Mary Poppins – a cautionary note.


Perfectionism doesn’t help you. Instead it makes things harder as you put yourself under more and more pressure to measure up.

Growing up I loved the film Mary Poppins and watched it many times. I longed to live in Cherry Tree Lane. On long rainy afternoons I imagined what it would be like to be whisked into a pavement chalk drawing.

How fantastic to go on a carousel horse riding adventure!

How thrilling (said in stiff upper lip British accent) to ‘go fly a kite, up to the highest height and send it soaring!’

I greatly admired Mary Poppin’s bag packing skills. It would be so practical to be able to fit a fully sized lamp into a carpet bag!

Sometimes I wondered why when I had medicine that it was not accompanied by ‘a spoonful of sugar.’ I wished that I could tidy up my toys using the magic of Mary.

‘Spit spot’ and ‘off we go!’ were motivations to my mornings.

Recently I was thinking about Mary again on one of my walks and in connection with the work that I do with clients on handling perfectionism in their lives.

I remembered the point in the film where Mary’s height is measured as ‘practically perfect in every way.’ This is written on the tape measure.

As I child watching Mary Poppins I thought how wonderful to be practically perfect in every way, I really must try harder at EVERYTHING.

I found out that trying harder at everything leads to a whole lot of self-pressure and pressure is a sure fire way to cut off inspiration and joy.

Journal Prompts on Perfectionism

Here are some journal prompts for you to consider your own relationship to perfectionism:

Was there anything in your early life that encouraged you to reach for lofty standards?

If so, what was it?

What things did you try to be perfect at?

What impact did the perfectionism have on you and your confidence?

How do you feel about being ‘perfect’ now?

How have things shifted?

My journey with coaching and with mind body tools has helped me move away from the perfectionism that dominated my teens, twenties and thirties.

It still comes in occasionally but now I know what to do.

I know where I need to be kinder to myself. I know that being kinder to myself helps me to be kind to others too.

If perfectionism is something that you still struggle with you can consider working with me as your life coach.

Want to read more about how perfectionism has destructive traits? Here’s DR. BRENÉ BROWN on 4 destructive traits of perfectionism.

Or if perfectionism stopping you writing copy and content for your coaching practice or heart-led business? I can help!

email me at to discuss working together.