Controlling perfectionism

Give yourself – and everyone around you – a break

On one hand you may have a tendency to want to do your best in every task you tackle at work. On the other hand, in common with many women, you may have developed a kind of ‘superwoman’ mentality that creates self-pressure to do it all, know it all and have all the answers!

Perfectionism is a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection; the wish for everything to be correct or just so; the need for everything to be or appear to be perfect.

‘Superwoman’ perfectionism is when you consider competence to be brilliance at successfully juggling everything…without dropping any of the balls…ever!

Supremely managing work tasks – completing that stretch assignment, implementing the new management restructure, opening the new warehouse, taking over a new department, drawing up the strategy plan, introducing the new IT system, rolling out the CRM programme, and onboarding new team members.

Successfully managing home life – organising childcare, looking after parents, project managing the new extension at home, volunteering to run school clubs, diarising playdates and activities, etc.



'Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.'

Controlling perfectionism super womanSuperwoman perfectionism is a melt-down waiting to happen!

So many women worry about getting the home/work balance right – feeling guilty if one seems to be adversely affecting the other. Trying to be all things to all people. The 21st century Mary Poppins – ‘practically perfect in every way’.

The concept of having it all and constantly striving for perfection is very hard on us as individuals and, let’s be honest, can’t be particularly pleasant for others around us!

Who wants a leader with perfectionist tendencies? Who wants a leader who cannot be selective about workload, treating every piece of work as if it was critical?

Perfectionists are just too difficult to work for – they have unreasonable expectations, driving people (including themselves) too hard, aiming for unsustainable standards, even when it’s actually unnecessary in the great scheme of things.

To perfectionists, nothing short of perfect is acceptable. Worse still, for some individuals, failing to live up to their own incredibly high standards simply confirms their own suspicions of being imposters – faking it in this world, waiting for someone to spot how useless they really are.

But the fact is, you can seek excellence without it stepping over the edge into demanding perfectionism. You can give things your best shot and if it all goes pear-shaped, live without shame afterwards. Not succeeding in something is acceptable. Not getting something ‘spot on’ does not mean you’ve failed.

Reframing your expectations and standards can help you get to grips with perfectionist tendencies. Learn to say no, to take on less tasks, to delegate more, to allow yourself more time to get things done, to simply stop and smell the roses…

Sometimes good is good enough…