Are you a Perfectionist? I am. Sometimes I’m proud of it, and other times I have to sheepishly say “guilty.” I bet you might be a perfectionist, too, in at least one area of your life.
Just last night I was filing a bank statement and decided to clean out the statements from last year. That led me to the credit card statement file, which was perfectly organized back to 2014. And that led me to think I should really shred all of those, which made me late to dinner while I perfected these two files.
Seriously? Who cares if the file is perfect when it’s time for dinner? I should have dropped everything to encourage my husband to cook again. But when my perfectionist tendencies get into motion, it’s hard to put on the brakes. Has that ever happened to you?
If you have trouble stopping your perfectionism whether it’s responding to every last email or social media comment, it’s time to look at how this habit is impacting you and those around you. It may be time to “fess up” and drop a tendency that could be holding you back.
3 Ways to Know You’re a Perfectionist
One of the ways to discover you’re a perfectionist is to listen to what you say. Have you ever said:
- “I’m just about done. Give me another minute.” (And it stretches into 20 minutes)
- “I would have done a better job, but I had to turn it in.” (Blaming others is old school)
- “I don’t really plan to be perfect, I just want to do it right!” (Is that a problem?)
Yes, perfectionists want to do it “right” in the areas that are important to them, but have trouble recognizing when “enough is enough” on a task. This can be satisfying to our perfectionist tendencies but irritating to those who have to wait for us to finish.
Another Way to Know You’re a Perfectionist
Another way I can tell when a client is a perfectionist is to look at what’s not organized in their life. For example, their home might be immaculate, but their desk is a mess! The reason a perfectionist’s lifestyle is so black and white is because perfectionists tend to not start a project until they know how to do it perfectly! Hence the cluttered desk, man cave, garage, or kitchen.
The 3 R’s of Perfectionism Recovery
Can we stop the dark side of our perfectionism and turn it around for good? Yes, of course!
- Recognize where perfectionism shows up in your life
It could be in a small area like picking up everything at home before going out the door and arriving late to appointments.
- Recognize what it’s costing you and how it affects others
Check your family and friends displeasure and that could be a clue where your perfectionism lies.
- Resolve to Make a Change in One Area at a Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will our tendency that took years to develop go away in a moment of insight. Be persistent to overcome the habit
“Learn the difference between striving for excellence and insisting on perfection. Pursuing perfection zaps our energy while striving for excellence brings joy in passing milestones toward our desired result.”