I’ve written blogs about perfectionism many times before as it’s a common trait of many of my clients
When we explore challenging their perfectionist traits my clients often worry that if they give up perfectionism they’ll be lowering their standards.
So, in this blog Im going to look at the difference between excellence and perfectionism and why one is far healthier for you than the other.
Perfectionism is a personality trait characterised by the person striving for flawlessness along with being highly self-critical.
Although perfectionism will drive you to achieve well it comes at a very high cost. That’s because it’s all about you and how others perceive of you.
Perfectionism is selfish as you’ve no room to focus on others. It comes from a place of fear and ego and can be very exhausting.
If you’re a perfectionist you can end up playing small as you don’t want to risk feeling uncomfortable and you want to avoid making a mistake.
However, this can lead to hiding from new opportunities and always thinking your work or you are not good enough.
What does perfectionism look like?
There are some classic perfectionist traits and you may have some, all or none of them:
- All or nothing thinking – Something is either 100% or a failure there’s no grey area between and no room for ‘good enough’
- Being in control – You find it hard to delegate, because others never do it to your standards so it’s easier just to do it yourself
- High expectations – Your standards for yourself and others are extremely high and probably unrealistic
- Failing to finish – There’s always something more you can do on a project to get it just right which, means you find its difficult to finish and share with others
- Lots of rules – ‘Should’ is a frequent word in your vocabulary and means you have reams of rules for yourself and others
- Procrastination – Because you don’t want to make a mistake or fail you find it hard to start some projects
- Rumination and overthinking – You spend a long time thinking about situations that didn’t go the way you wanted and situations that might not go perfectly
- Dips in confidence – Your confidence fluctuates according to your achievements or lack of them and to the feedback you receive
Reading that makes me feel exhausted so I’m sure you can imagine the pressure and pain that perfectionism can bring. Let’s talk about how you can overcome perfectionism.
Excellence However, is defined as being outstanding and or extremely good
When you look to master a career or specific area of your life rather than striving to be perfect, it feels freeing, innovative and optimistic.
Excellence is a value rather than a personality trait like perfectionism. It’s a value you may have at your core or an element you can choose to develop.
Achieving excellence requires you to put in time, be ready to learn and to think in an unstructured way.
It can also be risky and touch on your vulnerability, but comes from a place of curiosity rather than fear.
How do I develop excellence?
I’ve found these ideas really helpful for clients looking to overcome perfectionism and achieve excellence:
- Focus on the good – Every career or part of life has aspects you won’t enjoy. Look for the positives and focus on solutions rather than problems
- Be curious – A mindset of curiosity rather than negativity will bring out the best in you and others. If a colleague behaves badly, be curious as to why rather than taking it personally
- Take a risk – Too be successful you are going to need to risk failure and as a lot of motivational quotes say ‘you can learn more from failure than any success’
- Commit to hard work – Excellence doesn’t come easily but as a perfectionist I’m sure hard work doesn’t scare you. Being passionate about your career or activity helps to maintain motivation
- Challenge yourself to grow – that doesn’t mean setting unrealistic standards but instead acknowledging your successes and then moving onto another challenge
When you’re working towards excellence you’ll feel in touch with your intuition. If you’ve fallen into perfectionism you may feel frustration, irritability and fear. Remember perfectionism is a game you can’t win.
Now you know the difference between excellence and perfectionism, which will you choose?
If you have perfectionist traits and would like to be released from the pressure and stress then do book a free Discovery Call with me on my online calendar at www.speakwithjo.com