Part of being a (recovering) perfectionist is a fear of getting things wrong.
Big things (like diving head-first off the tallest board in the pool), but also seemingly little things (like eating alone in a restaurant or inventing a story on the spot).⠀ ⠀
Embarrassingly, this last example has paralysed me into inaction for the past 6 years. Ever since my eldest child was old enough to ask for a story that wasn’t in a book, that is. ⠀ ⠀
I get the attraction - we all enjoy a bit of bespoke, it makes us feel special - the problem is, improvisation requires confidence in a logical (and well-received) outcome, as well as spontaneous trust in your own creative abilities. And there are no second chances nor opportunities to revise, hone or improve output - essential pre-requisites for any self-respecting perfectionist. ⠀ ⠀
So usually when asked to improvise, I call in the support team. Even when it’s an audience of one, aged 6. How bad could it really be? I’m too scared to find out. “That’s what daddy does, let’s ask him. Mummy reads books”, I say sheepishly. ⠀
But last week something stopped me. I said yes. Feel the fear and do it anyway and all that. ⠀ ⠀
And, though I say it myself, I rocked! I surprised myself and delighted my daughter. ⠀ ⠀
Probably just as much because I had made the effort to overcome a secret block that she probably already knew I was avoiding (kids know everything) than because of the content itself. I even went for a trilogy (I was on a roll). ⠀ ⠀
We encountered a small self-confidence hiccup yesterday when creative proceedings were halted by the audience who asked for more “ excitement” in the story: the fear crept back in, the throat went dry, the shoulders hunched. ⠀ ⠀
But I wasn’t deterred. I took it like a true BoboMama and got back on the wagon. The story ended on a cliff-hanger and I think this little fear may just have been crossed off the list...⠀ ⠀
To all the recovering perfectionists out there, what really scares you? And could you conceive of pushing yourself past it? Just for a laugh? To see what would happen? If I can do it, YOU CAN. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! ⠀
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