People think perfectionists do everything meticulously and perfectly.

But it’s not true.

In reality, they suffer from what I call the “curse of perfectionism.” Believing they have to be perfect is their burden. Paralyzed by this belief, they procrastinate and procrastinate to the point that they don’t do well at all.

Perfectionists are a lot like high achievers, but with some key differences.

They both set high goals and work hard to obtain them.

A high achiever is okay with doing a great job and doing it well—even if her high goal isn’t completely met.

But anything short of flawlessness will drive a perfectionist batty. In her eyes, “almost perfect” is akin to failure.

It’s really easy to get trapped by all-or-nothing thinking.

“When you look at life in black-and-white categories, you may tell yourself that your new job or project will either be a total success or a complete failure,” says Dr. David Burns, a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “This creates tremendous pressure, since few experiences in life end up as ‘total successes’ or ‘complete failures.’ Most of the time, we end up somewhere between 0% and 100%.”

Instead of allowing yourself to be paralyzed by perfectionism, dare to be average.

Burns says to “try for 80%, 60% or 40%” of whatever you think you’re capable of.

Try it for a day.

Maybe it will be the first time you’ll strive for an attainable goal. And you’ll do it knowing that you don’t have to be perfect.

Your “curse of perfectionism” has lifted.

Now doesn’t that feel good?

Learn how coaching can help you transform from being a perfectionist to becoming a high achiever. Book a free consultation with me today.

Notable quotes

“Everything can be improved if you look at it closely and critically enough—every person, every idea, every work of art, every experience, everything. So if you are a perfectionist, you are guaranteed to be a loser in whatever you do.” ~ Dr. David Burns, professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine and author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

“Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.” ~ Dr. David Burns

“Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.” ~ Ze Frank, American online performance artist, composer, and humorist.

“There’s no need to sharpen my pencils anymore—they’re sharp enough. Even the dull ones will make a mark.” ~ Ze Frank

“Don’t let perfection become procrastination. Every masterpiece that’s ever been done—it could have been better. Just launch and learn.” ~ Danielle LaPorte, Canadian author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and blogger.

Learn more:

Ze Frank’s An Invocation for Beginnings (video)

Danielle LaPorte’s A Credo for Making It Happen (video)

Article: 14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out of Control

Dr. David Burns’ blog

The Perfectionist Quiz

 


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