Perfectionist

I am not a perfectionist. This is what I tell myself now and it gives me gifts of perspective and of time.

There was a time when I told myself I wanted to do things “right”. I would spend hours and hours on a task to make sure that I had everything exactly correct.

I’m also a recovering procrastinator. These are related tendencies.

One of my teachers says we should do B minus work. That’s a passing grade and is acceptable for what most of us do every day. I love this phrase, but when I shared it with one of my co-workers, she interpreted it as being sloppy.

I’m not suggesting that it’s better to be sloppy, but only that perfection is not always required. I’d call sloppiness a D grade.

Just like me, many of my clients discover that by trying to complete tasks perfectly, they are limiting themselves in other ways. They are seen as experts at the details, but are not offered strategic opportunities. Running a big program or team would not come to mind because they haven’t demonstrated those skills.

We will keep ourselves in the weeds so much that we forget the larger objective.

Sometimes it’s because we want to avoid mistakes. More often than not, small mistakes don’t alter the overall accomplishment.

It also allows us to keep doing things that we are super good at and avoid challenging ourselves. If we did take the risk of a new challenge, we wouldn’t be as good at it, and that’s an uncomfortable thought.

Most of us don’t realize how we are limiting ourselves.

Over the years I’ve relaxed, learned how to be OK with good enough, found I can accomplish a lot more, and have more opportunities.

I’ve seen my clients figure this same thing out. You can too.