Confessions of a paranoid, antisocial, perfectionist blogger
Posted by Ken Klaus on January 19, 2009
Perfectionist – one who has a propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet an extremely high standard.
Paranoia – extreme, irrational distrust of others.
Antisocial – unwilling or unable to associate normally with other people.
I have yet to fully embrace the mainstream social networking revolution. By mainstream I mean the average individual who blogs for work, to earn a living, or just for the simple pleasure of writing. I do not mean the people who share every moment of their lives through word and picture. Frankly, you people scare me. Many of my colleagues have already jumped into the deep end of this pool where they gently and persistently call to me: ‘Come on in, the water’s fine’. For a time I took comfort, and not a little snarky pleasure, with others who embraced the antisocial lifestyle, like Kathi. But as I’ve watched our numbers diminish over the past year – even Kathi now has a Facebook page – I wondered why I was still so hesitant to dive-in and join the fun.
The truth is I very much want to be all in – a fully vested and contributing member of our virtual community; but I’m afraid and my natural response to fear is to move away from and not toward other people. Now I don’t think my paranoia and antisocial tendencies are engrained personality flaws – though I have my fair share of these as well – rather I’ve come to see them as a by-product of the perfectionist rooted to the core of my being. And believe me when I say this is way more than a mere tendency. It’s part of my DNA. This means that no matter how trivial the task I almost always create an unreasonably high set of standards and as a consequence end up feeling disappointed and ashamed when I fail to measure up. So when I post a blog or a comment and later find a typo or misspelled word I feel every bit as bad about myself as when I make a mess of a relationship or fall short of my performance goals at work. With perfectionism there is no sense of proportionality – every failure, real or perceived, leads to the same crushing sense of defeat. That’s when the paranoia begins to seep into my consciousness – “they’re laughing at you” – which then leads to antisocial behaviors like lurking.
Rationally I understand that I am mostly successful at the things I do and that generally I am a competent employee, friend, and blogger. But I also understand that I cannot simply get over being a perfectionist. I have to learn to live with it and accept that I am going to make mistakes. This won’t be easy, but I’m committed to doing better and commitment requires a plan – and a good plan needs a set of goals. So to that end I’m setting the following goals for myself:
1. I will not give in to fear or isolation. Solitude is okay, monasticism is not.
2. I will participate, not just lurk, in our online community.
3. I will create a Facebook account. Understanding that I may have to spend a few weeks chanting my first goal before I’m actually ready to do this.
4. I will not feel bad, anguish, or obsess over the small mistakes that are simply a part of being human, like typos, spelling errors, grammatical gaffes, forgetting to buy half-and-half, misplacing my keys, or counting that box of Raisinets as part or all of my five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
It’s an exciting time to be working in talent management and the wonderful, quirky, sometimes scary, world of social networking holds almost endless possibilities. So to all the other paranoid, antisocial, perfectionists lurking in the shadows, I too say, “Come on in and join the conversation, the water and the people are exceptionally fine.”
This entry was posted on January 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm and is filed under community, personal, social network. Tagged: blogging, community, perfectionism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.