Did you know that there is a difference between perfectionists and high achievers?
While a high achiever goes for big goals, they also know how to appreciate the process of reaching their goals and the internal reward of personal growth. High achievers know they have to stick with it and keep working towards the goals because their success is not tied to a “one hit wonder” approach it’s linked to small, medium and large goals and they are willing to show up and work the process! They respect set-backs and failures as part of the journey and find ways
to keep moving forward in spite of tough blows. Their focus is on goals and personal growth one step at a time. And it works! By the way, this approach has been working for successful people for thousands of years; it’s not new, its preservation.
A perfectionist, on the other hand, will focus on striving towards the outcome. (And typically unrealistic outcomes!) When these outcomes are not met, more often than not, the perfectionist will allow negative emotions to take over. These often manifest in the form of depression, anxiety, high stress, blame towards others and themselves. They may even say things like, “I knew it would fail, I just can’t get anything to work!”, “Nothing ever works out for me the way it works out perfectly for other people...”, “and I’m such a loser!”. Also, here’s a couple I’m sure you’ve never heard from any self-proclaimed perfectionist – “It’s all YOUR fault it didn’t work out!” and “You’re too blame because things work out perfectly!” “What’s wrong with YOU?” This approach causes relationship problems, as they project unrealistic standards on to others.
In the end, their success is ultimately hampered!
Unfortunately, our results-oriented culture tends to prop up perfectionism over our very best efforts. Statistics, production and long hours are rewarded over personal growth and cumulative improvements. We are encouraged to seek external acceptance through performance instead of the internal satisfaction of knowing we put forth our best effort.
The biggest problem with perfection is that it’s a moving target! The definition of a “desirable outcome” in a given situation is subject to change. What one person declares perfect, another will find plenty to criticize!
Fixating on the moving target of flawless results will actually hamper success. In fact, chasing perfection is guaranteed to result in high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and strained relationships.
Perfectionism is a myth! Doing one’s best consistently, on the other hand, is the real deal. Ditching perfectionism in favor of doing your best can produce not only great external results, but wonderful internal outcomes too.