The Impossible Goal Employees Still Try to Achieve

The word perfectionist gets thrown around a lot. It’s the default answer when interviewers ask, “What is your weakness?” And it is mistakenly used to describe a person who is really good at what they do.

Perfection means flawless. Do you know how high of a standard that is? Basically, you fail the second you mess up. That’s a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself. Not to mention, studies have shown that perfectionists are more likely to suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and tend to hide their mistakes.

“At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success.” ― Michael Law, Author

I’ve already given my take on fear in a previous post, so I won’t delve into that further. My point today is that you must start learning to take it easier on yourself.

Life, including your career, is a marathon. If you try to sprint the whole way through, it won’t take long for you to burn out.

Books like Good Enough is the New Perfect and Womenomics emphasize this fact. The basis is that people should focus on balancing tasks and duties, rather than perfecting everything, without settling. (Note: these books are geared towards women in the workplace, but can be applied to all perfectionists. It’s just that statistics show women are more likely to be perfectionists.)

You’ll never reach perfection, so stop stressing yourself over it. Shift that energy towards learning to balance what’s on your plate. It may not make your job any easier, but you’ll finally have attainable goals—and achieving goals brings you closer to success.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

3 responses

  1. I have managed several perfectionists and what I have found to work the best is to tell them that they cannot achieve perfection, that perfection is a guarantee of failure, frustration and depression; but they can achieve “better”. Learn to positively celebrate improvement. This has helped several perfectionists that I have known.

    1. Wow. Achieving “better”. That’s a great thing to tell perfectionists. Thanks for sharing that with us, David!

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