It’s not easy being perfect. Actually, it is harder than that. It’s impossible.
That is the key difference between striving for successes and striving for perfection.
One can be satisfied, and boosts self-confidence and motivation, whereas the other cannot, and will lead to continued fear of potential development areas and failure.
It can also have a dramatic impact on your self-esteem and could feed into feelings of anxiety and stress.
So, whilst the difference between the two seems minimal, it is in fact, major.
That’s why it is important to identify these tendencies of perfectionism and find ways in which we can transform them into healthier thoughts and behaviours.
Therefore, here are our 6 tips to help you overcome perfectionism and find greater satisfaction in your actions.
Embrace The Positives
It can be so easy to look at something you have done and see all the things that it isn’t. We can often be our own biggest critic.
However, even masterpieces are not perfect. The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.
Focusing on positives instead of negatives will take time, effort, and discipline; however, every habit-breaking mindset-shift does.
A way to begin this process could be to list three positives for every negative thing you identify. This will help to show you that when you have worked with care and dedication, then the good will always outweigh the bad.
Crucially too, whatever negatives you do identify are ultimately exciting opportunities to learn and develop yourself, rather than items which, once spotted, will eat you from the inside out.
Learn The Value Of Mistakes And Failures
This point continues on nicely from the theme of how we view negatives.
Because all negatives, mistakes and failures are amazingly valuable to us, when we learn to listen to them beyond the screaming that intensely reverberates around our minds when they happen.
When acting as a perfectionist however, your urgent desire to correct them may leave you none-the-wiser as to why they occurred in the first place, potentially leaving you exposed to the same challenges.
However, when approached and analysed with openness and composure, we can extract long lasting lessons from our shortcomings, making us even stronger in regard to knowledge and skillset.
Things do not always go without difficulties, and that is ok. Because it is our reactions to adversity that defines who we are and what we become.
Our frustrating fixation for the impossibility that is perfection can instead transform into an acceptance for good and an excitable curiosity for better.
Sometimes for perfectionists, the link between a task and perfection is much stronger than the one between the task and the reason for doing it.
When you identify and focus on the meaning of something that you are doing, it means that you are likely to look at the impact of what completing it will have. Rather than examining every fibre of the process, including those that are insignificant.
When you have a clear outcome behind something that you are doing, then the satisfaction that comes from achieving it will make it clear than any imperfections are not worth the brainpower to contemplate.
Be Open To Feedback
When your eyes are always on the unachievable prize that is perfection, it can lead to feelings of insecurity when areas for development are explored.
It’s like you are being exposed. However, what may feel like a personal attack, is actually incredibly helpful.
As we mentioned in the previous tip, when you find acceptance in being perfectly imperfect, then it is highly likely that you will be much more receptive to feedback.
Again, this tip may take time to action because we are breaking thought patterns, but the rewards make it so worthwhile.
You Don’t Always Need To Be Productive
I still battle with this one.
Sometimes I feel like I am strapping myself down and telling myself to relax which, as you can imagine, does not work.
Whenever I am idle, my mind always wanders into all the things I could be doing to maximise every second of every day. The truth is though, that driving for this kind of hyper-productivity is a one-way ticket straight to exhaustion and burnout.
Even if perfection was possible, how could you possibly achieve it without being at the peak of your powers?
Take away that burden of pressure on yourself and take time to breathe. Quiet time has now become some of my most valuable time, because having a battery that is fully charged is always better than just trying to get by on 40% for the whole day.
If you were a phone, you’d be flat just after lunch.
Be Self Aware When Goal Setting
I’m always incredibly cautious when it comes to writing about being realistic in your ambitions.
Who am I to define what’s realistic? I don’t want you to tame your wild ambition and adjust your scope towards something which makes you feel very little emotion.
That’s the part of goal setting that becomes addictive, the pride in progress and sensation of success. However, you do need to be vigilant when chasing this feeling, because you could easily sacrifice yourself along the way.
If you constantly find yourself obsessing with the aura of achievements that exist within a space and time that defies a person’s healthy mental and physical capabilities to reach, then it could do more harm than good.
The levels of stress and intensity alone from these types of goals can be extremely difficult to thrive under. Therefore, it is important to find that sweet spot.
A goal that gets you fired up, and a process to achieving it that won’t burn you out.
That is actually the best way I can round off this blog. Do not burn yourself out.
You should have high standards and expectations of yourself. That is key to achieving the things you want in life.
However, you need to be self-aware of when these expectations turn into negative pressures and perfectionist tendencies.
By identifying and implementing these tips, you are more likely to feel the satisfaction you deserve.
Alex & The Excel Team
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2022, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
About Excel Communications
Excel Communications is a learning and development consultancy based near London in the U.K. For more than 30 years; we have been collaborating with clients across the globe. Partnering with Excel empowers you to evolve your people and business by fuelling a love for learning. We work with you to create unforgettably, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results. View our case studies here. We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages. Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.
If you would like to watch our leadership masterclass recordings, you can access the latest leadership complimentary guide here.