Perfectionists aren’t so perfect after all! It’s been over 7 years now that I’ve been coaching and time and time again I have clients with, let’s be kind, and call them ‘perfectionist tendencies’. What I’ve noticed is that these clients are high achievers; they set big goals for themselves and hold themselves to the highest possible standard. It sounds like a good thing so far, but stay with me. The problem isn’t the goals or the high standards; the problem is when they come up short, even ever so slightly short, they tend to beat themselves up unmercifully. When perfectionists don’t quiet reach a goal, take too long, or have diverted slightly from the original path to achieving it, they see it as failure. And failure for a perfectionist is like a big red stamp branded on their foreheads for all to see.
So another way to see our goals and our life in general, is to work towards exceptional. When people see themselves as exceptional they are open to doing their absolute best, setting big goals, but also breaking them down into bite sized and very winnable chunks so they can celebrate along the way. If they fall short, take longer than expected or even divert from the original goal the focus is on them being exceptional, and as long as this holds true they get to succeed. People that focus on exceptional, hold their goals lightly, being flexible in their approach and kind with themselves along the way.
So for all the perfectionists reading, or just those of you with ‘perfectionist tendencies’, perhaps you could think about letting go of perfection and having a go at just being exceptional. It’s a slight shift but will enable you to truly be the best you that you can be.