I didn’t know I was a perfectionist

Deep ✨

Ever since I can remember, I have been a ‘6-type’ of person. In the dutch scholar system, a six is a very average grade, that is just about enough to pass. Sixes-people aren’t outstanding people. They settle for less or are kinda simple. They don’t excel in anything. They’re fine. Content. And probably lazy.

I thought I was lazy

And I always took pride in this identity. As a student, I was fine getting graded a six, because I did very little to pass my classes. I took pride in this six, because I hardly even worked for it and it still worked out. That must’ve meant I was kinda smart right?! I always started studying or working on assignments the night before the deadline. I didn’t even try to start before that moment. I agreed that I was lazy, and I didn’t mind it.

I even felt like people with higher grades were just wasting time. Why work for a nine, if you only need a six to pass? In the special occasion I got a higher grade, I even sighed and said: I worked too hard again. I wanted time for myself, so bothered as little as possible for schoolwork and just made sprints out of my deadlines.

So I took a test

But when I started by fulltime job, I was offered a workshop on changing habits. I wanted to change my lazy procrastination habits and explained the situation to my coach. He asked me if I had ever been tested for performance anxiety. ‘Of course not!’ I replied. I was the opposite of that! I was lazy, cared more for my free time and hobbies than for achieving things and being successful.

Yet he insisted and asked me to take a perfectionism-test. This test didn’t ask me to explain my habits and actions, but analysed my habits and actions to see which fears and cravings were beneath them. The result? I am a hardcore perfectionist. I crave achievement and success. Failure and being average terrifies me. So why did I choose for these things on purpose for so long?

How I covered my fears

Turns out, I tried to cover the fear of being a failure or being average, by purposely showing that behaviour. As long as I didn’t try hard to reach my goals, I didn’t have to conclude that I was failing if I didn’t reach them. If I failed, or performed just average, it wasn’t too hard for me because I never really tried anyway. Moreover, I was applauding myself for not trying and still being somewhat successful!

Of course I wanted the high grades, but I never dared to see what happened if I actually studied for a 10. Being a smart girl has always been my identity, so what would happen if I studied for a 10, but still only got a 7 or 8? I much rather was the girl who was smart for not studying and still getting that 6.

I soon realised that this underachieving was applicable to many more situations in my life. I never set goals for myself or shared them with others, out of fear for not reaching them and having to conclude that I’m a failure. And because I never really tried the hard stuff, I didn’t gain any self-confidence on these matters either. Because if you don’t try, sure you cannot fail – but you cannot succeed either. And you never prove your insecurities wrong.

I learned to try

But I knew that that was no way to live. Deep down, I am not that lazy or average girl, and more important: I do have goals and dreams! So I took one year to actually try for what I wanted. I promised myself to actually write down work for my goals, and also share them with the world.

Within 5 months, I had reached all of the goals I had set for the year. I was flabbergasted, but also really thankful to hear a new voice that was now clear in my head, saying: you knew you could do this all along. You were just too scared.

I remember the moment I was going for my first try at my drivers license. I said to my friend that I was really afraid to fail. She understood, but also reality-checked me and said: Have you ever really tried at something you wanted and failed? And she was right. If I really want something, I always get it. And if I’m scared? I’ll do it scared.

Do it scared

Because being perfect is impossible. Everybody fails at times. And that can be scary, and it can hurt. But being lazy is not an option in this life that has so much to offer. ‘Life starts at the end of your comfort zone’ has been a motto since I took that test. And I challenge everyone reading this to please: face the fears that are holding you back from what you deserve.

Life is too short to be comfortable (or average).

xx Coco

Why the light scares you (and how to step out of the darkness anyway)

Deep ✨

A few days ago, I was reminded that many people are actually more afraid of success than they are of failure. These people often have a victim-mindset, which makes that they’re used to feelings of failure. Their familiarity with failure has formed habits and patterns which actually make their ‘failing life’ (as they see it) comfortable. Taking steps to get out of the dark and walk into the light then seems difficult and terrifying.

To be completely transparent: I was that person. In my late teens and early twenties, I felt like life what throwing sh*t at me all the time. So I decided to accept the darkness and be a victim. But in the long run, that didn’t make me happy and I decided to change.

Are you scared of the light too? Let’s find out.

You choose darkness because it’s easy

When you’re scared of the light, you have probably been living in darkness as long as you can remember. Many people who have a victim-mindset, have learned that the world is out to haunt and hurt them at a very young age. If this is you, you have learned that life happens to you, not for you (or independent of any value judgements about what you deserve).

Because so many sh*t has happened to you, you have learned that you probably deserve to be unhappy, and that you don’t deserve to be successful or fulfilled. You have secretly admitted to going wherever the dark events of life take you, and being the victim has become part of your identity.

But there’s one thing you refuse to see. You’re so stuck in your victim-role play, that you don’t see how other people have been through what you’ve experienced, and got out of it. You don’t see how one or many events that happened to you, are not about who you are, but who or what they are.

And that’s because being passive is easier than being active. Blaming other people or events for what your life has become, is easier than overcoming these people and events. Being pushed around by whatever life throws at you is hard and painful, but since you have become accustomed to it, it’s easier than taking the reins and designing your own future.

Because as long as you’re not acting on it, you can always blame someone or someone else for your failure.

You fear success because it takes effort and responsibility

This takes us to the next reason. If you’re scared of success, you’re probably scared of putting in the effort and taking the responsibility for you life – including the mistakes. If all your life, you’ve been the victim and not the author, you never had to take responsibility for the things that happened to you, or for the person you’ve become.

If there’s parts about your life or personality you don’t like, you can always point the finger. You can always say ‘Well I know I’m not smart, but I didn’t have a good education.’ Or ‘I’m really scared of commitment, but that’s because of my ex-boyfriend’ or ‘I’m really scared to drive, but my grandfather had an accident last year.”

See where I’m going with this? Being a victim always gives you an excuse for not taking responsibility for who you are, and saves you from putting in effort to become better.

You fear your dream life will also be disappointing

But even if you’ve overcome your fear of putting in effort and taking responsibility, there’s still a reason for sticking to the darkness. That’s because when you’re in a victim-mindset, you’re always ready to be disappointed. You’re not even doubting to be disappointed anymore, you know you will be. You’re basically already waiting for something to fail.

So even if you would take responsibility for who you are and start putting in effort into your future, there’s still a change that the outcome will not be what you expected. There’s a tiny chance that your dream life is not so great after all, and just dealing with that disappointment is already enough to not change anything at all.

Maybe deep down, you feel like you don’t deserve your dream life. Or maybe you’re still doubting your own potential. Whatever it is, it keeps you in the past and merely dreaming about the future. But with this mindset, you will keep failing because success isn’t even in the cards for you (by your own choosing).

What now?

So, if you (secretly) recognise yourself even partly in the person described above, you’re probably (somewhat) scared of the light. And I’m not judging. But if you want to change this, the first step is to start working on your self worth. If you deep down really believe you don’t deserve to be happy, this is where you should start. Read these blogs on why you’re worthy, how to find your worth and dealing with hardship as a kind of self care to see if it helps you.

Next you want to ask yourself why you’re holding on to this victim-mindset. How does it serve you? But really? I don’t want you to answer ‘it doesn’t serve me’ (because I know that πŸ˜‰ ) here, but I want you to dive into the psychology of why you hold on to it. What does it bring you that you apparently still need in your life? Is it the fear of having to put in effort, taking responsibility, or disappointment? Or is it something else?

Then, you want to formulate something you also want really badly, something your victim-mindset keeps you from doing, on the opposite. What attracts you to the light? Why would you even consider stepping out of the darkness? Maybe you want to finally start that business, have a deep, healthy relationship or stop suffering in the more general sense.

Now, let’s literally build your successful future, so stepping into the light becomes more practical and comprehensible for you. There are many tools that can help you with this, but this blog and worksheet are a good place to start. You can read more about how I got out of the darkness in this blog, and this one can give you more perspective on the areas of life you might want to invest or become more succesful in, now that you’re in the light.

Thank you so much for reading this blog, and if I can help you deal with all this light-ness coming your way from now on, let me know! πŸ˜‰

xx Coco