I am never a perfectionist, but I met many perfectionist. Some of them my clients, some of them are participants of Procrastination Buster Workshop. One of the reasons of procrastination is perfectionism.
Perfectionist tends to be highly analytical and meticulous. This nature prevents them to take any form of action that can move them forward in life. They do not believe in possibilities, they believe in certainty. They won’t act until things are perfect in their eyes.
Are we born perfectionist? My take is NO. When a child is borne, the child makes mistakes all the time. A child start learning to walk before his/her muscles are fully developed. The child doesn’t wait for the muscles to be fully developed.
A child starts doodling with a colour pencil before he/she knows the art of drawing. The child doesn’t wait till the perfect timing or perfect knowledge to start doodling.
The child learns to walk and doodle without a perfect condition or plan. While attempting to walk and draw, the child falls and fails. These falls and fails got them stronger and wiser.
So how did we become perfectionist?
As we are growing up, the adult starts loading standards and expectation on us. When we draw, it must be certain standard so as to call it beautiful drawing. When we are in school, we are told to score A’s as that is the standard. When we start to do something, there is always an expectation, there is always a bar to meet.
And so we were told that if we can’t do it well or do it up to expectation, might as well don’t do it. Seed of perfectionism has been planted from this moment. With this seed of perfectionism growing, habit of procrastination is formed. Eight Ways to Overcome Procrastination
A person becomes perfectionist because he/she is not willing to fail. Failures and mistakes are taboos to him/her. This person are highly critical to others and also himself/herself. Highly judgmental on himself/herself that doesn’t allow 0.01% of error.
Breaking Down The Perfectionist In You
Perfectionists feel like a failure when they make a mistake. That’s why they won’t act until they are 100% certain it’ll work. It’s extremely important for perfectionists to realize that to get things moving, perfectionism doesn’t work. This also builds frustration and guilt in them.
Letting go of judgement of yourself
Do you call names on yourself? When you miss the basket by 0.3 degree, do you call yourself useless, failure or stupid? Do you beat yourself up? Do you blame yourself of not performing? Michael Jordan field goal percentage is between 0.4 – 0.5. That’s to say for every 10 shots, he would fail 5 times. Did he call himself a failure?
Michael Jordan certainly set high standard for himself. But he didn’t wait for the perfect line up, perfect position or perfect distance to make that shot. He didn’t wait for perfection. He made those shots despite imperfection.
You’ll find a lot more inspiring stories around as long as you google it. And to really get you to overturn perfectionism, here are a few questions to support you.
What are you judging yourself about?
What do you make those failures and mistakes mean?
What is the cost of having these meanings?
Are these meanings a fact?
What would you change from now?
What will you do to reinforce the change?
The above questions are a very simple way to move you away from perfectionism. Don’t expect miracles. It may take a long time of consistently asking those questions to yourself to shift it completely. Perfectionism has been in your system for a long time. It’ll also take a while to let go of it totally. Do contact me for any support.
Start by asking yourself these questions, see what they do for you.