I once had a mentor tell me that my best and worst characteristics then were the same– my high standards. It took some time to understand why.
The thing about high standards though is that if you’re not careful, it can lead you down a path of stress and long days chasing a unicorn—Perfection!
Let’s talk about High Standards & Perfectionism
For some it sounds crazy to say that being a perfectionist is a bad thing. As a serial perfectionist in recovery-I get it.
The refusal to accept anything less than perfect is guaranteed to lead to failure.
I’ve worked with many clients who struggle with overcoming perfectionism. The constant self-critique, the analysis paralysis, the never-ending delay to “just get things right” often means that the work is never done.
They’ve been working on the same project for a long time and are truly frustrated about not checking things off their list. I can relate. I’ve been there. It’s a very humbling feeling. Wanting everything to be perfect is an energy and productivity draining quest.
Don’t get me wrong. Striving for excellence is necessary in building a successful business. I’m a big believer in the “kaizen” principle of small continuous improvement over time leading to big results.
BUT constantly chasing perfection, prevents you from realizing true progress.
Procrastinate on Perfectionism
Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. If a project is never quite perfect, it stalls out and doesn’t move forward in its cycle. The time it takes to work on making things perfect creates unnecessary delays.
For people working with the perfectionist, it’s also frustrating. While they appreciate the attention to detail and the effort, they’d rather they just stick to the schedule and do the best they can so the work moves on.
Working for a perfectionist is dangerous for team morale. It’s a fine line between bringing out the best in someone and beating then up because the work “just isn’t good enough.”
Instead of letting perfectionism push back the timeline, try procrastinating on the quest for the perfection unicorn.
Try these instead
- Ask yourself “Is the need for things to be perfect is more important that completing the project?”
- Set a deadline for completing your project and stick to it
- Set a benchmark for what is realistic to get accomplished in the time you have.
- Identify the critical “must haves” for your project and focus on getting those done effectively
- Put your energy where your Return on Investment is. Don’t spend more time on a project than the outcome is worth.
- Use an accountability partner to help you evaluate if the end product is good enough to be released
- Cut yourself some slack! It’s ok to have high standards, but don’t create more work for yourself than you already have.
Remember that Done is better than None!
That piece of advise transformed my world. In the online summit I hosted this summer, one of the guest speakers Natalie Blais shared this nugget of wisdom: “Get comfortable launching ugly!”.
Launch ugly! In her work, she also sees a lot of serial perfectionists stuck in no woman’s land, not making money and not serving their clients because they are killing themselves to be “perfect”.
In the words of Elsa the Frozen princess, Let it Go, Let it Go! You’re never going to be completely satisfied with the outcome, but you can always make ongoing tweaks.
Your challenge if you choose to accept it—be perfectly imperfect!
Struggling to kick a bad habit like perfectionism? Let’s connect and talk about how my Results focused process can get you to the next level. Request your complimentary 1:1 Strategy Session with me today!
Stop pouring from an empty cup!
Sign up for weekly productivity tips to get you back to the top of your priority list. Ditch feeling overwhelmed & reclaim your time!