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3. Are you stuck in perfection paralysis?

Aug 23, 2019

 In this episode, you'll learn 10 ways that perfectionism might be showing up in your life and how you may not even realize it (I didn't!!), the 4 phrases you can start to use today to help you shift your mindset to something that's much kinder.

I share these 10 ways and the 4 phrases in the Crazed to Calm Tip of the Week that you can download below 👇 at the bottom of this page.

Why does it even matter if you're a perfectionist?

Perfectionists actually tend to achieve less and stress more than regular high achievers. That means that being a perfectionist makes it more challenging to meet the goal of being perfect, or even of reaching a personal best. Perfectionists are a lot like high achievers, but with some key differences, and these differences are important, as perfectionists tend to experience more stress!

I share a story about my friend Stephanie and how her expectations of her husband making the bed before she came home from work were causing stress, anxiety, and arguments in her marriage. Listen to see how my one tip, helped them out and changed both of their expectations.

The following are ten telltale traits of perfectionists, that you may be able to spot in yourself or in the people you know. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. All-Or-Nothing Thinking

Perfectionists, like high achievers, tend to set high goals and work hard toward them. However, a high achiever can be satisfied with doing a great job and achieving excellence (or something close), even if their very high goals aren’t completely met. Perfectionists will accept nothing less than, well, perfection. ‘Almost perfect’ is seen as a failure.

2. Critical Eye

Perfectionists are far more critical of themselves and of others than are high achievers. While high achievers take pride in their accomplishments and tend to be supportive of others, perfectionists tend to spot tiny mistakes and imperfections in their work and in themselves, as well as in others and their work. They hone in on these imperfections and have trouble seeing anything else, and they’re more judgmental and hard on themselves and on others when ‘failure’ does occur.

3. “Push” vs “Pull”

High achievers tend to be pulled toward their goals by a desire to achieve them, and are happy with any steps made in the right direction. Perfectionists, on the other hand, tend to be pushed toward their goals by a fear of not reaching them and see anything less than a perfectly met goal as a failure. 

4. Unrealistic Standards

Unfortunately, a perfectionist’s goals aren’t always even reasonable. While high achievers can set their goals high, perhaps enjoying the fun of going a little further once goals are reached, perfectionists often set their initial goals out of reach. Because of this, high achievers tend to be not only happier but more successful than perfectionists in the pursuit of their goals.

SHIFT #1: PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION - each step you take towards a goal is progress and needs to be celebrated. Setting realistic goals, like Step A>StepB instead of Step A>StepZ for instance, changes your perspective and suddenly things become much more achievable.

5. Focus on Results

High achievers can enjoy the process of chasing a goal as much or more than the actual reaching of the goal itself. Conversely, perfectionists see the goal and nothing else. They’re so concerned about meeting the goal and avoiding the dreaded failure that they can’t enjoy the process of growing and striving.

SHIFT #2: WHAT DOES VERSION 1.0 LOOK LIKE? - Imagine if you were writing a book, would you expect to do 1 version and be done, no! But it all starts with version 1.0, that's what get's you unstuck and the ball rolling!

6. Depressed by Unmet Goals

Perfectionists are much less happy and easygoing than high achievers. While high achievers are able to bounce back fairly easily from disappointment, perfectionists tend to beat themselves up much more and wallow in negative feelings when their high expectations go unmet. This leads to…

7. Fear of Failure

Perfectionists are also much more afraid to fail than are high achievers. Because they place so much stock in results and become so disappointed by anything less than perfection, failure becomes a very scary prospect. And, since anything less than perfection is seen as ‘failure’, this can lead to…

8. Procrastination

It seems paradoxical that perfectionists would be prone to procrastination as that trait can be detrimental to productivity, but perfectionism and procrastination do tend to go hand in hand. This is because, fearing failure as they do, perfectionists will sometimes worry so much about doing something imperfectly that they become immobilized and fail to do anything at all! This leads to more feelings of failure, and a vicious cycle is thus perpetuated.

SHIFT #3: ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS THAT YOU DON'T YET HAVE? - This is one of my favorite sayings...because I used to be so good at trying to think through ever possible scenario and circumstance that it would stop me in my tracks and I'd procrastinate for ages. It's all about taking that first step!

9.Defensiveness

Because a less-than-perfect performance is so painful and scary to perfectionists, they tend to take constructive criticism defensively, while high achievers can see criticism as valuable information to help their future performance. 

10. Low Self Esteem

High achievers tend to have equally high esteem; not so with perfectionists. They tend to be very self-critical and unhappy and suffer from low self-esteem. They can also be lonely or isolated as their critical nature and rigidity can push others away as well. This can lead to even lower self-esteem. 

If you see some of these perfectionist traits in yourself, don’t despair. Recognizing that a change may be needed is a very important first step toward creating a more easygoing nature and achieving the inner peace and real success that comes from overcoming perfectionism and being able to say that ‘almost perfect’ is still a job very well done! 

THE SHAKERS CALLED PERFECT = DOING THE BEST YOU CAN DO ON ANY GIVEN DAY. If you're doing your best, then you're doing a great job!!

 This list is adapted from Very Well Mind.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

1. The 10 ways perfectionism may be showing up in your life.

2. 4 Phrases you can use today to start changing your perspective. 

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