The pitfalls of perfection

How many times have you heard people claim that their biggest weakness is perfection? What they are actually trying to imply is that they don’t have any weaknesses. Striving for perfection is not only unattainable, but it can be a negative in both the workplace and your personal life. You may never feel fulfilled, and holding yourself – and others – to these standards can be hard on everyone around you.

And if you look throughout history, entrepreneurs and business success stories have credited their success to learning through failure.

If you are accustomed to striving for perfection, leaving it behind is hard. There are a few tips to help you overcome the pursuit of perfection.

  1. Become self-aware. There are two steps here. Firstly recognising and admitting that you have a tendency to strive for perfection is important. Secondly you need to realise in which aspects of your life this trait is most evident. It can be professionally, with your family, or even your personal experience.
  2. Be mindful of situations. Once you are aware of your perfection traps, try and check yourself whenever a negative thought about yourself is served up in your head. Be mindful when this happens and transform negative self-talk into positive reinforcement.
  3. Cut yourself some slack! Often perfectionists have very high expectations of themselves or may compare themselves to others and this is probably the biggest cause of angst and unhappiness in our lives. When you’re assessing your performance, look at how far you have come in your journey and congratulate yourself for any hurdles you have overcome along the way.
  4. Practice the 80/20 rule. That means accepting and being happy with good enough as aiming for perfection can often mean you never finish a project or task, yet 80 percent allows you to attain your goal and learn some lessons along the way.
  5. Celebrate success. Take the time to appreciate your achievements and be thankful for your unique talents and skills. If that seems too hard, start slowly and think of 3 things you are proud of accomplishing, no matter how small.

If striving for perfection is ingrained into your being, it can be difficult to shake but by taking the time to work through the exercises above, you’ll actually end up becoming your best self – for you and in the eyes of others.