As women, it seems as though we all have a dash of type A in our personality, no matter who we are. As ambitious women, we have a little more than a dash! A high achiever woman most likely goes into overdrive mode in everything she undertakes. Perfection is something that sits at the back of our mind often disguised as “seeking progress” and “ambition”. Really, the desire for perfection eats away at productivity, progress and presence in the very areas in which we strive to be perfect.
Allow me to give you a very personal example. You may or may not relate directly but I think it demonstrates what that drive for perfection can really do to our lives, personally and professionally. Growing up, I absolutely had that ambitious, type A aspect of my personality that helps push me forward in a lot of ways. However, it didn’t stop at a healthy place. My strive for perfection and absolute control over my circumstance lead to the development of anorexia and bulimia during my late teen years. This grew to become a part of my life well into my early twenties. No matter where I went and how I progressed in other areas of my life, it followed me. It followed me to college and in my intimate life where the struggle with that duality reached a peak.
On the outside, I was a high-achieving, beautifully put together ambitious young woman. But in this other secret life of mine that only I existed in, I was desperate for control and instead was controlled by my mental dis-ease. The duality had become common place for me. No one outside suspected I was anything but perfection but I was far from my truth.
It wasn’t until I could no longer lie to the man in my life that I allowed myself to open this intimate and shameful part of me to someone else who offered non-judgemental support. I had always feared that cracking the “perfection” mask, and showing the side of my vulnerability I kept well hidden, would not be accepted. Once I let someone past that mask of perfection, I was able to put myself in the mental place to seek help and successfully recover my truth, my power.
Of course being a high performance woman with a high level of expectation for myself, I transitioned my obsessive disposition into healthy eating, working out and self awareness development which eventually evolved to a healthy, happy mental space of balance.
Looking back, this wasn’t only a lesson for me in mental health, eating, taking care of my body, or body image. This was a lesson in being an ambitious woman and my relationship with perfection, control and achievement. I had to start the journey on redefining what meaning I attach to perfection, how I allow the illusion of control to lead my life and how achievement takes away from my sense of identity…from simply being me. Recovery from anything is really a chance for redefining, and getting closer to one’s truth… What I did not know is that this process is a lifetime long path!
As ambitious women we want to thrive. We want to be happy, on top of it, and comfortably fulfilled in our success. But that drive for perfection robs us of that. We end up destroying our ability to have the very things were striving for. By striving for perfection, I was destroying my ability to achieve greatness and happiness in other areas.
We want it all. And to have it all, we need to continuously redefine what perfection, success, and achievement mean to us and how they fit into our lives in a healthy way. If you feel exhausted, burnt out and living a double life, it’s time to check whether you’re sabotaging yourself from real progress towards the clarity and balance you want. Now, it’s my passion to help other women strike their harmony, experience true progress, redefine success, and take responsibility for creating the joy they aspire to live daily. Choose you, and dare to be more within so you can generate even more performance on the outside. Join me and other ambitious women making real life changes as a part of the Radiance Tribe.