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Stop Perfectionism from Crippling You

perfectionismWhen I was in college I had this office job that was far from my ideal work, but was great for when I was in school. The office was mostly quiet and when things slowed down I was able to get started on my homework.

The job was a breeze. I was always able to finish my work early then take it easy during the rest of my shift. It was stress-free and I didn’t have to take any work home with me at night. Just what, I needed since I was carrying a full course load in school.

But then when I graduated I didn’t immediately look for a job in my field. I convinced myself that I needed a break after such an accomplishment and would look soon after.

As I began looking for jobs to make the switch into my degree field, none of the jobs seemed right. I was definitely looking in the right field of work.

The jobs were in alignment with what I wanted to do and my degree, but something about each one wasn’t right. So I didn’t even bother applying.

I had this picture of the perfect job in my head that I would get straight out of college. That’s why all these other jobs seemed off, why I decide to hold off. That’s really what I was looking for.

Unless it was the perfect fit I didn’t want to make the effort. I was letting perfectionism control my decisions. And because of this I wasn’t even getting related work experience.

See, even though it might not have been my picture perfect job (maybe it was too far from home, or the hours were crazy) pursuing it would have at least put me on the path to my goal. Staying put wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I would have been a better candidate for the perfect job, when it came along, if I would’ve put in time at one of those less than perfect positions.

Your need to do everything perfectly or at the perfect moment is hindering you from taking any action.

Sitting on the sidelines waiting for the just the right alignment of the moon and stars is not going to get you any closer to where you want to be.

Honestly you’d be better off trying something and completely screwing it up. At least then you’d have an idea of a better way to go about it on the second go round.

When you allow perfectionism to justify your procrastination, you convince yourself that you’re making the best decision when in reality you’re simply deciding to be stagnant.

You’re choosing to go nowhere.

Then you become so comfortable with it you prefer to be stagnant then make a fixable mistake. The huge problem here is you’ve talked yourself into complacency and putting your life on hold.

But you’re not living and you never will if you keep these tactics up.

You’ll never get anywhere or achieve anything you want to if you sit around waiting for the perfect moment to present itself.

Sometimes you just have to make your moment. Just get in there and do what you need to do to make it right for you.

You need to ditch these counterproductive ways and get the ball rolling any way you can. Even if it isn’t perfect, it’s still a step in the right direction. And you stand to learn more this way then just standing around watching everyone else live.

Stop putting your life on hold. Use these 7 ways to overcome perfectionism and get back to living your life and achieving your goals.

1. Perfectionism is really procrastination

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Allowing yourself to put something on the back burner for that perfect whatever is just a strategic sounding way of telling yourself that it’s okay not to take action.

In a few circumstances it might be in your best interest to wait a little bit, but if you’re waiting too long or for something that is beyond your control, you’re just wasting your precious time.

Again, you’d be better off starting with a few glitches than never starting at all.

2. Lay off yourself.

Like any other change this is going to take time. Take it slow.

Don’t beat yourself up about perfectly eliminating the urge to be perfect because that would be counterproductive.

Just make an effort not to make it a factor. If you find that you’re pushing yourself in that direction again, pull back and redirect.

3. Lay off of everyone else too

People who constantly seek perfectionism tend to project that on to others. It becomes your way of life so you can’t see how others can suitable live any other way.

And worst of all you judge them for it.

You don’t need to control how other people live and it can be off-putting for them. Allow them to be free to dictate their own lives without making them feel bad about it.

4. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill

In life there are always going to be hiccups and bumps in the road. Look at them as just that. Don’t turn fixable mistakes into catastrophic, life altering events.

It didn’t happen because things weren’t perfect.

Avoid making issues bigger than what they really are.

5. Take it all in

Just because something isn’t exactly how you envisioned it doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

Everything that comes to you isn’t an all or nothing situation. Consider the possibilities. Open your eyes to everything.

You should always consider the fact that it can lead to more or that you have the ability to transform it into something greater.

Allow yourself to recognize when something is good and move on to the next step. Spending additional time and effort on something than you should is a far cry from being perfect.

When you really break it down, perfectionism is just another way of being inefficient and excessive.

6. Laugh about it

I always do. Cracking jokes and making light of the situation is my way of transitioning to move forward. If I can find a way to laugh about it I know it’s not that serious and I can still turn it around.

This is by far the easiest and quickest way to shift your perspective. It also turns down the stress level a few notches.

7. Realize it’s not the end of the world

I know it’s hard for the reforming perfectionist to understand but it’s the truth.

Most mistakes can be repaired. The good thing about trying and failing is you can start anew with a higher level of knowledge. You know what didn’t work and now have better insight on an alternative.

See, you’re already smarter for trying. You can’t get that kind of intelligence from doing nothing.

It might take you a little longer than expected but you’ll still get there quicker than if you had never tried.

You seek perfection because you think that by going this route that everything will turn out picture perfect. This can be incredibly challenging when you don’t have control of all the forces of nature so it’s important to learn to make due.

Stop using perfectionism as a logical excuse for your stagnation. Things will be fine, and more importantly, things will happen when you work with what you have.

Let go of your perfectionism and take control of your life. Once you realize that you can turn an okay circumstance into something wonderful, nothing will be able to stop you.

Life will be so much more enjoyable when you stop trying to perfect the uncontrollable. You’ll notice it and the ones closest to you will too!


Why do you feel the need to be perfect? Would it be that bad if there was a slight hiccup?

What is perfectionism stopping you from doing now?




About Lea

Lea is a certified life coach, foodie and lifehack expert. Don’t end up like the millions of people who gave up on their dreams, get unstuck and to the next level. Take the eye-opening Live Your Dreams course now to get moving!

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  • Hi Lea,

    Oh yes…I think I had some of these problems because I was, and still am to a certain extent – a perfectionist and just never satisfied with what I do, till it’s well done!

    Well, it’s now that I’ve started taking it a little easy, though it still takes me some time to hit the publish button when I write my blog posts, if they are not well done up. However, it doesn’t procrastinate me or my work, though I know of people who have this problem because they prefer sticking on and waiting on till it’s all done to real perfection, which just delays their work further, and this whole process tires them down so much that they prefer procrasting it. It just results in your work suffering, nothing else.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Lea

      Hey Harleena! It’s crazy to me that some people would rather procrastinate then do something. I mean even if its not your best it’s still better than nothing at all.

      People have to become accustom to putting in effort or else they just get lazy. No work will never be your best work, ya know…

  • Really great points. Personally it took me a long time to realize that perfectionism is just a form of procrastination. It’s easy to put something off when you say you’re looking for it to be perfect. It’s a lot harder to say you’re putting it off because you’re procrastinating. it was just an excuse.

    Nowadays, I prefer to take action and just let things not be as perfect. I’d rather take imperfect action instead of waiting for perfection. Action trumps waiting.

    • Lea

      It really is Steve. It all comes down to wordplay. You’re just making it sound nicer, but its still remains the same. You’re not doing anything.

      You’re exactly right! It’s the only way you’ll get somewhere. And however it turns out, it’ll be perfect compared what it was previously, nothing!

  • Awesome article Lea, I agree completely 🙂 I think there’s a point at which your returns on your time diminish drastically, where you could be getting a lot more value out of doing something else instead. I used to be obsessed with keeping my room 100% clean, until I realized that I probably spent just as much time getting my room from 90% to 100% clean as I did from 0% clean to 90% clean (if that makes sense).

    I think a lot of the time perfect is the enemy of great, especially as productivity is concerned. 🙂

    • Lea

      I completely get it Chris. For the time you’ve spent you could’ve clean the whole room.

      Perfectionism is definitely a productivity killer. It can even squash things before they getting rolling.