Monday, February 7, 2011

Wake up! Why Perfectionism Is a Load of Twaddle

Have you ever looked at something – a task you just completed; a cake you just baked; a hairstyle you created - and then asked yourself what was wrong with it?

What is that?

I did it the other day – I was talking to a SEO company about optimising my LinkedIn profile. All they needed was my password so they could do the work.

I knew there were certain bits on the profile that weren’t up to date and asked them to hold fire until I’d done it. God forbid; the SEO would work, bring more people to my LinkedIn page and it wasn’t already perfect!

The sad reality is, we often look for what is wrong with a situation before we look for all the reasons it is right.

Let’s think about 3 scenarios where this could hold us back:

Applying for a job:
Only applying if we have 100% of the skills requested in the job description.

Fear: “I can’t apply for a job fraudulently / I will get found out / I need to be ready.”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Focus on the skills you do have and sell yourself based on them.

Doing your hair:
Only going out on a date if our hair is absolutely, positively, 100% perfect.

Fear: “I can’t be seen out without every hair in place / What will he/they think of me?”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Focus on getting your hair done to the best of your ability… then go out and enjoy yourself!

Employing a cleaner:
Only getting a cleaner in when you have already cleaned the house from top to toe.

Fear: “What if the cleaner thinks we’re dirty or have a dirty house?”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Ask the cleaner to do her/his job and get over it.


1. Life is too short to be seeking perfection in everything we do.

2. We learn ‘on the job’ anyway – if we don’t have all the knowledge right now, if we want it, we will obtain it.

3. There is a whole lot more that is right about our outputs than is wrong – choose which you wish to focus on.

4. Give yourself the respect you deserve – focusing on the negatives will wittle your confidence and esteem away… what use is that to anyone?

5. We have limited time and energy and it would be better spending both in ways that enrich our lives, rather than wasting either worrying about a load of twaddle.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – how does perfectionism help or hinder you?
- RW