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How to attain perfectionism

Have you ever read a job listing that describes a search for a perfectionist? The hiring company must surely have the best intentions: It wants someone who will work hard to get the job done right. But if it truly demands perfection, unfortunately, it risks ever getting the job done at all.

Perfectionism is one of those sneaky things that can either propel you into serious action or paralyze your ability to accomplish even the most basic tasks. Often, those who struggle with perfectionism have issues giving up control. In them lies a deeply rooted fear of failure. Flying in the face of logic, unhealthy perfectionists believe that if they account for every what if, they can ensure that whatever task sits in front of them becomes fail-proof. Or they spend so much time planning and researching the task that they never start in the first place.

Related: 9 Reasons Perfectionism Is a Bad Thing

Below are some tips for refocusing your perfectionist tendencies toward better avenues:

1. Accept the outcome.

If you’re struggling with the thought of submitting a task that you feel is less than 100 percent, create a list of the worst-case scenarios. Will you lose your business? Will your reputation be ruined? Will you go broke? Probably not. But will ruminating about this project keep you from other important work? Absolutely. This fearful and obsessive questioning can be crippling.

2. Shift your perspective.

The positive side of perfectionism is the idea that you possess a motivation and level of detailed attention that is unmatched by many. The trouble happens, though, when you get so caught up in the details that you fail to see what you’re really trying to create. Show yourself some compassion and understand that perfectionism is neither a dirty word nor a medal-worthy attribute.


Perfectionism is one of those sneaky things that can either propel you into serious action or paralyze your ability to accomplish even the most basic tasks.


3. Dedication vs. obsession.

Entrepreneurs, especially new ones, have a deep desire to offer their product or service to the world just as they imagine it. This type of vision and dedication likely contributed to them choosing this path. That’s a gift. But don’t conflate the bad with the good. Being dedicated and thorough is not the same as being obsessive and ruminating.

4. Channel your energy wisely.

Getting something done is often more valuable than getting something just right. What is the point of being a perfectionist, after all, if your perfect work never sees the light of day? Some entrepreneurs might have trouble letting go of a project, moving far past the point of diminishing returns. What other tasks require your attention that have been ignored while you tinker with and obsess about a task that should have been done days ago?

5. Give up control.

One strategy for recovering perfectionists is to purposefully cede tasks that once paralyzed them. If you already have a team in place, this should be a smooth transition. You hired them because they already possess the knowledge and skills necessary to help your business succeed. Let them do their jobs, but also understand that mistakes are going to be made.

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