By Sunny Simon
One of my favorite clients came to me with a problem many of us share. In her quest for producing a stellar work product, Madison suffers from a dream destroying syndrome. Any guesses on what that is? I’ll give you a hint. If you spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking a presentation, a work paper or even an important email, you know the problem is perfectionism. Yep, just another one if those “isms” we battle in our desire to have it all together.
Raising the bar high is a good thing, right? Sure I liked phrase so much I gave my business that name. Setting high standards, striving for excellence, holding out for great, not good, again all excellent, but chasing perfectionism is an obsession. Spotting this fixation is easy. It happens when you find yourself agonizing over every little detail of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. When you tweak and re-tweak, when your frown lines are working overtime due to fretting and the gremlins in your head keep telling you it’s not good enough, you have a problem.
Okay, now the good news. You are not hardwired with the perfection syndrome. No, you were not born that way. Once you realize that perfectionism is a fallacy, you can take actions to change your thinking and curb the obsession. Words matter. I suggest you omit the word perfect from your vocabulary.
Children get it. I once watched my six year old niece work on a school project involving a contest. Winners won a trip to the state capital. Alina quietly labored over the assignment for about forty minutes. Then with great fanfare, she pushed her chair away from her desk, stood up and declared, “Good enough, that should get me to Lansing.” With a broad smile, she headed out the door to have some fun. I don’t know if she ever won the trip but I do know she was satisfied with her effort and that was all that mattered.
So the next time you find yourself critically judging something you are working on, ask yourself one key question. Did you give it your best effort? If so, it’s enough. You’re done. Close up shop and move on. Find joy in the fact that you took the task seriously, you created a deliverable and although it may, or may not, be award winning, it’s damn good. Then head out the door and have some fun.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net