The Two Sides of Perfectionism

As a coach, I used to work with a lot of perfectionists. Not so much anymore. I now realize that when I was a perfectionist, I attracted perfectionists. Now that I give myself ‘a break’, love myself more; accept myself more, I am less concerned with getting it perfect. I’m more concerned with living and loving my life.


There are many good things about being a perfectionist: high standards, does the job right, gets the job done on time, responsible, people can count on you, you don’t let things fall through the cracks or drop any balls. All of these are excellent traits and welcomed by most companies and managers. The problem begins when you don’t do these things for the right reasons.


So what are the right reasons? To make something better, to appreciate your own finished product or project, a sense of accomplishment, because you truly believe (as my dad used to say), “Any job worth doing is worth doing right.” The wrong reasons are when you set yourself up to ‘earn’ your self worth through your work or deeds. When you try to manage or control other people’s perceptions about you by people pleasing, when you over-focus on the details to the point of multi-tasking and stressing yourself needlessly. When you are so focused on the task, you forget the people involved and are not respectful, compassionate and acknowledging of them.


Tasks matter yes; but people matter more and that includes you. You know that saying that goes something like: “People will forget what you say and what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel”? Perfectionism can make you feel good if done for the right reasons and leave you feeling empty, struggling and striving if done to control others or gain their approval. It can also leave others feeling the same way if you put your tasks and standards above their humanity.

Your self-esteem is yours (that’s why it’s called ‘self), don’t look to others for it – give it to yourself.

~ by transformativethoughts on January 5, 2015.

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