Better done than perfect: how to escape the need to be perfect
Perfectionism, it can really get in your way. You want to get things right, first time, every time. Nothing can ever be as perfect as you would like. You not only hold yourself to very high standards and you expect the same of others (otherwise, you might as well do it yourself, right?). Sometimes it is even difficult to get started and you find yourself procrastinating on the things you want to achieve. Does that sound familiar?
Perfectionism is not something you were born with. You’ve learned how to be a perfectionist. Think about it, if you would be a born perfectionist, you still wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, read or tie your shoe laces. You learnt from your mistakes and kept going. Give yourself a break! Give others a break too! Criticism and judgement don’t help to achieve anything.
Is perfectionism holding you back in your business and your life?
Perfectionism is challenging. It can leave you disappointed and dissatisfied. It can have a negative impact on your relationships too. The key to escape the need to be perfect is to find the right balance between results and performance levels.
As a recovering perfectionist, I have three basic rules I live by to maintain this balance:
- Start from where you are, with what you’ve got
- Done is better than perfect, it is ok to make mistakes
- It’s always awkward before it becomes elegant
Ultimately, it is about the results you want to achieve. Starting from where you are, with what you’ve got also means taking action, and that is the only way you get the results you desire. Set goals that are achievable and break them down in smaller steps. If those steps still feel overwhelming, break them down in more steps, even smaller steps until they become do-able.
When is good, good enough?
If something is not 100%, than that doesn’t mean it’s nothing. The world is not black and white, all-or-nothing. If 99% goes well and 1% doesn’t, stop focusing on that 1%. You can make improvements, learn from your mistakes. Tweak it until you get the results you want. It’s only this way that things become more elegant.
Perfectionism is a very rigid energy; negative emotions can easily lead you into an unproductive state. Going with the flow can be very difficult for a perfectionist. When things don’t go the way you imagined, can you adopt the flexibility to go with the flow and let go? Sometimes things just don’t go that way and who knows … It might be even better. A lot of major breakthroughs have happened because of mistakes. Most mistakes aren’t fatal. How do you think about your mistakes? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Finally, it is important to celebrate all your achievements, breakthroughs, aha’s, insights and learnings no matter how small.
Focus on the positives, focus on solutions and create momentum.
You can do this! Better done than perfect.