A Perfect Curse - The Cost of Perfectionism People of the Mind


It doesn’t get any better than perfect.  If a project or task is done perfectly then it’s ideally done; no room for improvement whatsoever.  Perfection is what we all should strive for whether we’re working in our own business or for someone else.  The perfect website. The perfect product. The perfect program.


You feel it in your bones, right?



Most of you are in total alignment with this pursuit of excellence. Business owners as a group are high achievers with an eye for detail. Most of us will not settle for ‘good enough’.  Most have a vision in mind so grand that it seems almost unattainable at times, and yet we are compelled to make it a reality. We each never-endingly chase our excellence.



I am a perfectionist. You probably are, too. In theory this is fantastic, but in reality, perfectionism will keep you from ever growing the business (and life) you are after.  



Let me tell you what it has cost me.

So you don’t have to make the same mistakes.



Perfectionism Kept Me Alone


When your standard of excellence is ‘perfect’ it turns other people off. In many ways, you are broadcasting to everyone around you that their efforts, performance, and ultimately they themselves, don’t measure up. 


How did I do this to them? Impatience with how they performed a task. Then correcting their method (pointing out how it should have been done - no matter how polite), or worse, taking over the task. In my mind saying, “Get out of the way! It’s just easier if I do it.”? 


What did it do to me?  Irritability, at the way they were doing it (let’s be honest, the fact they were not doing it the way I wanted it done). Then the need to interfere by correcting them or re-doing it myself. A sense of disappointment - like there was no one I could rely on/fully trust (my nearly unconscious pity party). Then my wall - “I’m strong enough to do it all myself. I got this”.





Perfectionism Had Me Holding Up The Whole World


Because I ended up thinking I was the only one who could do something to the level of perfection I had in my mind, I couldn’t share the workload.  Like Atlas, everything fell on my shoulders. For the most part that was okay. (I’m sure you can relate to being capable.) But, it left me overburdened with tasks other people could have been doing, answering mindless questions and making every little decision. 


When you operate this way you can never really relax because holding up the world is always on your mind. You are never fully present. You are endlessly elsewhere in your mind trying to hold all the pieces together.


Here is the TRUTH. You need other people to help you grow your business. You need other people to help you in life.


If you try to do it all alone, if you micromanage your children, your spouse, your co-workers, and anyone else who is trying to help you, you will not be able to grow. Shift your thinking. Put systems in place for how to do each task and then outsource those jobs so you can focus on the tasks that will grow your income.



Perfectionism Married My Obsessiveness


I regularly got into a single-minded focus to the exclusion of everything else. That includes spending time with my family, exercise, going outside, sleep, and even stopping for food. 

They call it ‘flow’ but it may be much closer to #obsession. 


I got a ton accomplished, and in that way it was awesome, but it was very much neglecting other aspects of my life. For weeks on end.




Perfectionism Cost Me Months Of Wasted Time


You’d think perfectionists were really efficient and would get things done quickly. But, it is more like a high-level procrastination. 


You delay getting started on a task because you need to do the research first. Work is never begun because you’re spending time planning every minute detail. ‘Analysis Paralysis’ they call it.


When you do start working, the project may be overwhelming with its magnitude and you don’t feel you can do it justice or you aren’t fully satisfied with the results.  You waste time with unnecessary details and overdo almost everything you work on.  Personally, I redid my website four times, it took months, when the first version was perfectly fine.




Perfectionism Gave Me Social Herpes


Guess what?  That ‘Me' I am describing… that single-minded, obsessive, unrealistic expectation person? She sucks. That person is no FUN at all. 


All work, no play, thinking your way is the best (only!) way, and always too wrapped up in your own mind… 


Who wants to hang around that? You just want to avoid catching it.




My saving grace?  I know I do all those things


When I become aware of feeling the need to correct how my kids load the dishwasher, or I get upset at a typo in something I’ve posted, I take a deep breath and look at life from an existential position: 

‘It’s Just Life’ and NONE of this really matters.



Okay, my REAL saving grace is: I’m married to a prankster and my children are easy going. They pull me out of it and keep me balanced.  


When my son Max sent me the video below, popping up in the middle of my work saying, ‘This is totally YOU, Mom!’, I knew it was time to take a break… and go play awhile.


Maybe you should, too.





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