From Perfectionism to Success

July 18th, 2018 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

Beauty is mostly imperfection

A few weeks ago, I went to a meeting where some local women professionals discussed perfectionism and how it affects our lives at work and at home.  Some of us were affected at work, others at home, some both.  Some of us also had perfectionist partners and we talked about how that hurt our relationships and our family life.

It was a great evening of sharing, mostly because we didn’t stop at the negative, but looked for solutions.

Here were some of the solutions we came up with:

  • Set priorities and stick to them, when I’m going “off track”, remind myself of them
  • Ask myself, “What is good enough?”
  • Ask myself, “Who am I trying to please”- because I can only please myself, in reality
  • Remember I am the master of my heart
  • Give myself a pat on the back when I succeed
  • Watch my (negative) self-talk
  • Write it down, be concrete about what I am thinking and feeling
  • Give myself space
    • To be creative
    • To meditate and be mindful
    • To take care of myself to walk my dog

Perfectionism is crippling and no way to live your life or to work, and it’s rampant  

There are many consequences of perfectionism, and it’s almost all negative.  What perfectionism does that’s crippling:

  • You are never good enough, there’s a driveto always be better
  • Others are also never good enough, so relationships are hurt
  • You become anxiousor worrya lot, even having depressionand other psychological problems
  • You overthinkeverything
  • You become indecisive and inactive (you are paralyzed)
  • You avoid new challenges and opportunities for growth
  • You set unrealistic expectationson yourself and all the things you must do well
  • You miss out on the good things in life for all the focus on the bad
  • Your performance is negatively impacted

But we can (and do) change, so this can be fixed.  We can become people who are happier and healthier- and more productive.  What to do that can help change all that:*

  • Embrace yourselfas good enough, as good, as a unique human, worthy of a good life
  • Acknowledge that your perfectionism is hurting you (notice how)
  • Practice self-care and love on yourself as good, and doing it “good enoug, ” too
  • Write down a list of “What bad things will happen when I stop being a perfectionist”
  • Acknowledge that you can change
  • Acknowledge that you want to change
  • Expect that you will make mistakes (we are all human, and learning is made from mistakes)
  • Find ways to base your self-esteem on the internal (who I really am), not the external (performance)
  • Find your first smallest next step (and take it)
  • Set realistic goals
  • Watch out for the work shouldand change it to mayor want to
  • Celebrate and learn from success
  • Forgive yourself and learn from your failures
  • Forgive others their mistakes, too (and help them learn from them)
  • Learn to know the boundaries of your “circle of control” – you can’t control everything!
  • Set up criteria for decisions and stick to them (eg- 5 criteria, and a 4 is ok fr you to do)
  • Get realistic feedback from a trusted person or set of people
  • Watch for perfectionist messages coming towards you from other people, and reject them (let go of old past ones, but could be for therapy)
  • Intentionally make small mistakes (ones that don’t really matter) – to practice how it feels to be imperfect
  • Stop over-thinking with strategies:
    • Seethe overthinking
    • List what you overthink about
    • Note your biased memory – biased towards negative
    • Work on reducing self-criticism, and on adding more self-praise
    • When you are anxious, note if you are self-critical and change it
    • Distract yourself with self-care and other positive activities

*Most of these things are best done with a coach or therapist, as it’s very easy to return to our set ways.  It will take timeand we need to forgive ourselves before we start for the three steps forward, two steps back kind of growth and change it will be.  There will be failure, and incremental progress.  Also, there are some really great books about this, but again, I recommend doing this with someone else walking with you.  It works best.

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure your expectations are realistic

Have a very good enough summer!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com            www.jehle-coaching.com

 

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2 comments

  1. Douglas says:

    Thanks, Patty. This is really helpful!

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