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Let’s Talk About…. Perfectionism

Let’s Talk About...Perfectionism!

It’s week 2 of our three-week series about some of my favorite “P” words.

Last week we tackled PROCRASTINATION. 

Let’s Talk About…Procrastination!

And I loved hearing from so many of you about the task you chose to tackle and get done! YES! :high five:

So…let’s continue the discussion with another thing that might be stopping you from obtaining your goals and getting what you deserve – and that’s PERFECTIONISM.

What is Perfectionism?

GoodTherapy defines perfectionism as: the need to be or appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection.

I'm Not Perfect

Now, I’m not perfect. My flaws are out there for you to see. I talk about them. I share them. I even embrace them. 

And I definitely subscribe to the idea of continuous improvement versus perfectionism.

But I know for many of you, that’s not the case. 

And this perfectionism can be crippling. It can prevent you from reaching your goals or putting yourself out there. It can keep you from getting to that next level that you so want to achieve.

Are you a Perfectionist?

But how do you know if you suffer from perfectionism versus just a need to do your very best work?

  1. Highly critical of yourself and others

  2. Fear of failure paralyzes you from moving forward

  3. Suffer from low self-esteem because your self-worth is defined by your success

  4. Don’t ask for help

  5. Struggle at getting things done on time

  6. Mistakes mean you’re not worthy

  7. You do everything possible to hide your flaws

  8. You are unable to celebrate your successes

  9. You are never satisfied

If you read those and thought to yourself, “Yes, I can relate to this!” – then you are probably a perfectionist.

Perfectionism is not Healthy!

And while people used to think of perfectionism in a positive way – “Her quality of work is top-notch! She’s such a perfectionist!” – more and more often, perfectionism is getting the recognition it needs as a trait that’s not healthy.

Yes, that’s right – perfectionism is not healthy.

It can be a big burden to carry – at home, at work – even on social media. 

Because nobody’s perfect.

We all make mistakes.

We all have flaws.

It’s part of being human.

But if you want to conquer perfectionism so you can take meaningful action – without compromising your need to put forth your best effort – then know that there are things you can do!

How to Conquer Perfectionism

  1. Acknowledge that you are a perfectionist.

Yes, knowing that you are a perfectionist is the first step in overcoming it. By simply acknowledging it – and knowing the signs of it – you can work to make it less prevalent in your life.

  1. Be realistic.

You know – getting that huge project done in two hours for your boss just might not be realistic. And if it’s not realistic – you need to make it realistic. Can you have it done by end-of-day or tomorrow by 10 a.m.? 

Setting realistic goals and expectations is crucial.

  1. Change your perspective.

Perfectionists often only see things as they want to see them. But if you change your perspective to that of those involved with whatever it may be – a project at work, cleaning your house, etc. – you might find that it eases your perfectionist tendencies. Your boss may only need rough numbers right now and you can bet your kids don’t care if the house is immaculate.

  1. Look at the big picture.

In the grand scheme of things, is answering that email before you leave work a must? Can it wait until tomorrow morning? When you look at the big picture, you might just find that some things can wait – or slide – and it’s going to be just fine.

Focus on the Good Stuff

  1. Compromise when you can.

Life is filled with compromises – but perfectionists often struggle with this. After all, you want things done your way. But if you can learn to compromise, you will find that a huge burden is lifted from your shoulders. And you might find that more is getting accomplished and that you are reaching your goals – maybe even faster than you imagined.

  1. Focus on the good stuff.

Guess what? You are AWESOME! And you do lots of good stuff – and that’s where your focus should be. Not on the bad. Not on the negative. Focus on the good.

Handling Feedback

  1. Know that you will make mistakes.

And let’s be realistic…mistakes will happen. All you can do is apologize and try to correct them. 

  1. Learn to handle feedback/criticism.

This is a tough one. Perfectionists usually do not handle feedback or criticism well. After all, you put a lot of time and effort into whatever it was – and how dare someone critique what you’ve done? But feedback is part of life. And your way of doing something is not necessarily somebody else’s way. And when you can handle feedback gracefully and learn to incorporate it into your actions – life will be much better.

Avoid Procrastinating

Last week we talked about how procrastination is a way to avoid feeling scared or anxious or nervous – and perfectionism often leads to procrastination – because you’re fearful of negative feedback. (Yup…perfectionists are often procrastinators.) Don’t procrastinate. Tackle “it” head on – and to the best of your ability – and move on.

Take Action

Okay…all my perfectionists – what’s your game plan this week? What’s ONE thing you can do to minimize your perfectionism and maximize your results? I want to know! Comment on this blog or leave a comment on my social media!