If you’re like most people in my community, you’re ambitious and want to achieve your full potential. You have a passion for achievement and hitting goals. And likely, you’ve been rewarded for working hard throughout your life. That feeling can be addictive.
But there’s a difference between striving for perfection and striving for excellence.
Perfectionism can come with some nasty side effects. Crippling self-doubt and rumination. Unrealistic standards for yourself and others. Procrastination, self-deprecation, and workaholism.
But striving itself has positive side effects. Academic success and high self-esteem. High personal standards. Conscientiousness. Self-discipline and control.
And there is a level of normal self-doubt. Self-doubt — which includes universal feelings of discomfort or second-guessing — is healthy when it raises intensity, motivates preparation, and inspires growth.
But it can cross the line. Self-doubt is unhealthy when it paralyzes you. It can negatively affect your behavior, leading you to avoid opportunities or causing crippling anxiety.
Where do you think you fall on this continuum?
Excellence <------------------------------------> Perfectionism
Perfectionism is an issue that’s dogged me for most of my life. I got tired of this broken record a few years ago, and wrote a new refrain.
Now when I find myself in the this-isn’t-good-enough frame of mind, I reframe my feelings as “I am doing my best, and that is enough.”
Be kind to yourself. Show compassion.
The next time you doubt yourself, what will you do to address it differently?
Drop me a line and let me know.
PS Last year I was inspired to create a video short on perfectionism, based on the life of opera diva Maria Callas. You can watch it here