Are You a Perfectionist?

05th January 2014


‘Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.’ 

Leonard Cohen

Striving for high standards and wanting to be the best you can be is healthy. An act of self-love.

An addictive, unrelenting pursuit to being perfect, faultless and incomparable is unhealthy. An act of self-abuse.

The definition of perfectionism? To you, one thing. To me, another.

There is no concrete definition.

And yet…

The need for perfection continues to proliferate our work places.

And will do so, as long as business continues to sometimes, unwittingly demand it. Or confuse it with high performance. And reward it.

Great leadership of self, and others has no room for perfectionism.

It cripples innovation, creative thinking, courage, growth and, ultimately results.

Do you find you self…

  • Excessively checking and correcting your work and the work of others
  • Obsessing, interminably, over miniscule details
  • Thinking you must have all the answers
  • Procrastinating over decisions and new tasks
  • Often fearful with new work, demands and projects
  • Working excessively, out of office hours, to meet deadlines
  • Comparing your self to others, to feel better or validate your sense of inadequacy
  • Failing to see the bigger picture – a world beyond the details
  • Being overly critical of others for not meeting your expectations
  • Focussing on the should do and should not of situations.

Ouch! I know what its like to strive for perfectionism. And, fail!

I’ve not asked for help for fear of being thought stupid.

Worked excessive hours to prove I was good enough. Once, on being criticised for my store’s merchandising I worked throughout the night and all the following day. To make it perfect!

Been over controlling and critical of my teams’ work and not allowed them to do it their way. Their best way!

And, I’ve resisted committing the juice required to launch my ideas. Fearing them silly. Fearing the work wouldn’t  be good enough and fearing I’d not complete!

My fear of failure was, despite numerous, set in concrete, goals and deadlines, the core reason Love at Work took two years from initial conception to completion!

In the past two years I’ve been gifted many lessons. I am now, mostly! kinder to myself by…

  • Catching my negative self-talk.
  • Practicing self-compassion and forgiveness
  • Trusting my intuition guides me and gets me to where I’m meant to be
  • Taking guilt free time from work to do things that nurture my spirit
  • Asking for help, advice and feedback without fear and shame
  • Recognising and playing to my strengths
  • Being the best I can be and knowing that is enough
  • Embracing the realness and power of vulnerability
  • Getting perspective; will it matter tomorrow, next week, next month…
  • Asking my self, ‘what would love do.’

In practicing self-love I am now more loving towards others.

Less critical. Demanding. Judgmental.

This feels good.

When you let go of striving for perfectionism you…

create the opportunity to develop caring, trusting and collaborative relationships

give your self, and others’, permission to fail and, in doing so the gift of discovery, growth and development

become a more powerful, authentic and loving leader who more easily creates highly engaged and  performing teams

develop the courage to be vulnerable; to ask for help and in doing so you empower others to share ideas and admit mistakes

you cultivate worthiness, seeing and honouring your unique, and others’, strengths;  talents, knowledge and skills. Your work is easier.

And, you get to be enough.

You always were!

If you wish to silence your inner perfectionist you might try the following affirmations.

Say out loud. Stick them on your desk. In your purse or wallet. Say them regularly, with love!

I always do my best and my best is always good enough.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I determine my worth in this world.

And, finally‘Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.’ Brene Brown

I also strongly recommend checking out the Brene Brown’s work on perfectionism and vulnerability. It’s changing the world.

You can find her at