Author Of ‘Stop Waiting for Perfect’ Shares Her Tips To Conquer Your Year

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Mar. 22 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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When L’Oreal Thompson Payton hit a streak of more than 600 days exercising with Peloton, all while at the peak of being a new mother, she knew her clutch to perfection had to end, too. She shares this moment and others in her debut memoir, ‘Stop Waiting for Perfect: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Your Power’, a tell-all of her own experiences and how she learned to redefine success. 

Thompson Payton is an award-winning journalist with work in Essence, Fortune, SELF, and Well + Good, among other publications and media outlets. She focuses her work to shed light on important societal issues and helps to amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Through her new book, she encourages readers to embrace their full potential and live life boldly. 

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According to research released by the American Psychological Association in 2017, there has been a significant increase of perfectionism among young people since the 1980s. Many factors were revealed from this study, one being the pressures imposed through social media by comparing one’s life to others’ highlight reel. This is damaging to one’s self view causing desires to be perfect in mind, body and career. In her tips, the author breaks down ways to combat perfectionism and walk into your best self.

Thompson Payton spoke with Her Agenda to share five of her top tips toward conquering your this year without the pressures of perfectionism.

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1. Give yourself permission to experiment.

She described three things we must give ourselves permission to do: to pause, to pivot, and to experiment. We must learn to rest, to unplug, and take care of ourselves. Your cup must first be filled before you can pour into anyone else’s. “As Black women, we are deserving of the same love we pour into others,” she shared.

Once rest has taken place you can move into the art of the pivot. In the chapter “Permission to Pivot” in her book, Thompson Payton describes career success should not be viewed as climbing a ladder but as a jungle gym. The pivot is the stage where you have complete control – how you decide to make those moves, twists and turns is up to you. She encourages paying attention to what is working, what is not, and not being afraid to try something new.

2. Celebrate your rejections. 

“Not everything is going to go according to plan and result in a win. Instead of looking at it as a failure, congratulate yourself for trying something new,” she noted. “So many people don’t even get started. It takes courage to put yourself out there, so celebrate that.” She lists a few rejections she has experienced in her book while sharing steps to take when rejection occurs.

Throw yourself a pity party.

Ask for feedback.

Apply the feedback.

Dust yourself off and try again.

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3. Feel the feelings. 

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Allow yourself to feel all the feelings that come with the journey – the highs, the lows, and the in betweens. It is how you make each of those decisions make you feel in the long-term determine if you keep moving forward or not. Rejection is inevitable but it is also a sign of redirection. So count that as a win. 

4. Be kind to yourself. Your inner critic can be very loud. 

When asked what message she wants readers to take from her book she said, “that you are enough as you are.” The immediate way to rid of the voice of your inner critic is to acknowledge its presence. Once you acknowledge your inner critic the other half of the battle is actually believing in yourself.

Our own worst critic is ourselves so to fight perfectionism and step into your power will require a new way in how we speak to ourselves. Comparison is the thief of joy and robs of fully embracing the wins in one’s own life. “Keep your eyes on your own paper.”

5. Stop waiting for perfection.

It’s what Thompson Payton says is “a call to action” and “a permission slip”. So often we wait to switch careers, leave the relationship, write the book, launch the blog, but if you keep waiting you can miss your moment. Just go for it!

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By: Danielle Layton

Danielle Layton is a multimedia and mission-driven storyteller based in NYC. She works in marketing production and is a freelance journalist with a passion for telling stories that encourage, empower, and evoke meaningful change. She enjoys using her personal platforms to encourage the purposeful journey. When she isn't telling stories, you can find her sharing her favorite vegan recipes on her food Instagram @plantifullymade.

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