Are you the kind of person who criticises yourself when you don’t do a good enough job at work?
Do you hate making mistakes?
Have you ever sacrificed your sleep, personal life or health for your work?
If you answered yes to the above then you may be a perfectionist.
Many women I know wear their perfectionistic tendencies like a badge of honour.
I know I used to.
But there’s a difference between having high standards and being a perfectionist.
It’s important to know the distinction if you want to do great work in your career without sacrificing your sanity, health and relationships.
Having high standards is about striving for excellence. Having high standards pushes you to reach your peak level of performance. You compete with yourself to find your growth edge – a great thing if you ask me!
Perfectionism on the other hand takes those high standards and raises the bar even higher. So much so that achieving those standards are almost impossible to reach. Not just as an end goal but the process of achieving them too — where no mistakes are tolerated along the way.
Too many women fall into the trap of having to be perfect.
They believe that it’s a disaster to make mistakes and that they will be a huge disappointment to others if they miss a step.
This is crazy.
In the very pursuit of reaching your peak level of performance you’ll be stretching beyond your comfort zone and doing things you haven’t done before. That’s what learning and growing is all about.
And when you’re learning and growing, chances are you’ll make a mistake.
It’s perfectly OK. In fact it’s inevitable.
Would you expect a baby to master walking on its first go?
No, right? All the mamas will know that it’s just plain ridiculous to expect that of them.
We expect babies to fall on their butts and do a few face plants too. That’s part of the journey. That’s how they learn how to do it the right way….through their mistakes.
They fall but they get back up again.
The same applies to you and your career.
When you land that promotion…you’ll make mistakes.
When you start a new career at another company or industry….you’ll make mistakes.
When you start a new business and leave behind your corporate career….you’ll make mistakes.
It’s part of the process.
Will it hurt? Probably.
Will there be embarrasing moments? For sure.
Will it kill you? No.
So quit being so hard on yourself and embrace those mistakes already and embrace not being perfect.
It’s totally unnecessary and unrealistic.
Need a little help?
I’ve got 5 tips on how you can turn those perfectionistic tendencies into a healthy high standards which get you out of the office on time so you can have the career and life that you love.
Firstly way to go for recognising that you may have a tendency towards perfectionism and reading this far so that you do something about it. That’s the first step!
Here are 5 other tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Take an honest and objective look at what you’re trying to achieve, is it reasonable?
Most people try and squeeze in too much in too little time. Take an honest look at what your goals are and ask yourself what it’s going to take to make it happen.
Some people I know what to get promoted to VP by a certain age, or replace their corporate salary in a new business. Whilst these goals are admirable…getting there takes work and will require action that is beyond your comfort zone.
Give yourself some breathing room and allow yourself the time and space to make those goals happen.
Tip #2: Aim for a “C” not an “A” in some areas of your life
We’re used to being told to always do our best. And whilst that’s awesome. I do believe there are times to not go 100%. What do I mean?
If you’re a mum maybe you can buy the store bought cookies for the class lunch instead of making them fresh.
If you’re in corporate maybe you rework an old presentation instead of having to rehash a new one from scratch.
We can sometimes put so much pressure on ourselves to do it all. And that’s an idea of perfection that just isn’t doable. Something’s gotta give..and usually that’s your sanity, your health or your relationships.
Pick your battles and give some areas of your life an “A” for effort and other areas of your life a “C”. Really – it’s OK!
Tip #3: Step back and look at the bigger picture
At the end of the day, what really matters? Did it matter if you didn’t make that point in your presentation to your boss? Or if you mumbled over a word in your sales pitch?
What matters is the end goal. So quit putting so much pressure on yourself that everything in between has to look perfect and just go with it.
Tip #4: Ask for help
You don’t have to do it alone. Having high standards is great…it probably means that you want to do some pretty cool things in your life. Don’t try and do it alone. It takes a village.
Tip #5: Practice the mantra “progress over perfection”
When you allow yourself to make mistakes along the way and achieve micro amounts of progress that’s when you find true career success and fulfillment.
What do you do when you find yourself falling into the trap of perfection? How do you get out? I’d love to know.
Leave a comment below.
P.S. Are we friends on Instagram yet? Let’s hang out! Come and find me @neonlifesociety. See you there!