Is Perfectionism Stiflying Your Happiness?

Perfectionism is a modern day epidemic. It is stifling creativity, progression and productivity yet this destructive trait is often lorded as a badge of honour.

In the same way we continually boast to our friends and colleagues that we are busy, we regularly use the label ‘perfectionist’ as an oxymoron, it is both negative and positive, – we can’t seem to shake it.

My motto is “Life is a tapestry – make it colourful!”. I can’t imagine my life without my imperfections, without my failures and without the challenges that I have faced. Without them my life would be boring, there would have been not colour, no highs, no triumphs.

And the same goes for my own career.

In my sessions with my clients we often approach the subject of perfectionism and it can be confused with someone who expects quality. Perfectionism isn’t about ability or striving for greatness.

Not sure if you’re a perfectionist? Here’s a few characteristics which may ring true to you if you are:

  • You fear any form of negative feedback or criticism
  • You feel like you have to work longer hours than anyone else to demonstrate your commitment or you feel guilty leaving the office on time
  • You take a long time to complete tasks even if they are straight forward
  • You struggle to delegate because you think that only you can do it
  • There is never any periods in your life where you aren't 'busy'
  • Your way, is the only way – because it ensures perfection
  • You have lots of ideas but rarely complete them

Is it any wonder self-confessed perfectionists report feeling exhausted, reduced creativity, avoid taking risks, feel stifled and overworked.

Feeling that flush of recognition? Don’t worry. You can work on it and change things to free yourself from the constraints of perfectionism.

Whether it's work, home life or your day to day a change of mind set can help break those habits and free you from perfection.

  • Be kind to yourself – don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
  • Let go of the past! – don’t let issues from the past affect the way you approach things in the future
  • Don't give up when you make a mistake – no one has made a success of something without failing before hand
  • Change your attitude- sometimes, good, is better than perfect
  • Delegate what you can but allow others to add their own twist and approach
  • Make it your mission to see things through, one task at a time

Watch out for periods of stress that may bring back your perfectionist traits but remember as with anything, changing your behaviour is a lifelong challenge.