Show Notes

Episode 68: What’s Wrong with Perfectionism?

Why is that we’re so passionate about helping you let go of perfectionism? In this episode Shannon and Janine talk about how perfectionism can get in the way of happiness–and how striving for good enough can lead to a happier existence.

Discussion topics include:

  • Janine’s impromptu visit to Chicago to see the musical Hamilton
  • Our working definition of perfectionism: Spending more time on something than it deserves
  • The problem with the effort of it takes to go from good enough to perfect
  • Shannon’s perfect week as an athlete (and how it’s not something to strive for)
  • The problem with perfectionism: The emotions that go along with not being able to achieve what you perceive as perfection
  • A couple of readings from a great article called The Case for Being Good Enough (link below)
  • How people who tend toward perfectionism let “failures” affect their self worth
  • Shannon’s 15-year journey (actually longer!) away from perfectionism
  • How now is the perfect time for Shannon to be taking a cartooning class (along with some of the lessons about perfectionism the class is teaching her)
  • The evolution in just a week of Shannon’s cartoons from sketchy circles to animals
  • How the least perfect of Shannon’s cartoon teddy bears is actually the most appealing one
  • How inevitable imperfections can enliven things (like cartoons and hand-lettered postcards)
  • Janine’s five-piece-at-a-time jigsaw-puzzle strategy



Here are a few of the imperfect teddy bears Shannon is drawing in her cartooning course.

And, an imperfect video of Shannon drawing imperfect dogs.

Here’s an example of one of Janine’s postcards to voters. There are hand-lettered elements that indicate some effort was taken but it’s no means perfect!


And, in case you’re interested, here’s the puzzle Janine finished five pieces at a time:


1 thought on “Episode 68: What’s Wrong with Perfectionism?”

  1. I think for a lot of us our need to be perfect stems from childhood expectations — either those put on us or those we put on ourselves. I remember an exercise that a counselor had me do one time to get down to the reason why I was doing something. She had me use Word to create a table with two cells in it: one a long one on the left, and one a short one on the right. She had me write a statement about myself in the left-hand column and then — as fast as I could type — write “Why?” in the second column and tab out of that cell into the next row. I answered that question and then tabbed over and wrote “Why?” again. I kept adding rows and why’s until I got down to a core statement rooted in my youth which made me finally say, “Oh, Jesus” instead of “Why.” It could be a useful exercise for discovering why we put this mantle of perfectionism on ourselves.

    Love the teddy bears and dogs, Shannon. And that hippo is stupid-cute!

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