If you know me as a friend, I can be a very kind and compassionate person. However, if you know me as a student at school or when I am assigned to do a task involving something that I am or I should be good at, I consider myself more of a perfectionist... as I always have a tendency of thinking or working too hard. Lately in my fieldwork experiences, I realized that my perfectionist ways can be interfering with my performance in various aspects.
Here is my little discovery-
1. I am not a native speaker in English. Therefore, I always try to find the best way to express what I write knowing that I will have my share of mistakes. As there are more charts that need to be done, the difference in the amount of time between me and an experienced professional begins to show.
2. Related to this non-native speaker "thing", I also understand that I will have an occasional lapse of finding the right words when it comes to speaking. That can be a scary situation when I am running a group and I couldn't come up with the right way to explain to the clients I serve about what is going on... as I will then panic for no reason. Of course, when I do it in front of my CI, that will definitely be compounded.
3. I take the concept of client-centered concept a little far. Not that it isn't important, but I often find I say this to myself, "This is too hard." or "This doesn't fit this group." That really made me spend more time on groups than I think I should. It came in expense of my charting time.
4. I grew up in a country where teachers pretty much have total control of students. Even though I have been studying in the U.S. longer than in Hong Kong, I realized that I unconsciously feel that more control is better. In certain extent in dealing with clients with schizophrenia, this is good. However, going too far made me either inflexible when things go wrong or the fact that I could come up with a solution, but in retrospect it wasn't the best had I have more time to think about it.
5. Knowing that I need to reach a certain score for the midterm and especially final evaluation in order to pass fieldwork, I constantly worried that every mistake I made will show up in the evaluation. I become so mindful in thinking that I might have made more than my share of mistakes than a typical level 2 fieldwork student. It might be indeed true. But sometimes it takes me a while to realize that bouncing back from failure is also important... as it is important to not carry onto my time with clients.
6. My self-esteem and mental toughness are very good. However, the fact that this is the case completely masked the fact that my self-efficacy can be extremely low, especially in subject areas where I am not confident at all. I think this could be a big contributing factor!
While according to Occupational Science, everyone needs a certain level of stress to stimulate themselves and towards peak performance before the performance drops off. I find that my perfectionism actually created more stress than it really is. My next step is to find ways to cope. I am great at coping when I have the time to do it. However, I am the opposite at spots where I have to cope quickly. I feel that this might be the difference between the OT in me now and the OT I could become.
Of course, I can always look at it another way. My struggles will give me a sense of what a perfectionist might think... whether I become a CI having students like this or being an OT dealing with these clients in the future.