Perfectionism - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…. Is There A Good?

Perfectionism, Perfectly Perfect….

Perfect, a state which presupposes that a person, thing or circumstance has all the desirable traits, characteristics or attitudes necessary to be considered final or done or complete.   It is synonymous to the thought of being the very best… no room for improvement. Indicating no more is needed.  No growth? No change? No tweak!  

Perfection is that absolute and superlative form of aesthetics based on an impression or standard.

Perfectionism: The Good

Perfectionism is often described as a “good trait”.  We can say ahhh well it's my perfectionism at work here… it is illustrated as a strength.  We believe that striving and working for perfection shows positive traits like patience, hard-work, perseverance, focus, and dedication. It may also show endless loyalty to one’s absolute cause.  So we think…

Through perfectionism, one is focused on the quality of outputs or results. There is always the need to become better, to improve and be the best way one can be according to individual standards. It implies that there is nothing better available when we reach this state.

We believe It can lead to pure concentration and flow, and can be synonymous with the word ‘drive’ which is the will to survive and strive. Therefore, allowing a person to compete and evolve with others.

Other times, perfectionism is a measurement of a person’s commitment to a cause. The cause being the ultimate end goal.

Perfectionism: The Bad

Perfectionism focuses on one thing alone and that is to be perfect.  It is the attempt to reach a destination that is just not real.  We often have no clear picture of what “perfect” is regarding a project, endeavor, event or “thing” we are working on.  We have no criteria or definition for us…. What is perfect?  How do we know we are there?  Where is it?  When is it done? How can we measure it? It's not quantifiable and leaves us feeling deflated, unfulfilled, and like a failure. 

What is the final endpoint, result, or outcome with perfectionism?   It is an undefined, unclear destination that we never reach that has us spinning our wheels, feeling unsuccessful, bad, and not appreciating any aspect of the journey or arrival of it. It puts endless  pressure on ourselves and everyone around us.  

Perfection limits us…. let me say it again, perfection is limiting.  It keeps us locked in a certain way of doing things, or a certain outcome that does not allow for your true potential and enlightened successes to rise up.   

Have you ever noticed things in your life or around you that have evolved because of unexpected change or results?  You know those wonderful serendipitous events and results that were pure creativity or spontaneity?  Perfectionism is the thief in the night that  steals those types of fulfilling experiences from us.

When we operate from perfectionism we miss out on the  opportunity for those experiences….

Perfectionism emanates rigidity. With rigidity, the brain does not think out of the box but is stuck with boundaries and walls.  No room for options or alternatives, solutions or creativity.  No room for the “gift” hidden in the unexpected.  

Perfectionism: The Ugly

Perfectionism can be harmful to us and our relationships.  It may cause one to be obsessive about being the best always – thinking and thinking resulting in over-thinking. This over-thinking in turn has negative effects. Never feeling fulfilled and complete.  Perfectionism robs of success, joy, peace, creativity, and self love…..

Perfectionism, between work and home, may not give you peace as you are relentlessly trying and trying to perfect; there is no satisfaction as it leads to restless nights and interrupted sleeping.

Perfection is not achievable… we never get there.. there is no destination….it's a lie we tell ourselves.

Perfectionism causes us to set expectations that are not anywhere near realistic.  Not living up to this, leads us to feeling like we “never achieve” which then in turn feeds the perfectionism monster to try harder, longer, and create more expectation.  When we fall into this pattern it can be harmful to our body, mind and spirit.  

Very often perfectionism becomes a habit, a way of being.  And just like other types of habits, it can be changed or shifted.  We can replace it with a healthier habit or mindset.   Yet, how do you stop the inner voice calling you to overdo and over analyze it?

Begin to TAME the Perfectionist within you… 

Where do you start?  Begin at the beginning!

First - Set Realistic Goals!

  • Learn to set that which can actually be achieved.  Use the SMART acronym to help you. 





Time Based

  • Be clear on your results and what you want to achieve or get done.  How will you know when it is completed?  What is the end result?  Define exactly what it is for you.  Ask yourself  “What is the criteria for completion of this project?”  
  • Know “your perfectionism”  - understanding yourself better is the first step to changing anything.  When do you usually fall into the pit of perfectionism?  What area of your life?  What situations, circumstances and people are usually involved?  Knowing this, helps you to cut it off at the pass….. ask yourself in the moment “Is good enough, good enough” in this situation? 
  • Pay attention to your self talk… is it triggering you to be perfectionistic.  Are you judging yourself?  Often?  This can lead to perfectionism…
  • Body awareness…. This is key to beginning to make the shift away from perfectionism.  Where do you feel it in your body?  When you do feel it, what's it like and what are you thinking about? 
  • Uncover the root… work with a coach to discover what is at the root of your perfectionistic tendencies.  For many with ADHD it is often surrounded by feelings of shame, disappointment in self and performance.  

Let's talk to see how I can help you reframe your perfectionism… and shift into a new way of being? 

REMEMBER! NO ONE is Perfect… it doesn't exist… 


Love to all,


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