An essay in perfectionism

I have to keep remembering that perfection is the enemy… it’s impossible, it’s disappointing, it’s just creating unrealistic expectation. It’s not real.

Unless your idea of perfection is being imperfect which is actually more in alignment with humanity if we’re really honest.

I’ve been a perfectionist all my life and although it has helped me create some amazing things in my life it has also created a lot of stress. And when you have health issues (probably in part created by stress and trauma) then stress is the enemy.

For me this can lead to my whole body shutting down, huge amounts of pain, migraines and a rather annoying short temper. In a body racked with pain and migraine it’s like your whole personality changes. Everything is overwhelming and difficult to deal with.

The smallest things become huge issues creating a big reaction especially when they’re things out of my control. So for example receiving a 4 star Tripadvisor Review from an otherwise very happy guest due to some intermittent building over the road. Can cause a huge reaction of flying to Bali and looking for new villas which is a HUGE undertaking if we did move. Let alone finding a new villa to our specifications which is not an easy task.

In Bali building is everywhere. They give you no notice, they just start and depending on which precinct you are in the Banjar can give them the ok to work Sundays and until late at night. It’s also such a harsh tropical environment for buildings that you constantly need to renovate. It’s relentless.

Its taking it’s toll on me and causing a lot of stress. It’s a really hard thing to deal with when you’re a perfectionist and have no control over it and feel like you’re disappointing your guests.

Then that lovely thing called perspective comes in…

I stay at a 5 star Hotel in Ubud as I can’t do the commute everyday from Seminyak to Ubud as it’s so hard on my body. The staff don’t speak much English and take forever to check me in. I order room service minus bacon and I get bacon plus a slug on my lettuce. The rooms are noisy and you can hear everything from your neighbours. The wooden floors are scuffed even though its quite a new building. But amazingly I survive lol.

My last holiday was about 3 years ago now for a friends birthday to Sri Lanka. The first few days we stayed at one of the best Hotels in Colombo. I paid for an upgrade overlooking the ocean and couldn’t wait to lay by the pool. When I got there I couldn’t believe the construction out the front … in the ocean … Dubai style! It was so full on there were huge amounts of excavators and laying by the pool was a dust storm and full of noise.

Noise is a part of travel & life.

It’s not always nice.

It’s sometimes very annoying.

It’s not all that peaceful.

But then true peace comes from within.

I’m still learning that.

At Bliss we’ve paid for people to relocate barking dogs & constantly crowing roosters. We’ve tried to negotiate with builders to stay within their guidelines and not create noise until midnight. We’ve paid extra for them to get more men to finish quickly when it’s not even our job. We’ve put tarpaulins up when neighbours started working on their roof overlooking us without any forward warning. We’ve dealt with walls falling over after seemingly small earthquakes. We’re in constant fear of people developing the land next door. And more.

When I first started bliss we were in the middle of rice paddies with a dirt road leading to our Villa. One day out of the blue all these massive trucks turned up and they started laying bitumen on the road. So they had those big rolling machines then they started pouring the stinky hot bitumen and we couldn’t get in and out! I was dying inside but our poor guests still had a great time as we paid for them to spend the day going to an amazing beach club, then on the awesome eco bike tour and doing some sightseeing. They would still relax by the pool and enjoyed all the wonderful food and massages and we all got through it.

It’s all part of life in Bali and we are so lucky that for the most part guests are understanding and we put our energy into creating experiences for them that avoid the noise and they still get the peace they are looking for.

Creating peace for our guests is something we love to do and for me personally it’s a massive strain when extenuating circumstances arrive and we can’t provide perfect peace all the time. And yet how could we possibly? The world is the world. Bali is Bali and noise is part of our existence. Even in the middle of tranquil rice paddies the peace can be ruined by barking dogs, motorbikes or roosters that crow all day long lol. But it’s Bali.

As a migraine sufferer noise can be awful for me. So I understand the annoyance and it has been a huge learning curve for me with so many amazing guests saying ‘it doesn’t bother me’, ‘it can’t be helped and we understand’ or a handful in 8 years have wanted to leave and that’s ok too. Though it doesn’t seem ok at the time and breaks our hearts. But we understand.

Living in Bali for 6 years I wish I had that patience lol. But when you move to a nice new villa and renovate it, then finally get some peace, then building starts next door. It’s like a huge sinking feeling. You then negotiate their working times and go outside in your nightie telling them off for running the machines after 10pm like a mad woman lol. Then when you think everyone is sorted the lady worker who has a baby on the worksite (as they all live on it for months until it is finished), her milk dries up and she gets a goat to provide milk as you do. The goat loves to wake up and start bleating at 4am. So all of us neighbours pitch in to get her formula after a couple of weeks of no sleep!

Ahhh the stories.

But at the end of the day it’s about learning that peace comes from within. Staying peaceful amongst chaos seems to be a big part of our learning curve as humanity. Nature is noisy. Yet it can be peaceful. It’s all about the yin and yang.

As I’m writing this sitting in my 5 star Hotel in Bali I hear grinding building noises in the background at 8:47am. Why wait until 9am when it affects your ability to finish the job, make money and move on to the next job lol.

It reminds me that the more you pay doesn’t mean it gives you peace. This costs more than the nightly rate of what we give at Bliss and has no inclusions. Even though I pay for breakfast they won’t let you have this as room service. At Bliss we offer much nicer gorgeous accommodation, all meals are included, unlimited massages, unlimited yoga, gorgeous hostesses who tend to your every need, personal drivers and unlimited sightseeing. Yet people still complain, it’s human nature. And there can be outside noises that we have absolutely no control over.

Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Customer service is about doing our best, not being perfect.

Villa Management is about bending over backwards but not to the point we break our backs.

And acceptance is about understanding you can’t be perfect or right for every single person.

I have learnt in life that 70% of perfect is good and 80% of perfect is great.

This has saved my nervous system and ultimately my life as living in constant adrenalin pumping anxiety is not do-able and it is life threatening. I still spend a large majority of my time trying to push from good to great and I’m happy with that as I have very high standards. But I still need to ensure that 10% doesn’t take over my life and the last 2% of that 10% doesn’t take over my sanity.

I have learnt that good is good enough.

Yes I have learnt the hard way and I sometimes forget causing frustration and anguish.

But then it’s time to step back, take a deep breath and be thankful for all the GOOD in my life. As perfection is actually a myth based in skewed perspective. It is unattainable.

Being free from Perfectionism is literally a life saver.