This post is written for the perfectionists – you know who you are.
I’ve been coaching, speaking and writing for over thirty years. Here’s what I’ve discovered about myself and many of the women with whom I coach: Trying to be “perfect” is a no win situation.
I had first-hand experiences with “perfectionism” during this past week:
1. I am formatting one of my cozy mystery Kindle’s into a paperback. While editing I discovered a few words missing, the wrong tense used in one sentence, some of the dialogue had punctuation mistakes, etc. Nothing major, but enough to have me feeling embarrassed about producing a book that is less than perfect.
2. A coaching client continues to do unconscious things to sabotage her successes. She’s placing too much stress on herself, her career and her need to be everything to everyone. She’s beating herself up when everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. She has set a standard of success so high, no one could possibly reach it.
3. One coaching client had a fabulous success recently and yet, it wasn’t enough. She found flaws with everything. It wasn’t “up to her standards.”
You get my point. I could on and on with examples – I see them around me all the time. Trying to live up to “a perfect person standard” is a no win situation and often leads to self-sabotaging habits and behaviors.
Let me share a definition of PERFECT I found on Merriam-Webster.com: Being entirely without fault or defect: Flawless
Honestly, how many things in life are flawless?
Can you quickly name five?
If I were a betting person, I’d bet you couldn’t name five quickly. Why then do we try so hard to be “flawless?”
I also found this while reading Psychology Today:
For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It’s a fast and enduring track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn’t a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance. Perfection, of course, is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality, and often it leads to procrastination. There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. The need for perfection is usually transmitted in small ways from parents to children, some as silent as a raised eyebrow over a B rather than an A.
Here’s a link to read their website and more about perfection: Psychology Today – Perfectionism
I’m asking you to take a good look at your desire/need to be perfect.
* Where / when did you learn or decide that being perfect was important?
* Does the desire to be perfect often lead to stress or physical illness?
* Is the desire to be “flawless” worth the emotional and physical turmoil?
It’s up to you to create a more peaceful environment for yourself. If trying to be perfect isn’t providing the hope, health and happiness you want in life, are you ready to do something about it?
My Challenge for You: Ease up on your need to be perfect.
1. Give yourself some leeway and breathing space.
2. Start a success journal. Write down one positive success each day for the next thirty days.
3. Learn to appreciate your accomplishments, even the small ones.
4. Give yourself compliments for a job well done.
5. Focus on what you’re doing right, not on what’s going wrong.
6. Strive for excellence, not for perfectionism.
7. Treat yourself with love and respect.
I’ll say it again – trying to be perfect is a no win situation!
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