If you identify as a perfectionist it may feel like your world comes crashing down when you screw something up, receive constructive criticism, or fumble through trying something new. You may become so wrapped up in achieving and producing that you lose sight of what a meaningful life looks like for you. If this sounds like you, read on for two fun ways to challenge perfectionism.

Read a Memoir

According to the University of Illinois Counseling Center, Perfectionists tend to perceive others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few errors, emotional stress, and maximum self-confidence. At the same time, perfectionists view their own efforts as unending and forever inadequate.”  

Tough combo, right? Reading memoirs is one of my favorite ways to challenge the assumption that everyone else has it all figured out. Reading other how other people describe their experiences as imperfect humans can:

  1. Normalize making mistakes
  2. Help you reframe how you think about your own flaws and failures 

Here are three of my favorite memoirs that normalize being new, messing up, and growing through the mistakes. Check these out or head to your local library or bookstore to find something that resonates with you. 

 Power Forward: My Presidential Education by Reggie Love 

*The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy

*Lights & Sirens: The Education of a Paramedic by Kevin Grange 

*Trigger warning: These two books contain detailed accounts of medical trauma and emergencies.

Make a Playlist

If you tend to focus on what you achieve and produce it can become easy to lose sight of what else you value. Other than earning gold stars, what makes life feel meaningful for you? Try making a playlist of songs that remind you of what matters most. Here are some of my go-to songs that help me reconnect with my version of a meaningful life:

  • Keep Your Heart Young by Brandi Carlile
  • Bigger Houses by Dan + Shay
  • Ford by Gavin DeGraw
  • Family by Aloe Blacc
  • The Future by Aloe Blacc
  • Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton

Return to your playlist whenever you need to reconnect with your values and continue to add to it over time. Let it evolve with you!

Interested in challenging perfectionism with the support of a therapist? I specialize in helping high-performing adults lean into meaningful, values driven-lives. Schedule a free consultation to see if we are a good match.

This blog post isn’t intended as professional counseling or clinical advice. If you’re in need of support, please consider speaking to a professional to be evaluated.