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The A to Z of perfectionism

By November 14, 2017Blog

Some people say they are perfectionists – wearing it as a badge of honour.  By definition the perfectionist cannot succeed so it’s quite a self-destructive character trait to have. In fact, it is often referred to as “the highest form of self-abuse” because perfection simply doesn’t exist. More importantly, perfection is rarely necessary in day-to-day working environment. Don’t get me wrong, perfectionists are frequently high achievers but the price they pay for success can be unhappiness and dissatisfaction. In reality being a perfectionist will always hold you back, it’s not about doing tasks well, it’s about doing them to the highest standard and berating oneself (and others) when this unattainable standard is not reached.  You can see why it’s a recipe for disaster!

Perfectionism creates bottle necks

Many business owners and entrepreneurs state they are perfectionists and consequently find it hard to delegate (because no one will do it as well or as fast as them!) as the business grows, and they can no longer do everything or know everything or control everything, they have a hard time letting go.  Ultimately this stops their business growing and creates a lot of stress for the owner.  Not good.

Breaking down A to Z

So when working with perfectionists, I talk about starting at point A with the ultimate aspiration of arriving at point Z but first focus on getting to point B.  What does this look like? What would a good acceptable outcome be? Once you are clear about point B you can let go of Z and just focus on delivering B, then C and so on.  Before you know it, you will get to Z.  This creates shorter term realistic goals that can be delegated whilst giving the business owner the confidence things are being done and projects moving forward.  By breaking big goals into smaller parts, it is easier to celebrate successes and deliver realistic achievable results.  This approach helps the perfectionists feel more in control and that they are succeeding (rather than failing because they haven’t got to Z yet!).  It also helps them let go and delegate more and have realistic rather than unattainable expectations.