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June 07, 2022
Why You Shouldn't Let Perfectionism And Honor Roll Hangover Steal Your Joy

This episode is definitely for you if  you answer "Yes" to these questions: Are you living your life trying to please others, even if it makes you uncomfortable? Do you find yourself setting out to do everything perfectly, so that you can receive approval from your family, peers, your boss, your clients?   Do you constantly feel yourself in a state of internal stress…


 Why You Shouldn’t Let Perfectionism And Honor Roll Hangover Steal Your Joy

In this episode Dr. Peggie Kirkland (PK) explores the following:

  • What is Honor Roll Hangover?
  • How to tell if you’re suffering from it and
  • Five ways to get it under control

Melody Wilding, a psychology expert and executive coach, defines honor roll hangover as a “rigid belief system about what it takes to achieve confidence and success.”  She says, "It’s the psychological baggage we pick up in school and carry with us through our lives.”  Does any of this ring a bell with you?  Well here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you might be suffering from honor roll hangover. 

How to Tell if You’re Suffering From Honor Roll Hangover

  • Do you find yourself setting out to do everything perfectly, so that you can receive approval from your peers, your boss, your clients and your family? 
  • Are you  living your life trying to please others, even if it makes you uncomfortable?
  • Do you constantly feel yourself in a state of internal stress and panic about not meeting the expectations of others?

If you're nodding your head yes to these questions, then you may well be suffering from honor roll hangover which can create limiting beliefs about whether you can bring your dreams to fruition and accomplish the goals you set for yourself, leaving you stuck and unable to move forward, with frequent feelings of stress and anxiety.  If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, here are some ways to deal with it.

Five ways Ways To Deal With Honor Roll Hangover 

  1. The first is learning to accept yourself as someone who will make mistakes. 
  2. The second thing to do is learn to accept failure as integral to your growth and development.
  3. The third thing is to practice mindfulness meditationEven five minutes of meditation can be beneficial.
  4. Number four is to aim to be efficient not perfect
  5. Number five is to practice using affirmations

You can start by trying one of these suggestions.  In this way, you can stop wasting precious time trying to be on everyone else’s honor roll, and just enjoy where you are, in this moment, with all of its imperfections.  If you can accept that perfection is an unrealistic goal, you can move forward without allowing your imperfect acts to leave you paralyzed and unable to act. So, why not go ahead and get started where you are with what you have, for there’s no time like the present to  get off the honor roll list.  If you loved this episode, you may also enjoy Affirmation Season - Day 1:  Making a Fresh Start  Don’t forget to rate the show and leave a review, and please share it with someone you know can benefit from the message. 

Resources:

Learn more about: 

Honor Roll Hangover

Psychology expert and executive coach, Melody Wilding, 

Are you carrying around psychological baggage from childhood?

Practicing mindfulness meditation

Transcript

Dr. Peggie Kirkland: 0:15

Inspiring Gen X women to demonstrate their love of self, by their engagement in audacious acts of self-care. This is the Momma's Motivational Messages podcast with Dr. Peggie Kirkland.

Hi, everyone. It's Peggie Kirkland. And my question to you today is, "Are you suffering from Honor Roll hangover?" But what does that even mean? So I read an article recently, and that made me think of myself and many women I know. And I have to say, we do suffer from honor roll hangover. Keep listening and I'll explain what honor roll hangover is, how to tell if you're suffering from it, and five ways to get it under control. By the way, bless your heart if you're exempt from this group, because being a member isn't easy. So the author of this article, which is linked in the Show Notes, is a psychology expert, and executive coach, and she defines honor roll hangover as, "a rigid belief system about what it takes to achieve confidence and success. She says it's the psychological baggage we pick up in school, and carry with us throughout our lives." Let me break it down for you.

You know, the student who followed the rules, completed her projects on time, earned straight A's, was respectful of teachers and classmates, and earned her way to the honor roll. And then she went on to get accepted to a top University, where she was again on the college's honor roll known as the Dean's list, as you know, and graduates with honors, once again, proving that she was good enough, and getting rewarded for it. Then she goes to work, where, because of her hard work and dedication, she's promoted several times, landing at, or near the top of her profession. That describes your typical honor roll hangover subject. I just shared with you the story of some of my adolescent years, and many years of my adult life in a nutshell; always striving to be the best and beating myself up when things didn't have the outcome I hoped for. 

So where did this personality trait of super conscientiousness originate? I've thought about this a lot of late. And I go between giving credit to and laying blame, first on the upbringing of my home, where the expectation of success went without saying. As my mom always said to us, anything worth doing is worth doing well. And then you have the admonition of the church, that God wants us to be at our best at all times. And then my high school motto which said, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." In other words, you shouldn't do anything in a mediocre way. Now, when you pair this, with whatever else I internalized about the benefits of being perfect, you've got the perfect honor roll subject. Now, to be clear, I want to acknowledge that there are definite positives to striving for excellence. But what happens when we start to apply these school honor roll standards to life in general? Could there also be a downside? That's the question I wanted to take a look at today.

So back to the article, in which the author describes a client, Lisa, who was a product manager, but who had difficulty making any decisions on her own. In fact, Lisa admitted to being a perfectionist, and being scared of making the wrong decision, because she was afraid to fail. The sad reality is that many of us are Lisas. And even though I now refer to myself as a "reformed perfectionist," I can honestly say I've lived Lisa's life. I've pulled all-nighters to get school projects done, and then all-nighters with projects for the kids, and then all-nighters to get projects done on the job. I don't know if any of this sounds familiar to you. But here are some ways that you can tell If you're suffering from Honor Roll hangover. Do you find yourself setting out to do everything perfectly, so that you can receive approval from your peers, your boss, your clients, your family? Are you living your life trying to please others even if it makes you uncomfortable? Do you constantly feel yourself in a state of internal stress and panic about not meeting the expectation of others? If you're nodding your head, yes, to these questions, then you may well be suffering from honor roll hangover.

The question though is,"Why?" Why does this happen to people? The truth is that there are many reasons why people internalize these feelings of inadequacy that limit their ability to be their best selves. Psychology experts say this is because some people internalize the message, that they're not good enough from their families, where errors from the past were blown out of proportion by authority figures, like parents or school leaders. Whatever the origin, the outcome is the same, you end up feeling like you're never good enough.

As I'm sure you can imagine, there are many suggestions for overcoming this syndrome. But I'm going to share with you five suggestions that I can say I've practiced with success. The first is learning to accept yourself as someone who will make mistakes. That was new to me, because as I said earlier, I was brought up believing that everything had to be perfect. And I think that being born under the astrological sign of Virgo does not help. Fellow Virgos you know what I mean. Frankly, this idea of not being perfect is relatively new to me. I remember my college days, when A was not enough, I was going for the A plus. At work, everything had to be perfect. The PowerPoint presentation was not done until I was actually presenting it; always one more slide to make it clearer than it was, and the list goes on. I must tell you that I'm much more relaxed in the way I approach life these days. I had to learn that every mistake is not a catastrophe. I had to learn to take things in stride. But that came at a much later point in life. I don't want you to wait that long. That's why I'm sharing this with you. If that's you, I urge you to put the reins on that behavior now.

The second thing is to learn to accept failure as integral to your growth and development. I'm sure you've heard the stories about Henry Ford, the automotive industry giant. He had to file for bankruptcy twice before he was successful in founding the Ford Motor Company. Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful tries, before he finally invented the lightbulb. And Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. They all failed before they succeeded. But, they learned from their mistakes and went on to tremendous success.

The third thing I do is practicing mindfulness meditation. And mindfulness meditation is about being in the moment, and turning off or tuning out the distractions or negative thoughts that cause you to get stuck and focused on what you're not doing, as opposed to seeing what you are accomplishing. For this, I adopt an attitude of gratitude, and I think of three people, three things, and three places that I'm grateful for, as I breathe in and out deeply and slowly. I tell you, there's nothing like an attitude of gratitude, to change your state of mind, and to shift your focus from what you're lacking to what you already have.

Number four is I aim to be efficient and not perfect. And what does efficient mean? It means that you do the best with what you have and without wasting time, and perfectionists know how much time we waste getting it just right. Remember, time wasted is never regained. 

And number five, I practice repeating affirmations. I personally believe in the power of affirmations, which are powerful and positive statements that allow you to change your thinking from negative to positive. You can literally feel the mental shift that takes place when you force your brain to stop focusing on the negative and to look at the positive instead. My affirmation during these times is, "I am enough, because I have everything I need in this moment to achieve what I want." If you doubt yourself, take a moment to make a chart with two columns headed, "What I want." and, "What I have." Complete this chart without thinking too hard, and see if in that moment you have what you want, either physically, or in your thoughts, to get what you want done. And when you take a look at that, you'll know exactly what you have, and you know exactly what you need to fill any gaps. To my honor rollers, I say stop wasting precious time trying to be on everyone else's honor roll, and just enjoy where you are in this moment, with all of its imperfections.

Well, this is it for now. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to what honor roll hangover is, how to tell if you're suffering from it, and five ways to get it under control. And by the way, if you loved this episode, why not leave a review on Apple podcast. It will only take two minutes and you'll provide me with valuable insight into what you're thinking as I continue to plan future episodes. Until next time, I'm sending you much light and a whole lot of love.