For those of you who have been hanging around here for a bunch of years, you know that I identify as a recovering perfectionist and am an advocate for rest. I have made major changes in my life in the last 7+ years and now I help clients who are in the same boat I was (trying to succeed, but feeling burnt out) make the same changes.
Here’s the rub – there’s only so far we can go for ourselves. Yes, I can teach you how to let go of perfectionist tendencies, we can shift how you view rest, we can redefine success…but when you are a fish swimming in the water of a system that wasn’t defined for you, there’s only so far you can go on your own.
As I dig more and more into perfectionism, burnout, the cult of busy-ness in the US, I learn that we are working in systems that were designed to function exactly as they are. To be blunt, they were designed for white men who had wives at home to take care of everything else so that they could work long hours when needed.
Now the workforce is much more diverse across the gender spectrum; yet the system hasn’t changed. We’re ALL still expected to work more, faster, harder. There’s no shift to support single parents, dual working parent households, etc.
Not surprisingly, women and women identifying folk, get the short end of the stick. We find ourselves chasing unrealistic expectations of being able to be as successful as a man and show up at every PTA, music and sporting event.
It’s simply not possible to do all-the-things that the system tells us we “should” do.
So, at a certain point, the individual has to examine the system. I wish I was here to tell you that I have answers and I’ve figured out how to change it. Not yet, anyway, but what I do have is hope. Hope that as we continue to learn together and improve our collective consciousness, that the system will shift. What I’ve seen is that companies are embracing new ways of working due to the pandemic. These ways are long overdue and are practices that I’ve been an advocate of for years. Let’s all – collectively – abandon the idea that your professional value is based on how much time you put in. Let’s shift it to what you create. Stop expecting people to be in front of a screen for 14 hours a day when they can do better work in half the time.
Take yourself as far as you can…and then keep finding the like-minded folks around you who want to shift the system. When we work together, we change work.