Pressured to be perfect?

We’re encouraged to pursue perfectionism in our careers, to the point where many of us continually exert significant pressure on ourselves. Every day we strive to reach the top of the mountain and we’re bitter when we don’t get there.

The truth is that perfectionism isn’t attainable, and it prevents you from being your brilliant best.

Finding it hard to get your head wrapped around the concept? Read on.

Research tells us that the costs of perfectionism outweighs any benefits. It can lead to job stress, burn out, workaholism, the inability to delegate, difficulty achieving work-life balance and health and wellbeing. Internationally known author, Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef, even says that ‘perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order’. It’s a major problem and one that’s getting worse.

We need overcome perfectionism and focus instead on becoming fully-fledged high achievers.

We need to get that being perfect in everything that we do, every single day, isn’t the best goal in life. Instead, we need to exercise a healthy pursuit of excellence and pat ourselves on the back when we achieve good things.

The question is how to shift our mindset.

Here are some tips Dr Kim Vella shared recently when interviewed on Canberra radio station 2CC.

  1. Decouple the idea of perfectionism and the healthy pursuit of excellence. Try to achieve excellence while knowing that perfectionism is not possible. Be satisfied with doing your best.
  2. Don’t set impossible goals that are unachievable or achievable at significant personal cost. Instead, set realistic goals. When you achieve them you’ll feel a sense of fulfilment.
  3. Learn to not blame yourself or others when something isn’t perfect. Remember that you’re only human, and so is everyone around you. Reality check your standards, learn from failure and move on quickly.
  4. Reality check your thinking and focus on the big picture. Do this by asking for feedback and through self-reflection.
  5. Learn to knock back a request. Don’t do more work than is reasonably expected or actually required.

Want to learn more?

  1. Sign up to our newsletter and receive our free e-booklet: ‘How to recover from perfectionism: When perfectionism and your career collide.’ Included is ’12 steps to overcome perfectionism.’
  2. Book a FREE 30-minute session with accredited executive career coach, Dr Kim Vella:

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