Do you know what’s scarier than ghosts, goblins, and ghouls? No, not 2020—perfectionism

Now more than ever, we’re afraid of people and their judgment. Perfectionism is just that: a socially prescribed disposition where anything less than “perfect” is unacceptable. The behavior of perfectionism stems from our fear of failure, embarrassment, and shame. It’s more than a habit; it’s a “scary” mindset. And you know what? It wears you out! 

“Perfectionism…is more than habit; it’s a “scary” mindset.”

I have tangoed with perfectionism for a very long time.  But, I work on it and through it every day. It’s a hard truth, but I’m not ashamed of it because it’s a pervasive issue for leaders, particularly those who have grown up under strict or harsh judgment, have had micromanaging bosses, or perhaps have had traumatic experiences resulting in deep emotional scars. 

It is important to know that perfectionism isn’t a disease, but it is exhausting and costly. For example, in my last video blog, you saw a two-and-a-half-minute, relatively polished product. However, at the 1:30 mark in the video above, you can see that the making of that product was messy. Recording is a struggle for me because I want to nail it the first time. I will say, though, that my technical producers love me for this. 

Other perfectionistic indicators to look out for include:

  • all-or-nothing thinking
  • defensiveness when receiving feedback
  • rewriting emails over-and-over again
  • procrastinating
  • becoming easily disappointed when things turn out less than perfect 

Now that we know what perfectionism can look like, it’s not all gloom and doom. If this speaks to you, there is hope. Being aware is the starting point for turnaround followed by action. Three words have changed my perspective and habits around perfectionism: grace, emergence, and acceptance. When put to actionable practice, each of these words can snuff the spooky out of perfectionism. 

If you’d like to explore this concept a little deeper in a safe, non-judgmental space, contact me. I’d be happy to speak with you. Until next time, aloha and salamat po!