LET GO of the tendency to be a perfectionist. It is a common trait among many introverts. We tend to be focused, dive in deep, and are very thorough with the task at hand. In many ways, this is a fabulous strength. But it can also hinder us from achieving more if we delay completion due to the fear that we might be criticized for imperfect work. It’s time to start saying NO to perfectionism.
Here is what author Brené Brown says about perfectionism:
“Perfectionism is the ultimate fear. People who are walking around as perfectionists- They are ultimately afraid that the world is going to see them for who they really are and they won’t measure up. They think, ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect, and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame, and judgment.'”
As introverts, we also have a tendency to go so deeply into our work that we may be reluctant to call it complete. It’s always “not quite done yet”. This is possibly a way we protect ourselves from vulnerability and getting hurt. Chasing perfection is the fear that limits us from showcasing our creativity, skills, and talents.
How can you say NO to perfectionist tendencies without compromising the quality of your work?
Consider the following ways to avoid being hooked by perfectionism.
Stress excellence and healthy striving rather than perfection.
Pay more attention to healthy striving and avoid perfection. It doesn’t mean that you will need to settle for something less than excellent. It only tells you to seek excellence by doing your work thoughtfully with a focus on progress rather than perfection.
Cultivate a lifelong learning mindset.
Change your “perfectionist-mindset” into a “learning-mindset”. Life is a continuous learning process. Oftentimes, the process turns out to be more important than the result itself because of what we learn along the way. It teaches us to look for areas where we can improve in the future.
Realize that growth and development continues after formal education, after specialized training, and after stellar performances in your field of work.
Continually seek to improve your craft, your skills, and your knowledge from situation to situation instead of trying to achieve perfection.
No matter how skilled or talented you are at any point in time, there is always something more to learn.
Notice your self-talk or inner dialogue when you or others make mistakes.
Sometimes, it can seem unavoidable to slip into negative self-talk and criticism when mistakes are made. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and relax. It’s best to look at these situations from a positive perspective as much as possible. This allows us to be open to opportunities to tailor our approach for the next time.
If others make mistakes, support them in being able to adjust for the future. The words we choose can impact our outlook and the outlook of our peers and direct reports. Choose language for yourself as well as for others that can boost morale, give clarity, and encourage self confidence and esteem.
Raise your awareness in the coming week. Observe where perfectionist tendencies cause you to not show up at all. Don’t let this stop you. Perfectionism can be isolating and paralyzing. It can even be painful. But here’s the thing, we need to focus on healthy striving. You always have a choice, and with awareness comes options. Let’s make healthy striving our goal. Show up and do your best and then release it.
Don’t listen to the critical inner voice that says anything less than perfect is unacceptable. Be you, be real, be creative, be vulnerable, and be authentic. Say yes to excellence, and say NO to perfectionism.
Show up wholeheartedly and release your fear!
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