Having high standards is a good thing and can reflect well on your character and work ethic. Striving for excellence is a sign that you are committed to personal development and high performance. Being determined to put out a good work product builds a strong brand based on quality. Entrepreneurs can confuse high standards with perfectionism. Perfectionism takes high standards to an unachievable level that can cause anxiety, frustration, low self-esteem, and even depression. Perfectionists believe anything short of flawless is horrible and classified as a failure. Most people try to do their best, but they accept the fact they are human and will make a mistake from time to time without feeling like a disappointment or that they have completely failed at a task. With so much focus on being perfect, feelings of doubt in one’s abilities can creep in. Therefore, it is wise to loosen up standards to a more attainable level that can be sustained over long periods of time.
Check out these simple tips for overcoming perfectionism and regaining control over your emotions:
Recognize perfectionistic thinking - Perfectionists are detail-oriented and can absorb high levels of information. It can cause overwhelm because everything seems to be critical and cause analysis paralysis due to the overabundance of details. Utilizing the 80/20 principle can help simplify processes and put boundaries in place to reduce the amount of actual work required. Recognizing that 80% of results come from 20% of the work can result in a perspective shift.
Remove all or nothing mindset - Thinking in terms of Black and White can limit the ability to recognize the reality of the situation. Having unrealistic expectations that everything must be perfect or the project is a failure adds anxiety and frustration to everyone involved. Choosing to believe that imperfections create opportunities to learn will open up new possibilities. Applying newfound knowledge to future endeavors will increase success rates. Accepting the idea that mistakes don't indicate weakness will alleviate unnecessary pressure and create a more positive working environment.
Stop procrastinating - Lack of clarity, poor prioritizing or overwhelm can cause procrastination. It can feel impossible to move forward when the abundance of details create more work than necessary. An overload of details can feel like it is impossible to set priorities as everything feels equally weighted. Taking action will create forward momentum. Choose a starting point and dig in. Creating a master list and evaluating what needs to be done and what tasks can be eliminated will help simplify the project and bring clarity to the situation.
Delegate and walk away - Perfectionists can be micromanagers. They feel like they need to do everything themselves. Often times they believe no one is capable of doing things exactly the way they should be done. Creating a list of standard procedures and checklists will make delegating easier and eliminate the need to micromanage. Dedicating time to train people properly will build a level of trust that the job will get done within well-defined and agreed-upon parameters.
Celebrate progress - Change doesn’t come easy. Raising awareness on the way perfectionism limits productivity and stifles relationships can create motivation to change. Take a victory lap each a new milestone is attained. Consistent reinforcement will make it easier each time a perfectionistic habit is confronted. Steady steps forward will create positive outcomes. Redefining a more realistic set of standards will improve your relationship with goals, turning dread and worry into excitement and motivation. Consistency will move you from procrastination to taking action while reducing feelings of dissatisfaction. Over time, you will move past feeling obsessed with imperfection and begin to see the big picture without getting caught up in the minutia of details. Most importantly, you make a shift from feeling like a failure to seeing lessons learned as a stepping stone to success and knowing you are more than enough.