Perfectionism is a behavior that drives the results in our lives. It’s usually accompanied by thoughts like ‘this must be perfect’ or ‘there’s no room for error.’ While most might view perfectionism as a good thing because it drives success, there are also downsides.
First, let’s talk about why the tendency to be a perfectionist exists. One of my mentors, Brooke Castillo, says that perfectionists are scared people. There’s truth to this. Most people that are perfectionists are focusing on how their results are viewed by others, not the result itself. This type of mindset can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you have perfectionist qualities such as: procrastination, highly critical of yourself and others, never reach the impossible standards you set for yourself, personalize criticism, you will go through this life unhappy and constantly disappointed.
You think these behaviors are protecting you, but the truth is, they prevent you from connecting with others in a meaningful way. Other detrimental side effects of perfectionism are that it prevents you from taking risks, keeping you stuck. You aren’t able to be creative and aren’t open to new ideas. You go through life never really being satisfied because you’re always thinking of how things could and should be better.
So now that you know how perfectionism isn’t serving you, what can you do about it? In my years coaching, I’ve learned that the secret sauce to all growth is self-love and respect. If you’re less concerned with the opinions of others and more concerned with what makes you happy and fulfills your purpose in being here, you’ll be a much happier person. Also, most perfectionists don’t allow themselves unscheduled time where they do things that bring them joy. They usually have the work-hard, play-hard mentality with nothing in between. They’re either working (overtime) or on a rigidly planned vacation. Discover what brings you joy and sprinkle a little bit of that into your life daily. Along with self-love, practice lowering your standards. I bet 9 times out of 10, doing something 80% is acceptable. Give yourself permission to embrace the process of reaching your goals or performing your tasks, don’t just focus on the results.
I have to confess that I wrote this blog post because I, struggle with perfectionism. This is why my blog posts haven’t been more consistent, I feel like they have to be perfect, so I procrastinate. I’ve accepted that being a life coach doesn’t mean I have it all together, it means I’m more aware of my struggles. I’m now ok knowing that I’ll always be a work in progress and I wish the same for you!