Perfectionism - Vice or Virtue?
Posted on April 20, 2010 by Priscilla Hansen, One of Thousands of Entrepreneurship Coaches on Noomii.
"You can have it all, you just can't have it all at once...." Oprah Winfrey
Perfectionism – Vice or Virtue?
How many times have you heard someone boast “I’m a perfectionist!”
I used to be one of them. I prided myself on my perfectionism. I kept my house neat, organized and dust free. I ate right and exercised. I had a clean office, a clean car, and a perfectly balanced checkbook. I was the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect manager, and the perfect friend. I did everything perfectly.
And when I couldn’t do everything perfectly – I did nothing at all.
As a result, I had a messy house, I bounced checks, my car was a rolling dumpster, and I was overweight and unhealthy.
Huh? How can you claim you are a perfectionist when you are a complete and total mess?
Because as a Pefectionist, I had an all or nothing attitude. Everything was black or white, all or nothing, good or bad. If I couldn’t do something “perfectly”, I wouldn’t do it at all. There was no gray in my life… and as a result I was stressed out!
Perfectionism is not the virtue we have been raised to believe. If I didn’t have time in my day to get my house spic-n-span top to bottom, I did nothing at all. It didn’t dawn on me that I could break down tasks into 10 minute time chunks…. like say, dust for 10 minutes before leaving for work. Its ok I didn’t clean the whole house, but at least I did something.
So many of my clients are plagued with Perfectionism. They come to me frustrated because there simply is not enough time in the day to get anything done, when the truth is there isn’t enough time to get everything done.“You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once….” Oprah Winfrey
I access if they are true Perfectionists by asking…. “If I dumped out a 1000 piece puzzle on this table, and told you that you had to complete it, what would be your strategy?”
If they are a perfectionist, more often times than not they answer “I would sit here until it’s done.”
It doesn’t dawn on them that I didn’t give them a time frame to get the puzzle done – THEY enforced the rule they had to get it done in one sitting…. not me. They are the ones who are implementing ridiculous time schedules and deadlines into their lives. It doesn’t dawn on them they could break down the puzzle into steps and work on it in their leisure.
Part of overcoming Perfectionism is to allow yourself to set realistic deadlines. Rome wasn’t built in a day…. and your small business, household, relationships, and self care aren’t either.
Need help working on the puzzle of your life? Give me a call, I’d love to chat!
Live Well, Be Well~