Challenges, Confidence, Tips

Perfectionism: The obstacle to personal and professional success

Are you a perfectionist?  

• The project has to be perfect – the first time

• You go on a diet and it’s all or nothing – all of the time

• Start an exercise program – every day and can’t miss a day

• If you get a grade less than an A – your world falls apart

• Your presentation goes off track – you consider it a failure

The above are all signs of perfectionism. Being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you are perfect!

Perfectionism is about being hypercritical and judgmental of yourself. People with perfectionist tendencies minimize their best efforts – which are typically very good – and we blame our lapses on character defects – not good enough, not smart enough, not focused enough.

Perfectionists live with a report card or measure of success graph all the time!

Striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards can help one achieve one’s goals – however with no flexibility or ability to adapt when things aren’t perfect can cause one to give up and be self-critical to a point where goals disappear and innovation gets stifled.

Cures for the perfectionist? I found these in a leadership book and thought I would share. I keep them at my desk for a gentle reminder that No one is perfect!

1. Acknowledge and cultivate the part of you that sees yourself as as “good enough.”

2. Make a list of your good personal and professional qualities.

3. Pay attention to your “all or nothing” thinking and remind yourself that you don’t need to be the best in everything in order to be respected.

4. Try to be less critical of other people, and treat them with patience and compassion.

5. Participate in some activities that aren’t competitive by nature – volunteer, community work, practice being a member of a team vs. the driver of a team.

Be forgiving of yourself! After all, you are not perfect and you were never meant to be perfect. Life is all about learning from your opportunities and growing into the best you that you can be.

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