Lessons from a recovering perfectionist


Don’t do it! Don’t fall into the trap so many of us do at the start of the year. Set “resolutions”, go gung-ho, and then as soon as you falter, completely give up. Sound familiar?


A common emotional response to the backslide is to tell ourselves, “If I can’t do it perfectly, don’t bother doing it at all.”


I get it. You all read how upset I was when I missed a day in my 10,000 steps a day commitment. It took a long time to break myself from the easy out and give up. For the record, I hit it the next day and every day after. It wasn’t perfect, but I still feel damn good about the consistency.


Even on vacation, getting my 10,000 steps.


I remember early on when I was training a group, I always noticed if there was someone in the room that wasn’t on board. I would then hyperfocus on trying to win them over, often to the determinant of the rest of the participants engagement. It took a long time to accept that striving for perfection often results in a far less ideal result.


As a leader, perfection can make employees feel like it is never good enough. You can disempower those around you. You can delay results.


Here is a tip, perfectionism is rooted in fear. (Click to tweet).


Perhaps a different measure to evaluate yourself will help you embrace that done is better than perfect and good enough is good enough. These are two of the mantras I repeated to myself while working through my perfectionist preferences. I started celebrating consistency, effort, and even averages.


Results matter but remember the 80 / 20 rule. 80% of your results come from about 20% of your efforts. Often that excess is for you and only you. Is it worth it? What else could you be doing with that time and energy?


If you, or those you are around, resemble this post, share it as a gentle reminder. Since I have let go of perfectionism you have seen typos in my newsletters, I have gone with the flow in front of an audience, and I missed my goal of 10,000. Yet, I have been incredibly productive, more present with my family, and overall happier. I am guessing no one is holding imperfection against me. So why would they hold it against you?

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