Years ago, back when I was job hunting, I had a set response to questions about my weaknesses:
I was a "recovering perfectionist." Risky, I know (I could sense the suppressed eye-rolls), but it was the truth. Until then, it was absolutely crucial that everything
I touched was delivered with exceptional quality, inspiring trust and leading to strong relationships. If I felt I was at risk of under-delivering, I would do everything necessary to reverse that, to exceed expectations and ensure the satisfaction of my clients and my supervisors. It was a huge weight to take on, and the pressure was immense. Ultimately, it slowed me down, and the result was that I was less agile. Recognizing this allowed me to search for approaches such as the 80/20 Rule, which allowed me to better manage my time without compromising outcomes.
What I always kept to myself was the reason why I’d unquestioningly taken on this burden. Just as many Black parents have to educate their sons about how to safely interact with authorities, many Black mothers have parallel conversations with the daughters about the societal perceptions of their race and gender. As a Black girl, we had to be three times as good to be considered equal. Mediocrity was not an option; exceptionality was survival.