Strategies For Overcoming Perfectionism

Updated: Jan 31, 2019



Be warned if you are a Perfectionist - this article is not for the faint of heart. You will definitely find things here to upset your narky perfectionist self, because it knows you are declaring war upon it. However if this is a dis-ease you wish to, if not conquer, at least best to a certain degree, then read on.

The first step in beating perfectionism, is to acknowledge that you are a perfectionist. If you don't know you have an illness and what that illness is, how can you possibly know what medicine you might need to take to make you better, and so to it is with perfectionism. Your first task is to ask yourself

Am I a perfectionist?

Now perhaps you don't know how to go about answering that question. Here are some of the places to look that can tell you that you have the perfectionism dis-ease. Can you honestly answer yes or no to the following behaviours?

  1. Perfectionists tend to have an all or Nothing attitude. Near enough is not good enough for them.

  2. You rarely delegate as you don't trust others to do as good a job as you do.

  3. If you are a perfectionist it is likely that you will be pushed toward your goal by fear of not achieving it and therefore being a failure. On the other hand a high achiever is pulled towards his goal by a desire to achieve it but he is happy with any steps made along the way - that is seen as progress.

  4. You might tend to use the word should a lot; I should do this, I should do that, and you might also feel that others should do certain things as well.

  5. If you don't think you can excel at something then you tend to procrastinate, this is because you might feel if you can't do it perfectly, there is no point in doing it at all!

  6. Even though you may have done a great job at something, and perhaps it was successful along the way, you will barely acknowledge your success, and instead will fix a on the mistakes you made. You rarely celebrate your success.

  7. If you are an artist your artwork will often be tightly controlled. This can occur in different ways, for example, pointillism is a very precise and highly controlled form of drawing. Someone who has to copy something exactly, rather than allowing themselves to add to it and try to improve on it, has a form of procrastination.

  8. Another form of Perfectionist procrastination is never finishing anything. You may begin many projects and yet seldom finish them. The reason for this is that your Perfectionist self reasons that if you don't finish it, it could still have the chance to be perfect and therefore you haven't failed.



Where are you headed and what foot print will you leave behind?

A. So the first strategy for overcoming perfectionism is recognition. When you recognise which of the above behaviours you do, you can then be more aware that you are doing them, which gives you options to do things differently.

B. Presence is a state that helps you combat perfectionism. When you are present in what you are doing, you can act with more efficiency, and conscious direction.

C. The Witness technique is one that you can utilize, which ties into presence. Mentally step back from what you are doing and watch your self. Ask your self , am I procrastinating? Why is my work so tight? How am I holding my body - am I relaxed or tightly controlled in the execution of this task?

D. If you never celebrate your successes - take time out to do so. In fact make a point of it. Allow yourself to be recognized for your contributions.

Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash


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© 2018 Kadira Jennings​