It’s absolutely impossible to be perfect. I think on some level we all know this is true. So I think it’s very interesting that many of us live our lives pursuing perfection.
Think about it. How much of your own life is spent trying to be perfect? How much emotional energy do you invest in perfectionism even though you realize it’s not possible to achieve? And, what affect does all this effort have on your life and career? Do you really think that trying to be perfect helps your career?
Perfectionism can, in fact, have a negative impact on your performance at work. If you are setting unrealistic goals for yourself, you are also more likely to have unrealistic expectations for your staff. You are less likely to be approachable and even like able, and of course, you are always under stress which can filter down to others in the workplace.
Here are some suggestions for addressing your perfectionism.
- Acknowledge that this is YOUR stuff.
No one else truly expects you to never make mistakes or be right 100% of the time. We’re not robots after all. (And even robots have technical problems sometimes.)
- Be Authentic
When we pretend to be perfect, we are hiding ourselves from others. Take the pressure off yourself to have all the answers all the time. Admitting that you don’t have the answers can often lead to extremely valuable brainstorming sessions at work. Engaging your team and asking for their opinions often helps them to become more invested in the project or mission. They have increased respect and affection for you. After all, how approachable is someone who comes across as a know-it-all?
- Be Willing to Make Mistakes
Perfectionists tend to avoid situations where they may fail, but making mistakes is important to our personal and professional development. Think about some of the valuable lessons you have learned from your past mistakes. When you are open to making mistakes, you are open to more challenges and opportunities as well.
- Work Hard, but Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy
Be realistic about your goals. Acknowledge when you’ve done the best you can. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances affect your performance, require you to move deadlines. That’s OK. Just do the best you can everyday and recognize when you need to adjust your expectations.
When you rid yourself of the pressure to be perfect, you will not only be more like able, more open to learning new things, but also healthier. The pursuit of perfection is extremely stressful and frustrating.
Try this as your new daily mantra, “I’m doing the best I can do today.”