How to Overcome Perfectionism
What areas of your life do you set mirage standards for yourself in?
Mirage standards = unattainable guidelines and expectations that you set for yourself, which seem to move further away with every step you take towards them.
Setting these impossibly high standards for yourself is a problem because they hold you back from achieving more in your personal and professional life.
The Negative Effects
1. Perfectionism slows your progress and steals your day.
Demanding perfection sends us into hypercritical mode.
And in hypercritical mode, we end up losing mental energy by nitpicking and hunting for mistakes to fix.
By the time you feel satisfied enough to move onto the next task you are mentally drained or you look at the clock and realized that the day is over.
2. Perfectionism sucks the fun out of doing
Instead of enjoying the process you get wrapped up in making sure that the end product is just right and look at every thing you do through a magnifying lens.
3. You end up overworking yourself by spending too much time on simple tasks and too much energy stressing the little things.
4. You become unhappy because what you do is never quite good enough.
You continually raise the bar of what’s expected of yourself and spend days chasing your tail trying to reach unattainable standards.
5. It holds you back from living your life to the fullest
How many times have you put off trying something new or going after something you’ve wanted because you weren’t quite there yet?
There’s always a new goal, skill, or milestone that you have to reach before putting yourself out there.
From book launches, to emails sequences, and even first dates.
There’s a long list of things that I’d put on the back burner and forgotten about because I could never meet the bar I had set for myself to qualify to do them.
Signs You Struggle with Perfectionism
1. You constantly put off working on anything that’s important to you because you don't think you have the skills as yet.
So, you procrastinate to build your skills and wait until your energy is just right so you can do the job well the first time.
2. You avoid doing things, following through on a project, or sharing your end product because you worry that your work will be criticized.
3. You compare yourself to others without considering the effort that they’ve put in to get to where they are right now.
4. You have an urge to be the best at whatever you’re doing.
Combining this fun fact with your habit of comparing yourself to others means that you are constantly raising the bar for yourself.
When you fall short of achieving your increasingly long list of high standards, you feel guilty, disappointed, or like you’ve failed.
5. You take criticism and feedback personally and feel the need to defend your work.
You become hypercritical about yourself and seeing small mistakes irks you.
6. You have OID - obsessive improvement disorder
Yes, I just made this up.
But this is completely a thing, guys.
This is where you find yourself correcting the same thing over and over again.
As you re-work and re-edit the same thing, you become stuck on a single step and unable to move forward.
7. You cringe at the sight of old mistakes that you've made.
(I’ve been guilty of this one)
Finding typos and format errors in old posts I wrote made me want to curl up in a ball, hide, and quit blogging all-together.
8. You start over a lot and have a collection of unfinished project.
Instead of working through a mistake, you throw the whole project away and start on a new leaf.
The Fix | How to Overcome Perfectionism
The best way to overcome perfectionism is to get to the root of it.
Four main causes of perfectionism are: a fear of failure, a fear of disappointing others, a fear or criticism, and the fear of not being enough.
Hmm, are you seeing the same trend that I'm seeing?
All four causes include some form of a fear.
1. Fear of failure
You don't want to fail. Who does?
You put a lot of energy into what you do, so to make sure your work isn’t wasted you set high standards for yourself.
At the end of the day your perfectionism is actually a productivity hack.
Get it done right the first time and you won't have to start over or end up with a failed project. right?
But here's the problem, this all -or-nothing approach is actually counterproductive and is sabotaging your success.
There’s always going to be room for improvement as you grow and technology advances.
You can spend weeks, months, or even years trying to perfect anything - big or small.
Your refusal to move onto the next step until the current one is flawless means that things take you 10x longer than they should and you end up progressing at a snail’s pace.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your productivity hack is actually holding you back.
The Fix: Allow Good Enough to Be Good Enough.
Once you’ve realized that you've crossed the line from working towards quality work to aiming for perfectionism, stop what you're doing, make the decision to allow good enough to be enough, and move on the next step.
2. Unhealthy Comparisons and a Fear of Not Being Enough
This comes from comparing yourself to others.
It's great to draw inspiration from the greats but you should beware of falling into the Perfectionist Trap.
We fall into this trap in our professional lives by comparing ourselves to our colleagues and other businesses.
And we fall into this trap in our personal lives by comparing our looks and everyday lives to airbrushed models and filtered pictures of friends on Instagram and Facebook.
Making these comparisons are dangerous because they leave you feeling inadequate or not good enough.
The Fix: “Fall in love with the process of becoming the very best version of yourself” and “Stop comparing your behind the scenes to other people’s highlight reel.”
Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can with the resources you have.
Your journey is unique and perfect in its own way.
You are doing a great job- so stop looking to the side at what others are doing.
Keep your head high, look forward, and take that next step.
3. Fear of Disappointing Others
You care about what others think about about you and the work you do.
You want your friends and family to be proud of you and you want your employers to remain happy about their decision to hire you.
But here’s the thing- there’s a difference between aiming for quality and aiming for perfection.
Quality work may have a few flaws in it, but it gets done in a timely manner and it gets shared.
Perfect work, on the other hand, is typically given up on after the 2nd or 3rd attempt.
And for the 1% of the times that you are able to make something “perfect”, you end up missing the deadline and become mentally drained during your pursuit of perfection.
At the end of the day, presenting quality work with a few flaws is better than handing in no work at all.
“My imperfect voice and my imperfect story is more powerful than the perfect
The Fix: STOP STARTING OVER. Continue to push forward, flaws and all, stop starting over, and share your work once you're done.
Most won’t notice the little mistakes you stress about and at the end of the day, getting nothing is much more disappointing that getting something with a few errors.
Don’t you agree?
4. Fear of Criticism
It doesn’t feel good to have others disapprove of you, so you look at everything with a magnifying glass and become your biggest critic.
This allows you to avoid experiencing the sting of being rejected, critiqued, or disapproved by others- because well… you do it to yourself first.
So if something doesn’t meet your insanely high standards, it doesn’t see the light of day.
“Perfectionism is just a failed strategy to avoid criticism”
Well, I’ve got some good and bad news for you.
The bad news?
You will never be everyone’s cup of tea.
It doesn’t matter who you are or how great you are at what you do, there will always be a group of people who disapprove.
Pop Quiz: What do Beyonce, Diana Ross, Tyler Perry, Oprah, your cousin, and Jesus have in common?
They all have people who disapprove of them.
The good news?
Once you’ve accepted the fact that you will be criticized no matter what you do, that gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want to do it.
The Fix: Accept Criticism to Be Freed From It.
No matter how many re-edits you make, how cute your look, or how clean your home is, someone will be waiting to critique you and what you do.
Shift your mindset from trying to please everyone and avoiding criticism to trying to please yourself and enjoying the process of creating, doing, and being.
Kacey Musgraves says it best: “You’re damned if you do. And you're damned if you don’t. So you might as well just do. Whatever you want.”
So in conclusion, work through mistakes instead of starting over, check your standards, accept criticism, reject comparison, and allow good enough to be good enough.
Because what you do is enough.
Before I Go...
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Hope this helps!
See you around,