Why you have to stop looking for perfection
The pursuit of perfection has been a struggle for me personally my entire life. What started out as a 'Virgo' trait, has led to a constant battle with striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance expectations of both myself and others. Going deeper then just a focus on personal life, my business has constantly been hindered by my inherent need for perfection, and I am not alone. There are many others out there that are exactly the same.
Entrepreneurs are renowned for certain types of behaviours including obsessive compulsive disorders, perfectionism, neuroticism - all often being the key reasons why things somethings don't go in the direction that they would have hoped. I call it self-sabotage, because noone is perfect and 80 percent is ok - yet trying telling that to my brain when it is on overload.
I learned earlier on in my business career that 80 percent had to do and by micro managing, nothing would ever get done, nor would the business grow. If only I could do everything myself, there would simply be no need for employees. Letting go and learning to adapt differently was singularly the best thing I could ever have done, and the only reason I have been able to grow an international business.
But from time to time, I fall prey to seeing things that are not done quite right, and having my little 'freak out' moment.
When it comes to business, I desire the perfect marketing campaign, the perfect employee, and the perfect business - yet, that is impossible to achieve and you cannot place that kind of pressure and expectation on those around you - or you are bound to fail.
My hands off approach to business, unless there is a problem, suits our flat organisational structure and allows me to be a little less 'stressed' about the small things.
Instead, empowering those around you to do their best and achieve their own personal goals is imperative to getting that one step closer to almost perfect.
"In a positive form, perfectionism can provide the driving energy which leads to great achievement. The meticulous attention to detail, necessary for scientific investigation, the commitment which pushes composers to keep working until the music realises the glorious sounds playing in the imagination, and hte persistence which keeps great artists at their easels until their creation matches their concpetion all result form perfectionism." Roedell, W.C. (1984)
If you are a perfectionist, think of this:
- Noone is ever going to be perfect around you, so if you continue to expect it, you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Life is too short to spend all your time micro-managing and if you want to do everything yourself, there are certain careers you should stay clear of including being an entrepreneur or anything that resembles team work.
- Perfectionism is a risk factor for obsessive compulsive disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, social anxiety, social phobia, workaholism, substance abuse and clinical depression - and who wants any of these things?
- Your critical eye, unrealistic standards, focus on results, and lack of happiness when things don't go to plan is making you unhappy - so if you don't change, you are actually choosing to be unhappy.
- No amount of success is going to truly make you happy, because you will find something else that needs fixing.
Not sure that you are a perfectionist? Sure signs to consider:
- Super critical of mistakes and an attention to detail like no other.
- Desire for the best in everything you do.
- You waste time trying to perfect things, sacrificing sleep, eating and the potential of having a good time.
- You are so darn hard on yourself and you criticise yourself like no other.
- You can only think of the end goal.
- You analyse every situation to the most minute detail.
- Your approach is all or nothing; black or white.
- Your stress levels are up and down - always.
It's a handicap in life, and while we all want people to accept us for who we are, the reality is that it really isn't that nice to be around an over-the-top perfectionist. I am bad, but unfortunately, I know those who are worse (which is hard to imagine but a reality).
Looking at the world differently and instead of having expectations, learning to go with the flow and not question every single thing that pops up, will work wonders in giving you the life you really want. While striving for perfection can be great especially when something is achieved - it is the journey that is far more important and the lessons we learn in life - the ones that help us grow and become better people - are really the icing on the cake.