Over the past two weeks several of my friends and business acquaintances have talked to me about the pressure they have of getting it ‘right’ all the time. They are worn out, exhausted, crabby, and complain a lot to others about how hard they work. They often put in many hours of hard work; sometimes doing things over and over because it just wasn’t ‘perfect’ in their minds.
3 Signals that You May be a Perfectionist
- Procrastination – if you often put off what you need to do, thinking that it is too hard, you’re not good enough or no one will like what you do, the effects are that you freeze up. You may have a lot of excuses so you just put things off or don’t accomplish anything at all. You miss deadlines. You want to keep making it better and better, but most likely, you become paralyzed and stop doing what you need to do. I like this quote by Margaret Atwood: “If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.?”
2. No one can do it as well as you – You feel no one else has the skills/experience/ talent to do it as well as you can. Do you (or others) think of yourself as a control freak? There are a lot of tasks you really need to delegate or outsource.
3. You are stressed, angry and disappointed most of the time. Everything is urgent. Nothing you or others do lives up to your high standards. The result is disillusionment, unhappiness and nothing ever getting done.
If you are a perfectionist, you may not realize this, but the pursuit of perfection is limiting. Perfectionists limit their energy, their output and their happiness in the pursuit of perfection.
What to do instead?
- Reach for excellence not perfection
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Michael J. Fox
2. Delegate or hire out those things you don’t do well, or have no business doing at all.
“Pursuit of perfection is futile. Instead, I prioritize and often realize goals or tasks I’ve been aiming for just aren’t that important.” Aisha Tyler
Give yourself permission to LET GO of what doesn’t serve you or others. When a task becomes stressful, overwhelming or just plain loathsome, step back and figure out your options. It may be asking someone else for help, hiring a contractor or virtual assistant. It could be that you have taken on too much work or that what you are doing is filler, non-essential and unnecessary. (really!)
Step back and view what you are doing from someone else’s perspective – pull apart the tasks and prioritize into these categories: Must do, Want to, Would be nice to. Just concentrate on the Must DO. This will help you whiz through the work.
3. Be honest about the root causes of your procrastination – is it really an issue with your self-confidence and not about having the perfect speech, video or website? Do you worry about what others will think of you if your work isn’t perfect? Ask for some support from someone you trust and talk this through. Be more gentle on yourself. Be loving to yourself. We are not here to dot every ‘I ‘and cross every ‘T.’
We are here to love ourselves and others and find joy everyday, not perfection. Know that life is a series of small moments, beautiful experiences and meaningful relationships. Put more focus on what matters most.
Life has fuller and richer gifts in store for us if we just let go of these artificial goals and standards that really have no meaning and bring no joy. Aim high but put it in perspective. Balance your need for perfection with smiling more and letting go.
Please leave your comments below.
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