Dealing With Perfectionism In The ‘Girl Boss’ Era

Words: Hattie Evans
FEature Image: Astrubal Luna

The amount of female success shared at the moment is inspiring, but, for young people today is there too much constant pressure to have a successful career?

The pressure to be constantly achieving can often feel overwhelming. This pressure can be fuelled by a fear of remaining stationary, or, the enormous expectation on the modern woman to have everything sorted, or maybe, it could be the amount of success stories we’re surrounded by. These stories are of the entrepreneurial ‘girl bosses’ that have risen to the top; they’ve become CEOs at only 28, and appear to ‘have it all’ through hard graft and determination. Whilst this can seem like only a good thing that these women are being celebrated – and quite rightly so – it can also feel as though the pressure to achieve, and achieve now, is all-consuming.

Perfectionism creates the feeling that your attempts aren’t able to marry up with your expectations, and, in terms of having a high-flying career, these expectations are not only in our minds but are shown to us every second. Through social media and the seemingly inescapable pull to be constantly scrolling through Instagram you can completely immerse yourself & obsess over other people’s ( edited) lives. The comparison to your own can ultimately leave you feeling deeply unsatisfied; perpetuating that desire to achieve perfection. Indeed, high personal standards, rigid planning and constant self-criticism when it comes to forging out a career and a life for yourself is something that is all to relatable for so many millennials today. And, the idea of letting your foot ease on the pedal for just one moment can feel completely unimaginable.

Many women who are at the height of their careers have spoken out about their struggles with perfectionism, BBC’s One Show presenter, Alex Jones, spoke of the extreme pressure she put herself under to go back to work after having a baby; “…if you really enjoy it you want to keep it. You want a family… you want everything.”. Claire Foy, who stars in Netflix series The Crown, has admitted she struggles with anxiety, and musician Lily Allen’s very raw and honest memoir describes her struggles with fame and how despite having huge success in her career, wealth, beauty, and a family, she was left feeling completely isolated and grappled with finding her own identity.

From the outside looking in it can seem as though the people we see through our screens are our guidelines for what constitutes as success.  Although at times it can seem impossible, we must train ourselves to realise that we cannot see the entirety of another person, therefore shaping our own ambitions and milestones against just fragments of other peoples lives is a futile and unsustainable task.