Almost everyone pursues perfection — doing the best job you can, setting goals and working hard to reach them, maintaining high standards. But perfectionism isn’t about any of this. Perfectionism is a long, maddening drive down a never-ending road for flawlessness; it provides no rest stops for mistakes, personal limitations or the changing of minds.
Perfectionism can cause feelings of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt; it can cripple self-esteem, stifle creativity, and put a stumbling block in the way of intimate friendships and love relationships. Ultimately, it can create or aggravate illnesses such as eating disorders, manic-depressive mood disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.
Everybody has some “built-in” perfectionism, especially in our achievement-oriented, competitive culture.
Complete this questionnaire to discover how perfectionism may be limiting your ability to achieve:
- I never do anything halfway; it’s all or nothing for me. Always.
- People who do things halfway make me angry or disgust me.
- I believe there’s a certain way to do things and they should always be done that way.
- I get angry or defensive when I make mistakes. I hate to make them.
- I often procrastinate on starting projects. I seldom meet deadlines. Or if I do, I kill myself meeting them.
- I feel humiliated when things aren’t perfect.
- I don’t like to admit not knowing how to do something or to being a beginner. If I can’t do something well, I won’t do it.
- People say I expect too much of myself. Or of them.
- In my family, you could never completely measure up to expectations.
- I’m hard on myself when I lose, even if it’s only a friendly game or contest.
- I often withdraw from others and from group activities.
- I don’t think work should be fun or pleasurable.
- Even when I accomplish something, I feel let down or empty.
- I criticize myself and others excessively.
- I like to be in control; if I can’t be in control then I won’t participate.
- No matter how much I have done, there’s always more I could do.
- I don’t delegate often and when I do, I always double-check to make sure the job is done right. It never is.
- I believe it is possible to do something perfectly and if I keep at it, I can do it perfectly.
- Forgetting and forgiving is not something I do easily or well.
There is a difference between excellence and perfection. Striving to be really good and amazing is excellence; trying to be flawless is perfectionism. If you’re concerned about your perfectionist behavior, and how it may be limiting you achieving the goals you desire, please contact me and we can discuss how coaching may benefit you!
For now, please take a moment to comment below or just think about the following: “What is getting in my way of my goals right now, and if I wasn’t allowing this to limit me, what would I be doing instead?”