3 Clues That Spell Perfectionism (And How to Overcome It)



The topic of perfectionism came up this week, and I must say that it was very interesting listening to the people whom I was speaking with as we discussed what it was, how people may become perfectionists, and what some of the outcomes are.

What I enjoyed the most was the discussion (because I like hearing others' thoughts and opinions). And thinking about myself, I know that sometimes I can be a perfectionist. I'm not always a perfectionist, but I sometimes have the tendency to want to cross "T"s and dot "I"s that aren't necessarily essential.

This week, I want to look at 3 clues that spell this habit out. If you have any of these tendencies, you might be a perfectionist, but don't worry, I have some solutions that can help you work your way out.

1. You want to start from the beginning and try to cover as much as possible

Wanting to start from the beginning to cover as much as possible

Wanting to start from the beginning to cover as much as possible

You might call this being thorough or wanting to understand a concept from the root. Personally, I can be this type of individual because I want to understand how something works or how something makes sense. Well, let's say that I don't have the opportunity to start from the beginning because I need to complete something; if this is the case, then I have to pick up from the middle or wherever I need to start and carry forth from there.

Some perfectionists may have a problem with picking up from the middle because they feel like they've missed out on important details or that they can't move forward effectively. Truthfully, even if you miss out on some details with a concept or a topic, you can pick up with where you are and try to move forward as much as possible.

If you find yourself like this when learning about a new concept on the job, understanding a new service that your business is planning to offer, or preparing to teach a new class, then you've got to be able to understand that even if you miss some of the earlier concepts, you can pick up and move forward with what you have because moving forward is what matters when it comes to getting the job done, completing the service, or teaching the class.

Tip to put into practice:  If you find yourself faced with learning something new at a quick pace this week or figuring out a solution to a problem for which you don't have time to go back and search out earlier details, then take a step back and say to yourself, "Let me try to put the puzzle together the best that I can with the knowledge that I have." Your effort in this is making a step forward instead of getting trapped going backwards.


2. You can get started, but completing something is uncommon

You can get started but struggle completing

You can get started but struggle completing

So you're excited about a new project that you get to lead or implementing a new service for which you'll accept online booking. And, let's say that you start brainstorming ideas for the new project and start working on a PowerPoint presentation to show the team, but that PowerPoint barely gets finished.

You've spent almost 2 hours and only have ten slides, but your focus has mostly been "appeal" and how the team might grasp your use of different fonts or enjoy taking a brief poll in the middle of the PowerPoint...you see my drift. And as a perfectionist, you can sometimes get so wrapped up into your work that you barely complete. 

This week, I came across two phrases:  "Practice makes perfect" and "Sometimes good is good enough." Is the first phrase wrong? No, certainly not because the more that a person practices and develops a concept or skill, the better he or she can become. But, at times, finishing a project or having prepared for a new service solidly without all of the frills is better.

Tip to put into practice:  If you find yourself getting bogged down into the details and have a lack of time, compromise on any frills and make sure you have the essentials. Your customers, clients, or students want the essentials of what they've come to you for, and if you have any additional tweaks you can make, add them in if time permits.

3. You've become your own worst critic

You've become your own worst critic

You've become your own worst critic

While discussing perfectionism earlier this week with a group of people, we talked in general about someone who might not be confident with themselves to the point where they don't believe they have the capability to get something done--whether that's work, taking a test if they're in school, or even going through a process with a client.

Confidence matters because even if you're not the most experienced person in your role, you can tell yourself that I can be successful.

Self-talk matters, and it's important to speak positivity rather than negativity because our minds are powerful, and whatever we say we can end up believing whether that's to our benefit or disadvantage.

So when you find yourself sweating a meeting with a client who's on your schedule, or having to take an exam, speak good things to yourself and do your best - trying is better than not trying at all.

Tip to put into practice:  Watch out for the negativity bug this week - it can spread like wildfire, but you have the choice of whether to allow it to wreak havoc on your productivity or not. If you start feeling down or unsure of yourself, remember that you're here for a reason and you are important. Say that to yourself and that if you try to push through something that's difficult for you, at least you've made an attempt.

Did any of these clues spell out perfectionism for you? If so, put those tips into practice this week. If you know someone who could benefit from reading these tips, share it with them. We hope this post has been inspiring to you, and for now happy scheduling!