If you struggle with perfectionism, I know where you’re coming from.
In fact, I’m a recovering perfectionist, which we all know means that I still struggle with this at times. Giving up my perfectionist tendencies was one of the hardest things I had to do, so you need to prepare yourself for a bumpy ride.
I want to share with you how I finally overcame my perfectionism and stopped wasting my time.
Knowing how to master your negative self-talk is crucial when it comes to overcoming perfectionism. In fact, perfectionism happens when we listen to the repetitive negative thoughts in our minds. If we manage to become more self-aware of our inner critic, we’ll get one step closer to overcoming perfectionism.
Where Does Perfectionism Come From?
One of the most common reasons we turn into perfectionists is because of a critical parent or caregiver. Sometimes, even an overly critical teacher can turn on that switch.
The switch that makes us feel that nothing we do is ever good enough.
Sometimes it just takes seeing it for what it is and being DONE with having the same pattern direct your behaviour.
Here’s my 3 tips:
1. Identify the Core Reason for Being a Perfectionist
I want you to do a little exercise with me. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and answer the following questions:
- When I hear the word ‘perfection’, who is the first person that comes to my mind?
- Have I experienced severe criticism in my family?
- What will happen if I don’t do things perfectly?
- Does being a perfectionist make me a better person?
- What does perfectionism give me?
- What does it take away from me?
After answering these questions, you’re going to have a little bit more clarity on the core reason for becoming a perfectionist.
I’m going to be honest with you – I still cringe every time I do something that, to me, seems lower than my extremely high and unnecessary demanding standards for myself.
But, here’s the thing: if you don’t learn to do things imperfectly, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly and there’s a good chance you’ll lose the joy of creating things.
So, what can you do to lower your standards without driving yourself completely nuts?
Here are a few examples of doing things imperfectly: next time you shoot a video and you have flying hairs, messed up lipstick, or something else that bothers you, leave it like that. Or next time you do a design for a client and you’ve spent 6 hours perfecting a small detail on the logo, leave it like that.
I know how hard it may seem at first, so I want you to start small. Leave a typo in a blog post, a little stain on your shirt, etc.
If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, now that’s a whole different story. Perfectionism may be ingrained so deep into your personality that you need the help of a therapist to manage it.
But if you just have too high standards for yourself, try to lower them a little bit and see what happens.
Honestly, the best thing you can do is just do it anyways.
3. Push for Progress, not Perfection
This sentence completely changed my life.
Perfectionism is rigid and revolves around control: things have to go a certain way, look a certain way, behave a certain way. Progress, on the other hand, is to be one step closer to achieving your goal. To be just a little bit better today, than you were yesterday.
If you get stuck in perfectionism, remember this little mantra, and move into action. It may be hard to remember it at first, that’s why I recommend you write it on a sticky note on your computer to look at it throughout the day.
The more you repeat it to yourself, the easier it will get to let go of your perfectionist tendencies.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Do you struggle with perfectionism? How does it show up for you?
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.