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#087: Breaking Free From Perfectionism

As you probably know, one of my words for 2023 is freedom. It’s a motivational word, meaning the idea of freedom energizes me. It’s an aspirational word, meaning I want to experience the feeling of freedom every day. Most importantly, it’s an action word. I want to actively bring more freedom into all areas of my life and into the lives of those around me. That includes you, my friend. And that’s where freedom in our harp playing comes in.

I’m on a mission to set harpists free from the tyranny of some of the things that keep them from achieving what they want in their harp playing. That’s the main focus for the webinar I’ll be presenting soon on Creating Harp Freedom. I’ll be talking about some of the hidden enemies of progress and what you can actually do to defeat them. 

But in assembling the materials for that webinar, I realized that there is one enemy that many harpists face, one that is too big to be covered thoroughly in the webinar. It’s big enough that I decided to dedicate an entire podcast episode to it. It’s perfectionism.

An overwhelming majority of the harpists I speak with describe themselves as “perfectionists” or “Type A personalities” or “over-achievers.” I’m probably more than a little of all of those things myself, so I’m in the middle of this struggle with you all. In fact, there are a lot of us in this boat. A study done in 2020 by the Hardin Group reported that of the more than 1200 participants in their national survey, more than 92% self-identified as perfectionists and 86% of the respondents believed that their perfectionist expectations impacted their work. Based on my own experience, this is not news; this is confirmation. Perfectionism, at least in harp playing which is all I claim to know about, is a trap for a lot of us.

This is not an episode about the psychology of perfectionism. The Practicing Harp Happiness podcast is about harp playing and so is this episode. I’m going to share some of the ways I have seen perfectionism prevent harpists from making progress, from enjoying their practice, from sharing their music with others. And I will give you some very simple - but not necessarily easy - ways to create your own harp freedom.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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