Perfectionism is another common affliction of career-oriented people. Yes, people like you and I tend to pursue perfection in all areas of their life. No wonder you have made it so far in academia and your career is also so successful.
A perfectionist is a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. To a perfectionist, anything that is less than perfect is unacceptable. Perfectionists are overcritical of both themselves and others. They strive for high performance standards and of course their results should be flawless.
Sure perfectionist has great effects on your career, but it has a huge dark side,
- Being a perfectionist will not allow you to build excellent relationships. No one will enjoy working or hanging out with you.
- You won’t be able to start important projects because you will wait until the perfect circumstances. You won’t bring your services to market fast enough, because they won’t be good enough.
- You won’t be effective. In search for perfection you will go beyond the point of diminishing returns: every second you spend on the project your results go down.
- Being a perfectionist makes you a bad leader. You won’t be able to delegate: No one does anything as good as you. You will need to micromanage, correcting tiny mistakes that don’t make a difference.
- Stress could kill your performance as you cannot stop thinking about work, and you cannot stop worrying and thinking about past “failures”.
Can you imagine the effect that his has on a relationship?
Perfectionism can kill a relationship very quickly. As a perfectionist, you tend to prioritize work above anything else. That not only includes your health and your intimate relationships. You sacrifice everything for perfection. So spending time playing, laughing, resting, and hugging are just a waste of time.
When choosing between love and career, your choice would be easy: Go back to your work. You will spend less time with your loved ones. Even when you’re there, your mind and spirit are somewhere else. It’s even possible that you bring your work to your home, discharging all your frustrations from your work onto your loved ones. Frustration is another mark of the perfectionist, because your impossibly high standards are just that: impossible.
You might be the kind of perfectionist that imposes your standards on your loved ones. In your view, they should follow your standards of perfection to the letter. Your partner should do the dishes following your procedure. Your children should have the highest scores at school all the time.
Perfectionism has a terribly negative effect on relationships. Your partner will feel terribly unappreciated by the constant excessive high demands. Your children will grow with a poor self-worth.
Are you endangering your relationships and your career success by being a perfectionist?
If your answer is yes, I got good news for you. It is possible to heal from this. I warn you that it will be a long journey, but it’s totally worth it. Here you have some of my favorite powerful medicines to heal from perfectionism,
1. Identify the reasons behind it
We are fed perfectionism with the breast milk. Both my parents are perfectionists. My dad would put all-nighters to provide the most perfect solution for his team. My mother would walk out for hours looking for the exact same blue shoes that would match with her outfit. With that consistent example I got the perfectionism illness. Just knowing that has allowed me to be more compassionate with myself. Now I can see that what I’m looking for in my search for perfection is to be a “good girl”, to honor my parents. When I remember this I ask myself: what do my parents want from me really? I know it, I just need to remember it. They want me to be happy.
I bet that you share this with me. I bet you want to do it better than the best, because you want to honor your parents, your country, your culture, your heritage. When you accept this, take a deep breath. Take distance. Look how far you have gone. Look how remarkable is what you have accomplished. Add all the love you have to your ancestors and be at peace with your creation. Perfectionism will vanish and creativity will flourish.
2. Make joy a priority
When we enjoy what we do we create wonders. Joy is a better source of greatness than perfectionism. So if your objective is to great something great, it’s more likely that you’ll achieve it if you prioritize joy. Just ask yourself: am I having fun? If not, think how you could do so. Play your favorite music. Wear your favorite clothes. Have a laugh for no reason. Laugh at your perfectionism. Embracing the joy of the journey will heal your perfectionism. See that all you need is coming into being, and in the imperfection of this process is perfect.
3. All is perfect
Look back at your life and make a list of the most horrible things that happened to you. I got my share of drama: miscarriage, laid off, anorexia and more. What is yours? Once your make this list, think about all the blessings that each one of those monstrous experiences brought to your life. The miscarriage brought me infinite time abundance. Being laid off brought me my current business and my family. My anorexia taught me to ask for help. Yvette van Boven, cancer survivor has written a book with this idea behind. She entitled it “Cancer as a gift”. Isn’t it an uplifting way to see the worst in our life.
Now think about the tiny horrible things: delays, spilled orange juice, typos, etc. What blessings could they have? Could it be possible they had one? The other day I was late to an event. I missed an important part of the content of a lecture. Before I could launch a perfectionism attack against me, I took a deep breath and asked myself: “I wonder what good would come out of this”. So at that very moment showed up. There she was a lady I met years ago, who could be the perfect partner for my next project. Without my delay, I wouldn’t have met her.
Embrace it: What happens is always the best that happens. Open your eyes for the blessing that the deviation from your plan brings. Wonder: what good would come out of this?
See your perfectionism vanished and a perfect life emerging.
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