According to Dictionary.com, a perfectionist is an individual who adheres to or believes in perfectionism. He or she will also demand perfection of himself, herself, or others.
My best friend used to be a hiring manager at a large law firm. She always told me to answer the question, “What is your biggest weakness?” with, “I’m a perfectionist.” This personality trait translated to a loyal employee who would move heaven and earth to finish a task on time and, of course, perfect. Interestingly, I claimed perfectionist status during a few interviews and I always got the job.
Fast forward to today. I would never tell a hiring manager that my worst trait was being a perfectionist. Perfectionists suffer from failed businesses, relationships and goals. The perfectionism plague doesn’t discriminate. New business owners are especially prone and it can even kill their business dreams.
A common perfectionist trait is to become paralyzed when a certain business task doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed too. Instead of rolling with the punches, a perfectionist will do everything possible to complete the task as described. There’s no thinking outside the box. If they can’t do it perfectly, they won’t do it at all. For example, let’s pretend you always print your business cards on a certain paper type. Prior to an event, the printer tells you that they ran out of that paper. Instead of choosing a new paper, you’d pout and not attend the event. In other words, you’d be missing out on business opportunities due to your perfectionism.
If the perfectionism plague is affecting you or a loved one, don’t fret. The first step is admitting you have a problem. After that, you need to tell yourself that done is better than perfect, use obstacles to your advantage and focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. You should also delegate tasks you don’t enjoy and take as many breaks as possible. Perfectionism tells our brains to go, go, go! We have to slow down and go one step at a time.
I used to be proud of my perfectionist ways. I would stay up late working, forget meals and miss my family to get the job done. Luckily, I dropped this behaviour early on in my career. The above steps will help curb your all-or-nothing thoughts.
Do you have any tips to share about avoiding perfectionism? Please share them in the comments below.