3 Ways Being a Perfectionist Can Hurt Your Success at Work
Perfection is subjective. That means, whatever is perfect to me, might not be perfect to you and so on and so forth. Thinking that you have to be perfect at anything in life is not only a barrier to your goals and life fulfillment, but you have directly set yourself up for failure as you spend your days chasing something that doesn’t exist. Having a perfection mindset for yourself and your life has its repercussions and can hinder your success in the workforce.
Here are 3 ways that Perfection hinders success at work and the Fix to overcome this Barrier:
Perfection decreases confidence
As you set out to chase something that does not exist you will find that there are many more failures than successes. Highlighting all the times you almost completed a project “perfectly” isn’t as confidence boosting as “I nailed it!” Your perceptions and self-talk play a huge role in the level of confidence you have and maintain on a day to day basis.
Often, a perfectionist will complete a project and right before it is about to be completed, they tweak it again and again. Nothing is good enough. When the time limit of a task has been met, a perfectionist will find that multiple people compliment them on their work, but they don’t feel that it was “their best.”
When you don’t take time to absorb your successes, you are missing an opportunity to build your confidence. Confidence is what you need to hurdle to the next level of your career, what you need to take healthy risks on bigger more meaningful projects, and to speak up in meetings, interviews, and leadership roles.
The Fix: During projects, talk nice to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and then get back on track. When projects are completed, before jumping on the next bandwagon of to-do’s, celebrate your successes. You can celebrate by sharing in your success with others who compliment you, with loved ones outside of work or even in your journal quietly to yourself. In fact, I encourage clients to keep a journal of their successes so they can reflect on how much they have achieved year after year.
Perfection burns bridges
Perfectionists often hold the world accountable to this faulty mindset, not just themselves. In the workforce you may find that you don’t often delegate tasks out because “Tom doesn’t do it as well as I do”, or “It’ll just be quicker if I do it.” People notice this behavior. When you give off the perception that only you do things well, you show a certain character side of yourself that many people (co-workers and bosses) may not like. In addition, your support lines at work may not want to assist you when you really end up needing them because they will fear that if they don’t do a task as “perfectly as you,” it will upset you. So, they either avoid you altogether or refuse when you ask for help.
Believe in your team. They may have some very creative or insightful ways of doing something that you never thought of. This new found open mind may generate new doors for you and your team on production, efficiency and bonding. Also, use supports and resources. As perfectionists, we get in a habit of portraying that we can do everything and do it well. But the truth is, this is exhausting and not always true. Instead, begin creating a new reputation today of someone that isn’t to prideful or perfect to ask for help.
Perfection keeps too much on your plate
As we discussed, a perfectionist often holds the world accountable to this mindset, too. Thus before we know it, as we hoard all the tasks because “no one does it like me” we find ourselves with a bunch a to-do’s on our plate. These tasks are often tedious, minuscule or not on path with our goals and bigger dreams. So, if you want to add something major to your agenda that would make you shine, you can’t put that on your plate because it is consumed with a bunch of littler roles. Should a perfectionist finally succumb to delegating out the smaller tasks, they end up turning into the ever hated, micro manager!
The Fix: Create a list of your goals, direction and dreams in your career. What tasks are currently on your plate that significantly align with that bigger goal? Reflect on what you can delegate out, and do that ASAP. Now, assess what roles or projects you should add on to your plate in order to shine, build credibility, or demonstrate leadership. What you end up choosing to delegate out, be sure that you don’t leap into the micromanager role. Instead, set checkpoint dates to discuss progress and goals.
Dr. Jaime Kulaga understands the complexities of women’s lives and helps to increase their self-awareness and self-esteem. She is the advocate of the under-appreciated, over-worked and un-fulfilled woman, dedicated to greatly improving and creating a gratifying, enjoyable life... rather than an unfulfilling existence. As the Author and Founder of the SuperWoman’s Guide to Fulfillment, Dr. Jaime has taught and worked with hundreds of women empowering them to discover their own greatness, and in turn, create a loving and gratifying environment for all those in their lives.
Through teaching at the University level, coaching and counseling individuals, couples, and businesses, she educates women, men and families to make better lifestyle decisions, steer the course of their lives, and use practical tools for deeper fulfillment and happiness.Dr. Jaime is a frequent mental health expert on TV and radio and has been featured on Forbes.com, on Maria Shriver's blog, and in Glamour, Self, and Prevention magazines for her expertise in work-life balance and life fulfillment.