Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

Are You a Perfectionist?

What do you think of when you hear the word perfectionist? Do you consider it a positive or negative trait?  A perfectionist may be described as hardworking, ambitious, overachiever, meticulous, exacting, etc. Those descriptive words don’t always put a positive spin on things. 

Some of us strive to be perfect in our work and our walk.  We set high standards and want people to see us as, not just good, but better than good.  This can be a heavy burden to carry, especially when all we see is where we fell short.

The Problem with Being a Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist can be different from person to person, but it can be a real problem for people when they put pressure on themselves and set overly high standards. It can reflect self-doubt, fear, and a feeling of not being good enough.  It can impede growth, productivity and leave a person with missed opportunities. Perfectionism can limit a person and hold them back from creating beautiful imperfect things.

Signs You Might be a Perfectionist

  • You set high standards and sometimes stop working on a goal for fear of not reaching it
  • Even when others think the job is well done, You find every flaw 
  • Because you worry about doing something imperfectly, You are prone to procrastination
  • You struggle with decision-making because you don’t want to make the wrong choice
  • Fixed on minor details, You spend a copious amount of time perfecting them

Tips to Overcome Perfectionism

Don’t Overthink
We make things hard on ourselves by overthinking…to the extreme.  Why do we do that? It comes down to fear of judgment, fear we won’t quite measure up to others.  It’s easy to get stuck on the small things but that will stall your progress.  Try to go from start to finish before diving into the temptation to re-do a particular task. Completing a project that is not perfect is better than not completing it at all.
Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others can be a real stumbling block. Measuring yourself against someone else only increases our self-doubt and never leaves us feeling confident about our abilities. It’s more productive to chart your progress, that way you can compare where you were last month or year to where you are now.
Aim for “this is pretty good” Aiming for perfection is the fastest way to end up with an unfinished project. Great things can come from imperfect beginnings.  The goal is not to have the perfect “thing,” the goal is to share your idea, craft, or work. Feedback will come, but feedback is necessary and it helps you improve your work.
Embrace Feedback
Fear of feedback on your idea or project can hold you back from sharing something great with the world.  The first attempts at anything are never perfect and all great ideas start from somewhere. Accepting feedback can make a good idea become great, it’s how ideas evolve and get better.

Overcome Your Pursuit of Perfection

If you imagine that you are going to be judged as not good enough, take steps to shift your mindset.  Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the process.  Try to pattern yourself after successful people accept their imperfections.  Concentrate on the whole substance of your work and be more flexible when it comes to your high personal standards. 

God's Love for Imperfect People

The Bible clearly shows us that we are not perfect, but God loves us even in our imperfection. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
Imperfect people make mistakes and experience failures, but they also learn and improve.   Even when we struggle with perfectionism, we can release that burden and take comfort in knowing that God loves us completely, even when we fall short.

Dawn Grice

Dawn Grice