I was once a perfectionist! There you go. My full confession.
I've learned enough to justify sharing my experience and advice with other fashion professionals that suffer from the same affliction.
Perfectionism is not a healthy condition to live with.
As I've grown older my need to drive myself to be perfect in all areas of my life has significantly mellowed. I'm now far less driven to push myself. A combination of hard knocks, setbacks and a developed attitude of "life's too short" has meant that I'm far more considered about the need to get it all "just right".
My family still laughs now at how I used to brush the fringed edges of a Persian rug so that all the tassles were aligned! The room didn't look perfect unless the 2 metres of fringe was perfectly presented.
And my husband still can not understand why I would put mats over the top of mats in my car so that the original mats would stay protected! Only the next owner benefited from this step toward having a perfectly presented car.
Being so driven had its benefits.
I got things done.
I outperformed my peers and I created amazing output for many years.
There was no area of my life that perfectionism didn't affect.
But each stretched goal only led me to a short-term fix and a sense of achievement before I had to reach for the next bar. I knew my goals were unrealistic but it was almost like a drug. I was hooked on the demands perfectionism placed on me.
Secretly people like this are seeking out validation of their self-worth. We're guilty of trying to fulfill a need for being valued. Unfortunately, it can wreak havoc in your personal and professional lives.
Perfect is the enemy of "done" as well as the enemy of "good."
You see perfectionism affects how one thinks, behaves, and feels.
Given these negative characteristics that a perfectionist carries it's not surprising your ability to inspire and lead others in your projects is going to take a hit.
Begin by telling yourself it's OK to say No to requests for help and support. Learn that constantly giving in an effort to be seen as the perfect person isn't actually doing good. In the longer run, it's causing you issues. Saying No is acceptable. Be assertive and turn down more requests and opportunities and give yourself more time and flexibility for you.
The world won't cave in if you accept a lesser standard. When perfectionists accept a lower level of achievement it's generally higher than most people's best endeavours. Give yourself a break and praise yourself when you are happy with less.
Let Go of the Need to Get It Perfect.
Replace perfectionistic expectations with healthy and realistic goals. Setting goals that always stretch you are fine if you want to develop yourself and grow as an individual. But setting unrealistic goals leads to frustration, shortfalls in your perception of yourself, personal berating and a feeling of failure when goals aren't met. Phew!
Give yourself a break. Set goals that are realistic and achievable. By setting more realistic goals, you'll eliminate excess energy that would go towards attempting the impossible, and have a more balanced lifestyle.
Setting yourself up for failure isn't something you aim to do BUT that's what happens when perfectionists think and talk about what they “should or shouldn't” be doing. When you live in the realms of life where everything needs to be black and white (a perfectionistic trait) this is setting you up for inevitable failure.
The next time you berate yourself, switch to positive self-talk. Use healthy rewards and positive feedback to achieve your goals instead of allowing your inner voice and negative self-talk to drive you. The later only causes emotional upsets and stress.
Instead turn up the volume on your intuition, and allow positivity and self-love to propel you to success.
Set standards that are achievable and realistic.
Don’t wait for the perfect moment, or for something to be perfect to take action. The perfect time only arises with hindsight. Waiting is pointless because the perfect time will never happen.
Instead take action now. Go ahead keep making progress even when something is not as good as you'd wish for. Taking action leaves you feeling empowered resulting in you feeling better about yourself, getting more done and participating in more of life's opportunities.
Perfectionists generally have a fear of failure, which gets in the way of moving forward. Try telling yourself that failure, mistakes, and shortfalls in achievement are the opportunities you need to learn and grow. These are simply lessons that you can benefit from.
Tell yourself that while having healthy high standards and setting realistic goals are good for you, being a perfectionist is not. There's a big difference between perfectionism and high standards and it's important to recognise the difference and where you lie on the spectrum between the two.
The key to tackling your perfectionism is to recognise you have it and to decide that you want and need to do something about it.
Like so many areas of our lives which become unbalanced, it's easy to ignore what needs to be done, for the inner work to be made a priority. All parts of our lives can become unbalanced and unproductive.
To help you redesign areas of your life that need some TLC, I've created four free training videos that I hope you will sign up to.
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