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The lesson // The word

Fat Mum Slim /


Earlier this year I engaged a business coach. Yes, it’s as wanker-y as it sounds.

I’m not a very business-y person. I make decisions with my heart, and I feel ALL the feelings. This hobby of mine {blogging} ended up involving business decisions and I’m not very good at it. At all.

Back to the business coach. We were in the middle of our second session and she made the bold statement that she thought I was a perfectionist. Defensive me came out to play. Perfectionist? Not a chance. My kitchen bench is rarely tidy. My inbox is never empty. I’m frumpy and often grumpy. I’ve never seen the bottom of my laundry pile and I struggle to stick to a set task.

If there was anyone further from a perfectionist, it was me.

I almost wanted to reach down the phone line, grab her, shake her a little and tell her straight that she had me all wrong. It felt similar to the time I had counseling in my early 20s and the counselor called me by the wrong name for a whole session. Not much fun.

It was during the third session that I discovered something about myself. I WAS a perfectionist, or more like someone who strives for perfection but almost always ends up disappointed.

I’m not happy until my house is clean, like display-home clean. And it never gets there. Disappointment. I’m not content with my exercise routine unless it’s done 4 times a week for 45 minutes, every single week. I’m completely overwhelmed by my inbox unless the new email count is at zero, which it is once a year for around 3 minutes. You get the picture.

I’ve spent the past few months now working on my expectations of myself, and my constant strive for perfection, and the constant feeling of disappointment. Oh gosh, this is heavy for this time of year, isn’t it?

My coach gave me a word to focus on: fluidity.

Instead of wanting only perfection, and thinking it’s actually attainable, I’ve been working on taking each day as it comes and keeping my expectations and plans fluid.

What does that even mean? Well, I’m actually become OK with my house not looking like perfection {like a display home}. It doesn’t mean that it’s always a mess, but sometimes it’s not visitor-ready and that’s OK. Not all houses around the world are, and that’s perfectly normal, or acceptable. I try and exercise when I can {something I’m working more on}. And my kitchen bench is sometimes completely tidy, just not right now. And there’s the rest of my life, work, everything. Striving for perfection is exhausting and disappointing.

So 2015, my word for the year is fluidity.

May it bring calm, contentment and happy days.

What’s your word for 2015? Got one?

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  • I don’t have a specific word yet, but thoughts about next year are bubbling away.

    • Don’t you love this exciting feeling, that anything is possible?

  • Brielle

    Wow this post describes me, I just never thought of myself as a perfectionist but now it seems so true.

    • Welcome to the perfectionist club. 😛

  • My word for 2015 is Believe. Believe in myself, and my ability to achieve the things I want, Believe that it’s ok to take the time I need to do things for me, Believe that I am as good at my job as my boss thinks I am, Believe that it’s ok to make mistakes, Believe that not everything has to be perfect all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me 🙂

  • Joe Richardson

    I like the idea of a word that serves as compass North, lending direction as we sail into the new year. Resilience would work. Or perhaps perseverance. And yet, I find myself feeling grateful for the people who walked me through 2014. Right, then. Gratitude it is: May I greet each day of 2015 grateful for the light, life, and lessons it brings.

  • I’ve been searching for my word too, and am so tempted to nab yours! Its perfect. I’ve been thinking about “let go” and “breathe” and so on.

  • That’s a great word! I think mine would have to be “passion” or something along those lines. While I love being a mother, it makes me get a bit snowed in when it comes to do things I really love. I remember how much energy a passion can give you, so I’m going to aim for that. Writing, cooking, music, photographs,… try to take some of those to the next level, just for the fun of it.

  • Three words for me “Believe in Myself”

  • Patti Rowe

    My word is PERHAPS… Because perhaps I’ll fall short, and I may be happier for it.

  • My word is CHALLENGE! I’m going to challenge myself to be a better wife, mother, blogger, photographer, friend, entertainer, healthy eater, housekeeper. Fluidity sounds wonderful. I hope 2015 brings you all the calm, contentment and happy days you desire. Jx

  • Lynne Sewer

    My word is “Dailiness”. I read a book a few months ago which I keep referring back to …. “Mitten Strings for God” which talks about slowing down in the busyness that is motherhood and taking pleasure in the simple daily moments. It talks about creating rituals with your family / children which have a rhythm to them and taking joy in those rituals. This year as my children begin to leave baby-hood behind and I continue the balance of work/life I want this to be my focus.

  • Lauren

    Mmm, I like those thoughts a lot. Thanks for sharing!
    I think my word for this year (and this past season of life) has been endurance. I would very much like a new word! I think perhaps focus, or confidence…something that sees me move beyond my current state.

  • Thank goodness I am not the only person like that. I would never have called myself a perfectionist but I do get so mad at myself when I am not perfect. So glad you shared

  • jenpiercedwonderings

    My word for 2015 is “Home”. In a very real an tangible sense, my main, over-riding goal is to get home. I work about an hour and a half from “home” – the lovely little house with the big yard in the neighborhood that is quiet as a church even though it’s in the heart of downtown and just six blocks from the beach – and my husband. I’m working on finding a job that will support us…so I can get home.

    But it’s more than that. I really feel like this is the year…or needs to be the year that I find my professional home – the place that lights me up and makes me ridiculously at ease with my life.

    And it’s about building a home – this safe place for us to land. We’re looking to buy our lovely little house and there’s so much about that which is frightening.

    So Home. It feels right, with the right sense of urgency to it.

  • My word is going to be SUCCESS! Successful in saving more for our house build, successful in blogging and a career change and successful at whatever I want to do! X

  • Mine would be ‘Evolve’…coming out the other side of cancer my new life and new body are constantly evolving. Gone is working for others and now I have my own little biz…evolving. It’s exciting to see where I’ll go, who I’ll meet, what I’ll learn

  • Cat Woodman

    I think my word(s) will be ‘time management’. I’ve never been any good at it but I will have to be as I am returning to full time work after having my bubba girl earlier in the year. Balancing a work/life relationship and finding a little bit of time for myself somewhere in there.

  • Adrian

    I think my word will be ‘try’. Try to start a new business venture, try my hand at blogging and try and enjoy my family and life to the best of my ability. I think ‘try’ is a good word because it doesn’t matter if I fail or succeed, the important part is that I give it a go, try new experiences and then I won’t have to sit and wonder if things could be different.

  • Bernice OS

    My words are going to be “doin’ it”. I’m a perfectionist like you who rarely reaches any form of perfection, just constant frustration, distraction and restlessness.
    Thanks to a pretty good second half of this year I’ve realised you just have to be doing it, doing something, working towards whatever it is that needs to be done on an hourly, daily, monthly basis.
    And no matter how many times I fall short of what’s in my head I just have to get up the very next day and be ‘doing it’ all over again.

  • I also Am a bit of a perfectionist it would seem and a disappointed one at that so thanks to your post I am choosing Acceptance as my word for 2015. Thanks for the nudge

  • I love this So. Freaking. Much. Knodding as I read here! You should definitely look up The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, I think you will definitely connect with it! {Listen to her vulnerability TED talk too}

    On that note, my word for 2015 is connection. I want to be more vulnerable and more present. Connection!

  • I have been thinking about this for a week or so. I do make resolutions and I do usually keep them, not this year, this year for some reason I found “Jesus” nothing out of the ordinary happened to me, just a bunch of little things which lead me to “try and read the bible…. Again” this time for some reason it worked, I understood what I was reading, I learnt how to do bible studies and look up the information I needed and I realised that a lot of my pen friends are Christians. Looks like it’s been coming. So my interests changed since July, but not getting my resolutions done hasn’t worried me because I have been doing plenty of other important stuff, like blogging.
    Tonight on a friends blog I heard about a site called oneword.365 or something and I realised my word for 2015 is going to be “Deeper” deeper into my study of God, deeper into my family deeper into my blogging, deeper into my art, it fits perfectly.

  • I feel like my word for 2015 is ‘care-free’ – I care too much what other people will think or say no matter how much I tell people I don’t. so this coming year, I definitely won’t anymore! :)) x

  • I just can’t believe how much this sounds like me. I LOVE the word you chose, and how it fits where you want to go in terms of perfectionism. I’ve been mulling over my word for 2015 for a couple of weeks now, and have narrowed it down to a couple. I’ll choose one by the first of the year and share it in a blog post. Thank you for this post. 🙂

  • Cass

    My word for this year is Breathe, to learn to breathe through all the stressful times of my life. Hopefully this will help me with my panic attacks and i will learn a new technique called mindfulness.

  • Caroline

    My word is, “Exceed,” – it can be used in relation to my own expectations and not taking less than I deserve in life.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid

    Hmmm. I can’t decide on joy or gratitude because they’re both so important. I love finding joy in little moments, and I have so much to be grateful for, I never want to take my lot for granted. The two things are kind of inextricably linked, so maybe I’ll just be greedy and take the two! Love your choice by the way, you may be a perfectionist, but you’re a super smart one!

    • Joyitude unique and completely yours x

  • Rach

    I don’t make resolutions but always chose a word to be my theme or focal point for the year. The 2015 word for me is Health.

  • My word for 2015 is “Happy” 😀 I’m going to focus on it. Even blog about it each week, so I remember.

  • Tianna

    I think my word for 2015 is actually two. I have been thinking for the last couple months about “Follow me” And that is mostly for me to grow deeper in my faith. And then there is Adventure. I am moving to another state on Jan 2nd. I am moving away from my friends, my family and going on an adventure.

  • Renee

    My word for 2015 will be “Blossom”. I want to grow into myself more, be more comfortable in my own skin…more confident, content and calm. I don’t want to change who I am, rather just be more accepting of everything about myself.

  • Mel Champion

    When I read what your word for 2015 the first thing that popped in my head was HOPE! A lot of yucko and frustrating things happened in 2014 and my HOPE that 2015 is going to be a whole lot better. So HOPE is my word for 2105. I’m going to buy some wooden letters and have them on display for the year so my family and I can see that 2015 will be a fabulous year for us all.

  • As I read this post I was chuckling to myself and thinking Chantelle is writing about me… At nearly 60 years old this is the hardest thing for me to deal with and something that I have been working on – pretty unsuccessfully I might add. It has a nice ring to it though…. thanks for sharing.

  • iamlindsay86

    I LOVE this post. What you captured about yourself in “perfection” I see very much in myself as well. Although I knew I liked perfection. I want to be good at ALL THE THINGS. But that is not life. However it is hard for me to pick a word for the year ahead as we are having our first baby…whoa. Big life change. Perhaps mine should be “Embrace Change”. We are beyond excited, and I know our world is about to be rocked!

  • This sums me up too Chantelle – perfectionist in my head and always beating myself up because I never attain it. Problem is you can’t achieve perfection in all things can you? Good to know that someone who actually does give an impression of having a pretty perfect life feels this way.
    I’m going to think about my word now but the phrase for 2015 must be ‘ be kinder to yourself’.
    Thanks for so much inspiration in 2014 🙂

  • My word for next year is ‘DO MORE’. I have the feeling that I spent most of my time planning and dreaming up things in my head this year which is not necessarily a bad thing, however now i think it’s time to actually get things done. Overthinking and living in a constant ‘what if/should’ve/could’ve’ didn’t get me anywhere so now it’s time to change that.

  • This sounds so much like me! I want to do so much more but I always end up being disappointed with myself. I call myself lazy and a procrastinator (which I am by the way 😛 ), but maybe all I need is fluidity!
    P.S – I love your blog. I am from India, and while Australia and India are as different as chalk and cheese, reading your blog makes me realize that people are more or less the same everywhere 🙂

  • Sal

    Kindness – not only to others but myself

  • I’ve heard Fluidity being thrown around the workplace lately (corporate marketing environment) but I love the way you have applied it! It’s such a pretty sounding word too isn’t it! Xx

  • I read this yesterday and wanted to put some thought into my word … I have decided “Balance” will be my 2015 word. Balance in everything – work, play, family, study, health, fitness.
    Thanks for a great, thoughtful post! x

  • Mine would have to be Simplify, as it was the goal in mind starting my blog this year and the focus for my 2015 in getting back to basics, eliminating clutter, getting organised and just having less crap to worry about. May help me pretend I have a prize home too… But I doubt it 😉

  • I like your word. For me I’m not sure yet. Will have to think about it more.

  • Silvia

    My word is: achievement… I’m not a person of plans but for 2015 I’ve made some and I’m decided to achieve them (some renovations at home, a good photography course, more time for myself, more trip times…)

  • mich3ll3w

    I am starting to think that the percentage of bloggers who are perfectionists is higher than the general population. In the paper crafting blogosphere, the majority of my friends are perfectionists. I am too. I love the word “fluidity”. I have applied this to my life over the past few years, and I am so much happier. Perfectionism IS exhausting, and frustrating. 😉 My word for 2015, I think, is PERSIST. It’s about doing things better through effort, even when I don’t feel like it.

  • Belinda

    Love this.

    My word for 2015 is Believe.
    Believe in myself, believe in the process and believe that someone’s got my back.
    When I was working towards my word there were a few I was tossing between and it cam down to Believe and Nourish. So while Believe is my word for 2015 , I’ve decided my focus for 2015 is Nourish – mind body and soul for me and my loves.
    I feel like with these two words working together I can get “there”. (I’ll let you know where there is when I actually work that out myself!!)