Perfectionists speak #1: Katie Lodge

Last year one of the books that made up the Tom’s Ten series* was a book of interviews on perfectionism. I was interested to hear about other people’s experiences as I’d come to see the big P as a negative in my life, contrary to what many think is a positive quality.

In the end I only used a short amount of the interviews in order to keep the book pint sized and readable. The ones not included were perfect (no pun intended) for their own blog post series. They would keep the conversation going on what perfectionism means to different people and whether it can be a negative and a positive, or one or the other.


Ultimately I wanted to publish something that many different people could relate to and interact with. So my guests are women, men, mothers, fathers, business owners and a myriad of other labels. The labels aren’t important, but their diverse experience is. There is a commonality between all of them and that is how perfectionism has made them develop into improved versions of themselves, whether it is seen as a good or bad.


I am interested to hear from you if you identify as a perfectionist, or if on reading these interviews think you might be. If you are willing to share your story like my other guests it may well help someone (yourself included) to walk away with a little reassurance that they aren’t alone and can improve their experience of life.

This blog post series will release every other Tuesday alternating with my “Why don’t men talk?” series.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Stay sane, stay healthy.

Tom :)


 

Katie Lodge

@indierose.sydney

@thecreativelodge_


My friend Katie is an accomplished business owner, creative and mum to name just a few. I love her passion for creativity and the depth of care for her family. It is always a pleasure talking with her as we both relate on a self development level. I’m excited to have deep conversations in the year ahead and see how 2022 develops for her.


What area/areas of your life do you experience perfectionism in?


For as long as I can remember, and until fairly recently, I have experienced some form of perfectionism. It has mostly surrounded work - from high school, through college and university - and has continued into my career as an adult.

At school I strived for high grades and put a lot of pressure on myself, convincing myself that I was going to ‘fail’ everything - projects, coursework, exams, etc. I never did. I always got great grades and accolades from my teachers, but still, I would continue to tell myself time and time again that I wasn’t cut out or good enough for whatever the task ahead was. This continued as I went through college and then was a lot more present when I was studying for my degree in architecture at university.


If I really think about it, I can see how it has and probably still continues to show up in other areas.

I have strived to be ‘perfect’ in my appearance and body, not anymore, but absolutely when I was younger. As with many girls and young women, I went through challenges of wanting to be skinnier or prettier, hating my body because it wasn’t perfect. Fortunately, this is no longer an issue for me, but I am constantly aware of it now that I have a young daughter of my own.

How does perfectionism present itself in these areas?


For me, perfectionism shows up a lot of the time as imposter syndrome. That feeling of being a fraud and thinking that at any moment someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that I’ve been found out and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. The feeling that somehow I have ‘winged’ my way through life to get this job/position/project. It’s the sense that I’m not quite good enough. And it’s the never-ending longing for validation which I can only gain externally through peers or family and friends, or by getting more ‘qualified’.


I’ve struggled with it for a long time and I am continuously working on my own personal development to overcome this. I believe a lot comes down to confidence. A lot of people who know me are surprised at the thought that I might lack confidence because to the outside world I am incredibly confident - an extrovert at times even - but confidence and being outgoing are two different things, often mistaken or blurred somewhat.


I’m also an all or nothing kind of person which is a definite trait of a perfectionist. Here are just a couple of examples of how I roll in that respect:

  • Started a 12-week introduction to weight training > ended up committing a year and a half to train and compete in a bodybuilding competition

  • Deciding I should cut down on drinking alcohol > completely giving it up altogether

  • Thinking that 2-3 coffees a day were too much > stopped all forms of caffeine completely

  • Getting invited to a friends place for nibbles > made all the things to take

  • Starting a course > feeling the need to be top of the class

Thinking of these areas of your life how would you say perfectionism has impacted them?

I think in many ways my perfectionism has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it has provided fuel to the fire and acted as a driving force behind much of my motivation. I am an incredibly driven person and always up for trying new things and giving them a go. But…. I often get frustrated with myself if I don’t pick it up straight away.


The other way perfectionism shows up in my life is procrastination (which is a bit of a curse i suppose). If i don't believe that i will do something perfectly, I will often wait for the ‘right time’ or try and get more qualified or just watch that one extra training, or do that one bit of extra research, all the while putting off doing the thing that i should be doing!


It suffocates your ability to grow and truly believe in and back yourself.



Has it impacted other areas of your life and if so how?

  • Focusing on work and my career = less focus on being a mum

  • Focusing on my appearance = less time as I spent longer getting ready

  • Focusing on my weight/diet = disordered relationship with food

  • Feeling like i wasn’t a good mum = throwing myself into work and avoiding ‘home/mum life’

  • Focusing on trying to keep a perfectly clean and tidy home = frustrations about my daughter making a mess to play


Where do you think your perfectionism comes from?


  • Not wanting to fail

  • Not wanting to let people (or myself) down

  • Pride

  • Trying to please my parents (dad in particular)


What have you tried to manage your perfectionism?


  • Life coaching - spiral modality with chakra clearing

  • NLP and Timeline therapy

  • Breathwork and meditation

  • Journaling

 

Thank you for taking the time to read, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

If you'd like to find out more about my book Perfectionism: living with perfectionism or any of the other books I've written just follow the link:

Tom :)