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How To Tame The Perfectionist Syndrome

This week’s question from “Wednesday’s Unplugged with Yvette ” comes from Kristen Smith, Toronto ON

Question:

I always hear about how I should be taking “action” even if it’s not the “perfect action”, but I’m a perfectionist and the thought of doing that makes me cringe.

I take pride in my work, after all its my name on the door and I want everything to be perfect for my clients. I’m working twice as hard, but not getting twice the return.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can tame my need for perfection so that I can be profitable too? I don’t want to drive myself crazy!

Answer:

I absolutely LOVE this question and the reason why I’m so excited about it is because I used to be a perfectionist too.

But two businesses and two kids later has taught me otherwise. And over the years I’ve realized (the hard way) that this insane need to be perfect at everything I do has actually sabotaged my efforts many times over. So I’ve inevitably had to learn to tame the beast and lemme tell you it hasn’t been an easy beast to tame!

You see, one of the reasons why you may be driving yourself crazy is because you have this “all or nothing” mentality which to be fair there is really nothing wrong with it, most business owners have been there done that.

However, because of this quest for perfection you tend to spend too much time doing unimportant things and working mega hard (more than anyone else) and yet when the work is completed your results are less than stellar. Next thing you know, you are not feeling so hot, your self-esteem takes a beaten, you start feeling like a failure, you start criticizing yourself, and you find yourself in a funk. As a result, your performance suffers and profits go down the tubes.

So, how do you stop this need to be so perfect and create more free time & profits?

I’m going to share with you four things I do to stop the perfectionist syndrome in its tracks:

First, I figured out what needs to be right in my business, who I need to be to perform at my highest level and when ‘good’ is good enough for moi. This is something you need to go on a journey of discovery and create for yourself.

Second, I’ve become more flexible (mostly due to my kids). Now whenever I’m engaging in a project/activity business or personal I come up with alternatives in case my ideal scenario doesn’t pan out. Afterall, there is more than one way to skin a cat!

Here is quick exercise ~ How about the next time you have a project or task to complete try coming up with at least three options, this will help you break that all or nothing mental cycle.

Third, I bought myself an egg timer. Yup, so when I start working on a project I set my handy timer for x amount of time and once it beeps, I’m done. Works like magic to tame the perfectionist beast.

And finally, I got comfortable with failure. To be honest I’m still working on this one. But, failing means that you are willing to try new things and not be perfect at them. Dana Torres wasn’t born a perfect swimmer she practice and practice until she perfected her strokes and became a master. Failing and failing often is the path to becoming a master.

Bonus:

Make sure you celebrate your accomplishments with things you love doing. I just recently learned this from my mentor Sandy Grason and lemme tell you it’s an amazing brain trick for people like us who are high achiever perfectionists or recovering perfectionists. When you do this, you’ll find you’re more relaxed, don’t focus on being perfect so much, have a lot more fun and you actually get more accomplished in less time and more profitably.

 

3 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post. Perfect for the Perfectionist in me.
    I especially love the Bonus! 🙂

  2. This is an awesome post! I remember how PERFECTLY I planned out one of my businesses, literally over the course of a YEAR. I finally just dove in and got it started and I’m so much further along than I would be if I’d have waited for everything to be perfect. Great post! xo

  3. Great minds think alike, Yvette! I recently published two postings on my site that deal with this issue: Perfectionist Paralysis and Reward Yourself for Success.

    I like your solution of using an egg timer to give yourself a time limit for working on a task. I too find that this works well.

    Monique

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