Do you like the result of whatever you do to be precise? Is it important what you do to be in a particular way? Guess what… I can relate to that.
Ever since I can remember there has been an urgency to have stuff this way – or that way. As long as it is the right way. Not a millimetre to the left. Or the right. It needs to be… perfect! Many people in the world make fun of OCD. They criticise those to hell and beyond for wanting an object, a drawn line or dot to be exactly there. Not some place else, just… there! This has obviously spilled into my working life and have many times played havoc in my career. There are not many bosses around that has a ‘flare’ for OCD. In fact, according to an article by Jeff Haden ‘Steve Jobs, and Why Perfection Might Be Your Worst Enemy’ ‘… you would never want a perfectionist as your boss…unless you too suffered from the same obsession’.
The read is a great eye opener to those that strive to perfection in every step they take every day. And believe me I know what it is like to only want to take a step if it is perfect. For a very long time doing anything perfect was the only way forward. It was the only way (I thought) I knew. Still to this day not many people will point out that there is no need to ‘make more changes, Evan’ – for whatever reason they keep stum. How wrong of them. Perhaps, in their defence, they don’t know how to handle OCD within people.
I am not saying that I made a 180 degree turn and now do the complete opposite of perfection – not at all. Luckily as time went by (and still does) I am coming to terms with the urgency, the need, the strive and the stress it can cause to create / deliver all and everything perfectly. It doesn’t mean I have given up on aiming very high. It doesn’t mean I deliver work to a standard of only a fraction of before. Definitely not. I actually now work harder than ever before. Apart from wanting to show and deliver to the client a great piece of work I also deal with that demon inside that constantly tells me to ‘do better. do it again. that’s not good enough. start over’…
To reach a state within myself where I am able to control the demands I put on myself is one of life’s best moments. It actually makes me feel more confident than before. It’s a tough lesson to learn, however what a great lesson! I can’t say ‘there is always tomorrow to do it again’ because there may not be a tomorrow. What is true is that I’ve given it my best shot – for now. That, however, is perfection in itself.
What could happen tomorrow or the next day is that there maybe something new that will look and work better than what I did today. For instance, creating a website today will most certainly have the need to be changed in a week, a month or 6 months down the line. So the time will come to improve and perhaps even better what I did before. The world we live in evolve all the time and as long as I keep up with evolution it will work perfectly for me.
All I can say is take time out to address the OCD in your life if you have it. Understand what it is, why it is there and most of all, tackle it head on. I believe the OCD-demon needs to be there to keep me striving for more – however perfection is not the be and end all of life. It only keeps me going.