Striving for Perfection Can Keep Women from Having it All

NAPW Admin Career, Celebrate Women 0 Comments

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Women today know that we can have it all – our dream job, a happy family, and even fulfilling hobbies and recreation. What we seem to be forgetting is that something has to give. That doesn’t mean you have to choose between career, family, hobbies, and recreation. It does mean, however, if you are going to have it all, you need to let go of the myth of perfection.

Perfection is a Myth

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, perfection is the “freedom from fault or defect.” While that sounds great on the surface, nothing can live up to this ideal. When the myth of perfection combines with the concept of having it all, women find themselves in an impossible bind. As women, we expect ourselves to climb the corporate ladder and exceed all our quarterly goals, while at the same time maintaining a spotless home and raising impeccable children. Nothing about life is truly spotless or impeccable. All too often we believe if we don’t do something perfectly, we have failed in the attempt. But imperfection is a mark of authenticity on works of art and antiques. It’s time to reframe imperfection, not as proof of failure, but as a mark of authenticity in your life.

Perfection is the Enemy of ‘Good Enough’

If you are attached to the idea of perfection, you will never finish anything. Embrace the concept of ‘good enough’ instead. Knowing that something is good enough means you acknowledge that you are a human being with a full life and many responsibilities. Remember, every bestselling author uses an editor. At some point during the writing process, the author decides what she has written is ‘good enough’ to move on to the next thing. We all have a different yardstick to measure what it means for something to be good enough. Every woman has different thresholds. If your idea of achieving perfection at home means making a homemade family dinner every night but you’re also regularly staying late at the office to finish work, consider which is the higher priority at the moment and why. Is there an upcoming deadline that is causing the long hours? Give yourself a break from family meals until the deadline and then recommit after it has passed. What if there’s no deadline and it’s a chronic issue? Then you need to either let go of your ideal of daily family dinner or commit to leaving work at a reasonable hour. There were no Copyscape matches found.

Finding the Balance

Achieving a good work-life balance is a juggling act. As with the concept of good enough, everyone’s optimum balance will differ. Telecommuting and flex schedule hours can make it easier to spend more time at home. As a result, many women find working from home to be a great way to help them find work-life balance. On the other hand, working a set schedule in an office can make it easier to leave work at work when the day is done. For some women, keeping work out of the home as much as possible helps them to feel and be more present both at home and in the office. The best way to find balance is to take an unapologetic look at what you want and how you work.

Asking for Help

Reaching out to available resources is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of good time management. It is efficient and smart to outsource when appropriate. This can include hiring a housecleaning service or renegotiating the household responsibilities with your partner if you have one. If you are in a position of management, it can mean letting your employees take on more responsibility. Other professional women are also an invaluable resource. While our lives may vary greatly, we also have a lot of shared experiences. If you are a professional woman struggling to do it all, finding a network of other professional women who have been there and are making it work can be life changing. At the National Association of Professional Women, our goal is to provide networking opportunities, educational tools, and career advice to professional women. We know you truly can have it all and are here to help you get it.