Did you know that you can be a perfectionist and not even realize it? In fact is pretty common among the high-achievers that I work with, and it can be a major cause of self-sabotage, overeating and emotional eating.
Perfectionism can be sneaky.
Perfection is rarely an attainable standard, so perfectionists hardly ever feel like they are doing or being enough or getting the results that they should to “qualify” as a perfectionist. It’s pretty typical for someone to react with surprise when I suggest this may be an issue.
“Me? How can I be a perfectionist? I can’t even stick with this plan for 48 hours!”
Note: if you find yourself consistently not being able to stick with the plans you create, it’s a good sign your expectations for yourself are unrealistic (that’s perfectionism).
Are you always striving to get it perfect? Never satisfied because it “could be better” or, perhaps you feel like you never do nearly enough?
Perfectionism may be sabotaging you.
Successful high-achievers are especially vulnerable to perfectionism. When you consistently expect a lot of yourself or maintain very high standards, it can be an easy fall into the perfectionism trap.
Perfectionism isn’t the same as excellence.
In fact, the pursuits of excellence and perfectionism usually take you in opposite directions. The fear of not being enough or not doing enough causes stress and can limit creative problem solving and risk taking – because failure is not an option. Excellence and success occur when we are open to trying new things, curious when strategies don’t work well, and interested in making adjustments and continuing to move forward.
If you are a smart, busy woman who isn’t seeing the results you would like, it’s worth considering whether perfectionism is getting in your way.
Here are 6 Signs that Perfectionism May be Sabotaging You:
- Feeling consistently overwhelmed and overloaded
Expecting 100 percent all the time creates burnout. When you live in the all-or-nothing world of perfectionism, something could always be better. Perfectionists tend to feel like there is always more that could be done and short change themselves when it comes to acknowledging and celebrating the smaller milestones and successes they achieve. Whether you are trying to lose weight or grow your business, perfectionism leads to minimizing what you actually do accomplish, and eventually, to discouragement and even burnout.
The pressure to be perfect leads to a tendency to avoid or put things off. Perfectionists see success as a black or white proposition and often fail to break things down into small, do-able chunks (small milestones never feel like enough). As a result, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by big looming projects or ideas and to delay even getting started–because it’s too much work and the fear of failure is so strong.
- Lack of confidence or a sense of ineffectiveness
Perfectionism erodes self-esteem and confidence. Embedded in the myth of perfectionism is the belief that perfect is actually possible and that, if you aren’t achieving it, you are falling short.
- Feeling like you are struggling alone (or that there is something wrong with you because you are struggling)
Being a perfectionist is isolating and limits your support system. Perfectionists avoid asking for help. Feeling like you are not “measuring up” leads to isolation and a tendency to hide what a perfectionist thinks of as “failures.” Where a mentor or a supportive colleague might offer fresh solutions, “going it alone” just tends to reinforce the myths that keep a perfectionist stuck.
- Feeling stuck or like there is no way to be successful with your goal
Perfectionism creates tight, rigid thinking instead of the nimble, creative problem solving that nurtures big success. The fear of “getting it wrong” limits risk taking. The negative judgment that a perfectionist associates with mistakes can short circuit the ability to look at a situation creatively, tweak, modify, and build a better mousetrap.
- Feeling like your life is out of balance and you can never “catch up”
The need to “get it perfect” leads to a life out of balance. If you are constantly chasing perfection in certain areas of your life, like work, you are probably neglecting other important parts. Many very successful women sacrifice me-time and their own needs pursuing professional perfectionism. In the end, going without self-care leaves you depleted, less happy, and unable to perform at your best. When your life is out of whack, it—and you—suffer.
Is perfectionism sabotaging you?
Share a comment and let me know how unrealistic standards slow you down – and strategies you’ve found that help.
Take good care,