Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of participating in an IG Takeover on the Australian Cake Decorating Network Page.
Amongst sharing cake tips and business advice on Stories, I started chatting with a few lovely cake decorators via DM.
And something interesting came up…
...the word ‘perfection’.
‘It’s not perfect…’.
‘I’m nowhere near being perfect, I’m just learning’.
‘Urgh, I hate looking at it, I made a mistake - the flowers aren’t straight and…’
Any of those sentences sound familiar?
So many of us let ‘perfectionism’ run the show in our head.
We have HUGE expectations of ourselves (that we’d never expect from others) and we always feel that we need to “get things right”.
Perfectionism is just like a hamster wheel…
...you keep going and going...and going!...but we never seem to reach it (perfection) or ever feel accomplished, because we’re constantly criticising our cake skills and thinking of what we could be doing better. Nothing we do is ever good enough.
It’s sad really...because we can never fully appreciate our amazing successes, our wonderful skill set or fully accept compliments, because we’re stuck in that unhealthy ‘perfectionism’ head space.
Growing up, I was a self-proclaimed perfectionist. I was always the last person to finish a task in class (I was taking my time to “get things right”) and also struggled to start school projects (good old procrastination) in fear of failing to be perfect.
I was always self-critiquing (reality: self-hating) and it carried over into my adult years. It’s taken me a long time to ‘let go’ of perfectionism in my daily life and my cake decorating work. Admittedly, it’s still something I struggle with regularly.
But here’s the most important thing I’ve learnt during my time: perfectionism is a trap. It’s unreachable.
I’ve learnt that to overcome ‘perfectionism’, you need to start with changing your mindset and learning self acceptance in order to let go.
Beating perfectionism is a long journey, but here’s three tips that have helped me fight against my perfectionist mindset:
Learn self acceptance:
Appreciate that everyone on this earth is on a journey. As a cake decorator, we are always learning new skills and growing with every cake that we create.
Every time you decorate a cake, realise that you are always on a journey of growth and appreciate your knowledge and skill set in that moment.
Interrupt your self-critical thought pattern with more realistic and helpful statements.
“Nobody is perfect, all I can do is my best”
“Just because I make a mistake, doesn’t mean I’m stupid or a failure. I’m human and everyone makes mistakes.”
It sounds silly to say this to yourself, but it actually works!
Look at the big picture
Don’t get bogged down in the tiny cake details (I am REALLLYY guilty of this). Ask yourself:
- Does it really matter? Will it still matter tomorrow or next week?
- What’s the worst that can happen?
On my journey to overcome perfectionism, I’ve come to realise that perfection in cake decorating is actually kinda boring.
I love those little “imperfections” in a cake, because it builds interest, emotion and character. People can connect with imperfections and that’s EXACTLY what we want.
Cake decorating is more than just about making a cake look pretty, it’s about connecting with others and telling a story.
Do you suffer from that perfectionism head space? Let’s chat in the comments.