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Wendy,
      I totally agree! Do we ever get over it??? It takes a lot of work to break through and lighten up a little bit. This morning a fellow friend pointed out that I could move forward with a particular task. I wasn’t moving forward because “I had to get it ready before launching.” The truth is it doesn’t matter if it’s “ready.” It’s better to just get it out there and tweek as you go along. That has been a new concept for me, but I took the initiative and did it! It feels really good:)

      Now that I think about it, my “perfectionist” newsletter never got off the ground because it wasn’t “perfect.”

  2. Hi Raena,
    What an interesting story…
    I don’t suffer from perfectionism myself – but I do suffer from procrastination and mind change – both are debilitating when it comes to taking a business forward.
    Goes to show that we need to have a balance in our lives and in our approaches to business. I think this shows the benefits of partnership or mastermind groups – teams seem to overcome individual personality disorders. LOL..
    do you agree?

    Thanks for another great post

    Peter

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Peter,
      I completely agree that our mastermind help us with whatever we have to deal with as we pursue our businesses. I would also include our tribes and communities as well. Let’s face it, everybody has some practice they need to improve or correct. I think the key is awareness and paying attention to behaviours which are causing snags, whether it is perfectionism or procrastination or some other weird condition

      It certainly helps having support from our teams and team members can serve in the all important role of being success models. As we develop our relationships, it gives us the opportunity to analyze how we handle our business. For example, a successful coach may be engaged in an efficient way to market, we can model after those practices, therefore leading us closer to accomplishing our business goals.

  3. Dena-Lynn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Raena,

    I relate so well to your struggle with perfectionism and how it can interfere with taking action because I also struggled with that, a lot. Although I’m not completely over it – I found my need for perfectionism diminishing when I began to feel comfortable and happy with ALL of me. I would say that self acceptance is the key to unlocking our ability to take action on the dreams that we conceive.

    Dena

  4. Andy Nathan
    Twitter:
    says:

    Not being perfect is sometimes harder than being perfect, because our instincts tell us to do the opposite.

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Andy,
      Welcome to my site. I had to think about that one for a minute. Our instincts are truly difficult to ward off, but sometimes we must.

  5. Allegra Sinclair says:

    Hi Raena,
    Great lesson about how we are depriving ourselves and the world of what we can offer because we’re worried it’s not perfect. I definitely don’t believe that we should give people low-quality work but sometimes it’s ok to give them something fast and/or ‘good enough’. I don’t think we ever get over wanting things to be as close to perfect as we can get them and that’s ok. And if we decide later when we have time to revise something, we can always issue an update, right? Project 2.0! Have a great week, Allegra

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Allegra,
      Welcome to my site. I really like your idea that it is okay to get something out and if we decide later when we have time, we can always issue an update. Project 2.0 haha I do want you guys and gals know that when I was doing these weird things, it was a while ago and “I’m over it!” Well maybe I should say almost over it, because I could tell you to check out my Facebook Fan Page, but today I unpublished it because I am revising it this week to get ready for it’s launch! Is that the “P” word creeping in? It isn’t really because I allowed it to hang out in cyberspace incomplete. I’ll let everyone knows that it will be ready to go before the end of this week. There. That gives me a deadline to “Take action, get it done!” (Christine’s post). See you around Allegra!

  6. Hi Raena ~ I can relate (and wrote a post not too long ago about Excellence vs. Perfection, which was along a similar line of thinking), and know from personal experience that it is ALWAYS best to immediately TAKE ACTION and not wait around for perfection…lol! I have seen myself in the same situation as you in my past, and when I realize that I’ve delayed taking some sort of action (usually when it involves someone else requesting something), I wonder why I hesitated…and then of course feeling bad that I delayed in getting info to someone…how do I explain that?! “Take action, get it done!”, that is pretty much my saying these day…and you know what, it works 😉 Great post topic ~ appreciate you having shared! Christine

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Christine,
      Thank you for returning to my site. I will visit your site and find that post because I am very interested in reading your material. It sure seems that “perfectionism” is something that is quite common in this business. “Take action, get it done!” is one concept I have been forced to learn very quickly in this business. I am pleasantly surprised of the response of this article. It shows that perfectionism is a common condition for a lot of us in network marketing! Appreciation tag!

  7. Raena Lynn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks Jamie, you made a very good point. Perfectionism=Procrastination
    This is the first time I’ve seen your smiling face at my blog. Welcome and I hope you enjoyed your time here.
    Raena Lynn

  8. Perfectionism, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear failure; I guess they all bed down together and make procrastination the enemy instead of tackling what the issue really is. Procrastination is really just a symptom of other things. I don’t think perfectionism is my problem I think I am currently tackling my fears of success. Stepping into the role and the life I want for myself is a tough one. We will all get there, if not in this life, maybe the next one. Interesting how life hands us lessons, sometimes through pot-bellied pigs.

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Welcome to my site. You are right. Procrastination is just a symptom of perfectionism. It really is a pain to deal with. I have to respond to what you said about fear of success. I think the fact that you are aware of it is already moving forward to getting over it. What is it that some people feel they don’t deserve to enjoy the finer things in life? Why is it so tough for some people and it’s open arms for others? I believe that the more we immerse ourselves around successful positive people we mentally open our hearts and our minds to success. It’s about having confidence and believing you are a valuable person just as much as anyone else! If I didn’t see your picture and fan page, I would have never guessed that you are tackling fears of success. I can totally relate because I think yesterday I had a paradigm shift and realized I along with any person in the world deserve whatever we pursue. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Curt Bizelli says:

    Hi Raena,

    Thanks for being so open about your experiences. I’m sure somebody has been truly touched by this. I love your point about doing due diligence research before starting a company including the projection outcome. I’m a PR man of trends so this task really tickles my fancy.

    Anyway, I used to be not only a perfectionist, but completely obsessive compulsive at times. We won’t go into all of that, but I’ll just say I can understand your pain. Its freedom when we realize we don’t have to be perfect. God loves us just the way we are and that is why He sent His son Jesus to take our place on the cross so that we could have everlasting life.

    I’m sure you’re going to do great in business. Its a pleasure meeting you through TSA. God’s Blessings Are Always Best, Curt aka CBiz

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Curt,
      I really appreciate your sensitivity. I wouldn’t describe it as “pain” but more of an annoyance. Truthfully I have come a long way from the “old days.” I think just the fact of being aware of our shortcomings helps us to seek relief. I agree that I have retained much more freedom once I realized that we do not have to be perfect in the eyes of God.

      I have to learned to turn it around. For example, if I am working on a project and I’m “into” it and super focused, then I blame it on ADD (which I have but I have learned to live with it and use the good stuff of having it), and re-label and call it a positive term, “Hyperfocus.” Now that is a powerful place to be!

  10. Hi Raena,
    I can just imagine what that was like trying to get your return fax just right! Heavens, I have done the same. I think we all have a little of that. When I got married I had ordered the perfect wedding cake. It had to be just so. Little did I know the caterer did not plan correctly on baking it and well, just as we were going to cut the “ritual” piece of cake, it caved in!I learned that no matter how perfect you try to be, life steps in to remind you there’s no such thing. 🙂

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Lesly,
      It’s nice to see your smiling face..haha You make such a great point about trying to be perfect. When we try too hard it always seems to backfire. I’m so sorry that happened on your special day. Obviously it is something you won’t forget:( It reminds me of a wedding I attended years ago. The couple had one of those very large bridge cakes. Half way through dinner, the entire cake collapsed! Everyone felt so bad for them. The cake was 4 feet on each side totaling 8 feet long! They too tried to make it “perfect.” What is the most important is that they are still married!

  11. Pearly Quah says:

    Hi Raena,
    I read your post with great interest and I have to compliment you for putting up a great post to share with us your experience 🙂

    The word “perfectionist” remind me of the first time when I started writing a blog post. I didn’t even dare to publish it and seeking for help from online friends to correct it for me. I am very fortunate to have good friends to encourage me to just publish it ! That kind of encouragement is actually a great way to conquer my fear. Another reason I am able to continue writing is the lovely people from TSA who had given me their nice comments which I have to admit has helped me in building my confidence 🙂

    If I looked back, I would also say I was procrastinating at that time ! So, I made the right choice for thinking right towards my friends 🙂 Isn’t this powerful, Raena ? However, I am still learning and would love to come back to visit your blog again. Too many great posts to read !

    So, thank you for sharing, Raena.

    Cheers
    Pearly

    1. Raena Lynn
      Twitter:
      says:

      Hi Pearly,

      Thanks for visiting my page. I’m starting to get the feeling that a lot of us out there are closet “perfectionists.” This business forces us to bust out and go for it without fear! At least that is what it has done for me. I can empathize. I did the same thing. I was so afraid to hit that publish button, but look at us now! We are blogging to our hearts content. I visited your blog today and it is so nicely done…congratulations. You should be proud and I know you are:)

      I also agree that TSA has been a tremendous help for getting over whatever our problem is such as “fear of failure” or “fear of success.” I remember we connected early on. The frustration is that there are so many new friends and limited time, but as we mature in our businesses, we will shed the unimportant time wasters and focus on what guides us to reaching our goals. It is going to be fun to watch our friends grow and become who they are meant to be.

      Raena Lynn

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