Beyonce has a fierce voice, a fierce business sense, and a fierce strut, topped off with a steely determination to rule the world. She blasts straight to the top of the list of female powerhouses we want to be when we grow up. She’s a wild success by any measure. But even Beyonce sometimes sabotages her own success by tangling with perfectionism.
Recruited to sing the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration this January, Beyonce was set on a podium in front of the world. Plagued by nerves, biting cold, and inadequate preparation time, she succumbed to her own fears and sang along with a recording instead of going it live. When her lip synch faux pas was publicized, Beyonce got the critical deluge a world spotlight can bring. Addressing a crew of reporters post lip-synch debacle, she explained, “I’m a perfectionist.” She felt the conditions might keep her from delivering the stellar performance she wanted and despite her world-renowned performance style—and the bank account to back it up—Beyonce worried she wouldn’t live up to her own standards. But she owned her mistake, recovered, and moved on. A few weeks later, she gave one of the most blazingly impressive performances in Super Bowl history, a performance that, it could be argued, broke the Louisiana Superdome.
If one of the most successful women in the world can bounce back after allowing perfectionism to snarl up one of the most important performances of her career, I think it’s time we all gave ourselves a break.
What Perfectionists Can Learn From Beyonce
We’re all human. Every massive success story and improbable feat was accomplished by a person who struggled with the same fears that we all battle. We all worry about not being good enough. We all worry about being criticized for our wholehearted efforts. We all occasionally allow those fears grab the wheel and steer us toward doubting our own capabilities. We're all able to recognize those doubts and fears for the specters they are in order to take fresh ownership of our talent and contributions to the world.
When fear sweeps aside what you know to be true and pushes you toward mistakes stemming from a lack of confidence, just pick yourself up, note where you got sidetracked, and boost yourself to greater feats of accounting, interior decorating, or world domination.
It may feel lonely—most people don’t advertise their doubts or mistakes on Facebook—but everyone suffers the corrosive effect of fear. Perfectionists, with our keen desire to not just do things well but to do it the best it's ever been done, are especially susceptible. But if Beyonce can conquer her perfectionism and live to sing another day, so can you.