Perfectionism is a mindset that sabotages many hard working women. The cost of perfectionism can be huge—both professionally, and when it comes to life balance and happiness.
Fortunately, there’s a simpler, more joyful life waiting on the other side, it’s possible to get there, and you don’t need to complete the process perfectly!
Six Steps to Stomping Out Perfectionism
1. Put “all good” and “all bad” thinking on your radar. If you are one, it’s easy to fall into the all-or-nothing mindset of a perfectionist without even realizing it. Up your awareness of how and where this way of thinking shows up in your life. Start identifying your biggest trouble spots.
2. Challenge the myth that perfectionism is good for you. It’s not making you better or stronger—I promise. I ask my clients to create a list of how perfectionism affects them negatively. How does it limit what you start, what you finish, or the risks and opportunities you might take? How does it impact your ability to think outside the box or really express who you are? Are you playing smaller or not fully “showing up” because you are afraid of “getting it wrong”?
3. Replace self-judgment with curiosity. Negative self-judgment is a dead end. It’s impossible to think creatively and expansively when you are stuck in perfectionism and the fear of “screwing it up.” Instead, start approaching mistakes and less-than-stellar results with an attitude of curiosity. Ask yourself what you learned, why it didn’t go so well, and how it might be better. Curiosity allows you to own the positives and to tweak and improve. While perfectionism nurtures stuckness and rigidity, curious thinking creates flexibility and nimble, responsive action which is vital to personal and professional success.
4. Create a new language. If you are a perfectionist, you are hearing some version of “it’s not good enough” inside your head, thousands of times a day. Create a new mantra to tell yourself—one that you find believable—and start growing a new mindset. Some mantras my clients have chosen include, “I’m doing my best” and “Done is better than perfect.”
5. Set priorities and boundaries. Be clear on what is really important and deserving of your time and energy, and what isn’t. Start with the easiest changes—set time limits on tasks that you know don’t require perfect results.
6. Set aside time for me-time, schedule it, and honor your commitment. When you step outside of hard-charging perfectionism and begin to live a more balanced life, the payoffs will become clear. Applying your new non-perfectionist approach to self-care will allow you to create new, lasting habits that make life better.