Perfectionism: Good Or Bad?
Are you a self-proclaimed perfectionist? Do you regularly go above and beyond to ensure something is absolutely perfect before you are satisfied with the result? What does it achieve for you, and is it a good or a bad thing?
Perfectionists are often praised for the work that they do, as they will regularly put out quality work in areas they excel at. Their attention to detail is off the charts, and when they produce, they produce well almost all the time. They take great pride in their work and they aren’t satisfied unless their work is among the best of the best. When a perfectionist is in their element, they are nigh unstoppable, becoming the template for what others ought to strive for when they try to replicate similar results.
The problem with perfectionism is when the same person cannot gain a complete idea of what they are doing, or the task is so complex that a perfectionist will take an exponentially longer time to complete their work than another person who is satisfied with a satisfactory result. This is where the perfectionist flounders and will potentially miss deadlines because of it, or maybe even have trouble starting their task in the first place. All because what they are putting down isn’t just right.
I am not telling all you perfectionists out there to drop the pride in your work, but find a healthy balance between what is an acceptable result and how much time and effort it will take. As a perfectionist myself, I was having similar problems trying to manage what was an acceptable amount of effort for the work I was putting in, as everything I would put my mind to would take ages to complete. As a result, if I started a project and had to stop part way through, I would find it very difficult to find the motivation to start the project again, knowing all the effort I undoubtedly still had left to expend. I had to teach myself when enough was enough, that when the average person views my work, they would find my work acceptable the majority of the time. This meant a whole lot of listening to the people around me and understanding their expectations of me.
What did this achieve? I found myself under far less pressure while still finding I was satisfied with the quality of my work. Sure, there would be the occasional project where I would return to my perfectionist ways, but that was because I WANTED to, not because I felt COMPELLED to do so. Being a perfectionist is not a positive or a negative, but like anything else in your life, it’s something that needs to be managed.
Understanding your skills and strengths goes a long way to helping you succeed by using them to your greatest advantage. Hiring managers are always seeking people with attention to detail, something you have in abundance. As a perfectionist, you have become accustomed to operating at a high level all the time. With your newfound moderation skills, you will become an unstoppable force in the workplace, expending as much detail as you need into your work. Recognize your weaknesses and turn them into your greatest strengths.