Do you suffer from perfectionism? This can take place when you think you need to learn more before starting, when you think you need to keep checking something and refining it over and over, when you create stories in your mind about a catastrophic outcome if you put something out into the world that is less than perfect, when you worry that people will not approve of you if something is less than perfect, or when you try to control situations and other people who are not meeting your expectations. While perfectionism can be motivating at times, the problem with perfectionism is that in the pursuit of trying to be perfect, you get less done, you feel like you are disappointing others, or you feel less confident in yourself.
Perfectionism is usually driven by internal pressure. The standards of a perfectionist are usually much higher than the standards of others and often, the standards are unrealistic. Perfectionists spend a lot of time focusing on mistakes and are driven by fear of not performing up to the expectations they set for themselves. Perfectionists may have “black and white thinking” where something is either 100% good, or 100% bad. They are not okay with things being “good enough”, “almost perfect”, or “acceptable”.
In addition, perfectionists measure their success only by the end result. They don’t give credit to their effort, or to the process of getting to the end result, and therefore can miss out on the positive experience of growing and learning along the way. Because of this, perfectionists can also look like procrastinators. This is because until they are 100% certain their end result will be perfect; they hold off on doing anything. In these instances, the drive for perfectionism can result in negative consequences because the perfectionist is viewed as unproductive or not able to meet deadlines.
Below are 5 tips for overcoming perfectionism.
Working with a therapist or a coach can also be helpful in changing perfectionist thinking. If you feel you are a perfectionist, know that there are others who respect you and value you, even if everything you do is not up to your perfectionist standards. You can change your thinking and get to a place where you set realistic goals for yourself that allow you to enjoy the process of working towards them, instead of fearing failure.
If you are interested in learning more about “black and white thinking”, you can download my free guide to 5 Common Thought Distortions HERE. This guide will help you understand these thought distortions, why they occur, and offers specific strategies you can use to challenge and “undo” them over time. You can grab it HERE.