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WHY PERFECTIONISM IS A PROBLEM (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!)

All of the mid career women leaders I meet want to do a great job. 

The trouble is, many of them think that a great job = a perfect job.

And while intentionally created, high quality work is a must, perfect work can do more harm than good.

Here’s how …

Striving for perfectionism creates stress and sucks the joy out of working.

Although having meticulous attention to detail is an asset, most perfectionists will tell you that they would actually prefer to not be so fixated on achieving a ‘perfect’ end goal. 

Why? 

Because rather than tasks and projects feeling like enjoyable creative endeavours, striving for perfectionism turns them into stressful, overwhelming and energy sucking to-do’s.

Not fun – and I truly believe that work should be enjoyable and rewarding!

You’re going round in circles, striving for an unattainable goal.

Judging something as ‘perfect’ is 100% subjective which ultimately means that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist! We are all unique humans, who have our own special perspectives, ideas and outlooks, and what you and your boss/colleagues/team label as ‘perfect’ will always be different. 

You’re never going to be able to please everyone … but if you’re striving for perfection, you may just send yourself crazy trying!

It slows you down. A LOT.

Most of the perfectionists I support admit to getting things done more slowly than they should. Not because they’re lazy, but because they’re investing so. much. time into getting every minute detail exactly right. 

It gives you a bad reputation.

Because perfectionists typically work slower, they have a tendency to not get things done on time. Sometimes, they don’t even get things finished at all! This isn’t a good look and it definitely isn’t going to get you seen (well, not for the right reasons anyway!)

As well as this, although perfectionists tend to look busy, they’re not actually being effective. Working effectively is what I call Queen Bee work, and it’s this work that gets women recognised and promoted for getting the work that matters out there in the world.

So, what to actually do about your perfectionism?

You switch your focus. 

My mantra is – PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION.

PROGRESS is what will move the dial on the work that matters and get you seen and celebrated for the incredible asset you are.

Progress looks like:

      • Putting clear project timelines in place, and sticking to them
      • Shifting your standards from 100% perfection to 80% excellence (for all but the most critical task like board reports!)
      • Coming back to the big organisational picture when perfectionism tries to rear it’s unhelpful head
      • Striving to produce great work, not perfect work (remember, it doesn’t exist!)
      • Speaking kindly to yourself (because perfectionism can say some pretty nasty things)
      • Seeing your projects as fun and enjoyable creative endeavours, not simply tasks to tick off a list
      • Asking for help if you need it! No-one expects you to be Super Woman, and teams are there to support one another!

More than anything though, I want you to ask yourself, “WHY do I strive for perfection?”

It’s all good and well to have strategies in place, but if you can get to the root cause and the WHY behind your perfectionism, these strategies are more likely to stick.

Keen to chat more about how to become a recovering perfectionist, by shifting your focus to progress over perfection? Come and join me in my free Facebook group for mid career professional women. Click here to join!

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