How normal am I? Today let’s know about how too much perfectionism can lead to an unwanted lag in your work and your daily lifestyle. Perfectionism is linked with normality to check whether you work normally or with too much off perfectionism.
How normal am I?
In context with perfectionism
How normal am I? This is an anticipating question you all have. Perfectionism is one hand, it can motivate you to perform at a high level and deliver top-quality work. On the other hand, it can cause you unnecessary anxiety and slow you down. So we all have these traits and may not have these traits, as we question how normal am I? How can you curb the positives of your perfectionism while mitigating the negatives? What measures or practices can you use to keep your perfectionism in check? To know how normal am I? Let’s check what the experts and other sources have to say about how normal am I? In terms of perfection.
How normal am I? What do the experts have to say?
Matt Plummer, the founder of Zarvana, says that a lot of perfectionists’ preferences are rooted in fear and insecurity,” the online coaching service that helps workers become more productive. “Many perfectionists worry that if they let go of their [carefulness and conscientiousness], it will hurt their performance and standing.” And so they grip to their perfectionism even when it’s unproductive. If this describes you, take heart. Reining in your perfectionistic inclinations is not as hard as it sounds. “It’s about rechanneling a strength of yours rather than aiming for a lower goal.” You aim to take “some of the pressure off yourself,” says, a former clinical psychologist and author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit. Of course that’s easier said than done. But the fact remains, “if you genuinely want to be a high achiever, you’re bound to do some things imperfectly.” Here are some ideas of how to let go of your proneness for perfectionism.
To see the bigger picture
As any perfectionist will tell you, being perfect isn’t easy. Your diligence “takes a lot of effort,” and your attention to detail is “incredibly time-consuming,” says Plummer. Of course, as a perfectionist you’re never going to aim for merely adequate — nor should you. But you must also “recognize the opportunity cost and time” of your behavior. “Ask yourself: Am I using my time wisely? Am I being productive?” He recommends focusing on “maximizing the impact” of your work. “You can spend an extra three hours making a presentation perfect, but does that improve the impact for the client or your organization?” Boyes concurs. “Shift your mindset,” she says. You’re going to be “less perfect about some things, so you can concentrate on what’s important.” If you’re continuing to tinker on an assignment that most others would consider complete, try to “recognize that just getting it done” is a decent goal. “There’s a point of diminishing returns” when it comes to sweating the small stuff and nitpicking niggling details.
Adjust your standards
Managing your perfectionism also requires you to “calibrate your standards,” says Plummer. Say, for example, you’re grinding out an important memo for your organization. He suggests showing your efforts to a colleague or supervisor early in the process. You may discover it’s “already good enough” and “that task you thought could take 10 hours could really take only five.” Don’t be shy or embarrassed. “It’s your first draft,” says Boyes. And even if you need to continue to work on it, the “feedback you receive will help you improve.” Keep in mind, too, that this memo needn’t be worthy of a Pulitzer. “What you’re saying doesn’t have to be the final word, it just has to contribute something useful.”
Create a checklist
The pursuit of perfection is a bit like wandering on an aimless journey, says Plummer. “You keep walking and walking, but you’re not sure that you’re getting any closer to your destination,” he says. Similarly, “a perfectionist is always going to want to keep working [on a given assignment.] But the end result is rarely satisfying.” So, rather than a toil “in search of this amorphous goal of perfection,” he recommends, “creating a checklist” for each task. Say, for instance, you’re working on an important client pitch. The perfectionist in you might fret over the font choice and sweat every semi-colon. But with a checklist that reminds you to confirm you’ve spelled things correctly and to eliminate basic editing errors, you needn’t endlessly slog. “You’re following a process with discrete and measurable goals,” he says. Once you’ve ticked off the items on your list, “you’re done.”
Break the cycle of rumination
Many perfectionists have a proclivity to ruminate — repetitively mulling over a thought or problem without ever coming to a resolution. “It’s related to anxiety,” says Boyes. People who ruminate tend to be “less forgiving of themselves.” It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive. “Don’t confuse ruminating with problem-solving.” Instead, look for ways to disrupt the cycle.
- Identify your triggers. The first step in conquering this habit is to “learn to recognize when you’re ruminating,” says Boyes. Figure out what sets you off. Make note of the situation: where you are, the time of day, and who’s around. “Find your consistent patterns,” then think about ways you might steer clear of or control those factors.
- Don’t trust your first reaction. If you’re dwelling on a past event, such as an interaction with a colleague, be cautious. You might not have an accurate read of the situation, says Boyes. When you ruminate, “you tend to focus on all the bad things,” she says. “So you can’t trust what your ruminating mind is telling you.” Try hard to get perspective and give yourself time and distance before taking action. You might be “blowing it out of proportion.”
- Seek a diversion. “Distractions are useful,” says Boyes. “Do something that is cognitively absorbing but that’s also tedious and doesn’t induce anxiety, such as filling out an expense report.” Often spending just 10 minutes on a mundane but practical task like that “breaks the chain” and keeps you from “spinning your wheels.”
- Think positive. Ruminating often leads to “avoidance” of certain tasks, notes Boyes. “There’s a feeling of, ‘If I can’t do it perfectly I won’t bother,’” she says. To combat this idea, she recommends reflecting on times in your past when you tried something new. “Think about the successes you’ve had,” she says. By reminding yourself of the pathways that led to your accomplishments, you’ll be able to see that you achieved a meaningful outcome despite not being “100% certain of success” in advance. This helps you “learn from your experiences,” she says.
Boyes says, “ you may find it “helpful to talk to someone about your tendencies,” That person could be “a boss who’s willing to engage with you emotionally, a friend, sibling, mentor, or spouse.” Be honest and open. Tell this person that you’re working on getting better. “Say, ‘I give you permission to let me know if I’m being too fussy/high maintenance/finicky’” about a given topic. Make it clear that you want to hear how you come across. “Say, ‘I may get defensive, but I promise to think about what you say.’” And be sure to make good on that pledge.
Monitor your progress
As you’re working on moderating your perfectionist tendencies, Boyes recommends undertaking “a weekly review” in which you reflect on your progress. Try to get some “psychological distance” and ask yourself, “Was there anything I avoided this week due to fear of making mistakes? Were there any instances where my perfectionism was not worth it? Were there any times this week when I took action, even when I felt uncertain, and ended up moving things forward?” Your objective, says Plummer, is to “learn where perfectionism has a positive impact and where it does not.” Remember, you’re not fundamentally “changing course”; rather, you’re, “redirecting your personality.”
Principles to Remember
- Learn to recognize the point of lessening returns when you’re aiming to complete a task perfectly. Sometimes just getting it done is a worthy goal.
- Reflect on your progress. Identify examples of when you successfully will be moderating your perfectionist tendencies.
- Calibration of your standards. Oftentimes what you’re writing or saying doesn’t have to be the final word, it just has to contribute something useful.
- Mistake ruminating for problem-solving. When your mind is twisting and turning, seek out distractions to break the cycle.
- Work in pursuit of an unshaped goal of perfection. Create a checklist that ensures you follow a process with measurable targets.
- Go it alone. Ask others — a trusted colleague, friend, or mentor — for opinion and support.
Case Study #1
Shift your mindset and get comfortable with imperfection
In this case, study let’s peek into the past of Stacy Caprio’s perfectionism which led her to avoid some actual tasks. “I never wanted to start something unless I knew exactly how to do it,” she says. “It was a roadblock. It stopped me from doing new things. “Earlier in her career, she was working for an online marketing agency. One of her tasks was to add tracking tags to client websites, which would allow her organization to gather more information about their customers’ revenue and sales. Stacy has never put in a tag before and was terrifying for her of doing it wrong. “she wants her work to be good, and she wishes to be seen as doing a good job,” she says. “she didn’t want to mess up. “Instead of trying and risking imperfection, Stacy made herself busy with emails, building ad sets, and working on other marketing campaigns.
Her avoidance of the task didn’t keep her from ruminating on it, The turning point came when she happened upon a series of blogs by publishing authors. “Writers were talking about that first step of getting a draft on paper,” she says. “The first draft is usually terrible. But then they go back and edit and rework it. Learning more about the writing process was a help for her to gain perspective on her situation. Eventually, it was plucking up her courage and she took a shot. The first one was fine; the second one was an improvement. Her third attempt was great. Today Stacy is her own boss. She runs a website devoted to inspiring side hustles, She has learned many lessons about battling her perfectionist demons. “Just because I think something is perfect doesn’t mean it is,” she says. “I likely need feedback from others, especially customers, so that I can change the product over time to keep making it better.”
Case Study #2
Seek support and perspective and focus on the big picture
Flame Schoeder, a professional certified coach based in Omaha, Nebraska, acknowledges that she is a “recovering perfectionist.” While her perfectionism was a help for her to excel professionally, still it was a part of her insecurity. Earlier in her career, for instance, she noticed that she sometimes tended to “freeze up” when talking to clients. “I’d get so in my head,” she says. “I’d have something to say and then I’d think, ‘That’s not a smart enough or insightful enough comment,’ and so I wouldn’t say it.”A similar thing happened when she had a big client proposal to write. Beginning the project was hard because she “had a lot of self-doubts.”
The solution: “In my realization, all I needed to do was ask for help,” she says.
Flame found out that reaching out to a friend or colleague and “talking through ideas” helps her see that she does indeed have something to offer. Colleagues also give her perspective on her work. Recently, she was working with a team on a marketing pitch for a restaurant brand. The pitch was for a new client, so “there was some uncertainty” about what this client would like or dislike. Flame and another colleague — a fellow perfectionist – hemmed and hawed over the proposal. “Perfectionists tend to focus on what needs to be fixed and we neutralize everything that’s good,” she says. “The two of us went over and over the details and reworked things. “They submitted the pitch, and the client loved it. “The client never saw that anything was missing,” she says. “They saw the creativity, the polish, and the finesse.” This approval was a powerful signal to Flame. “I try to remind myself that I am not dealing with life-or-death situations. It’s just marketing.”
Perfectionism is a double edge sword, it is helping a lot of times but a load of perfection can be a hefty task to carry out even a small work. It burdens and pressurizes you to work on yourself, which may drain out your energy unnecessarily. To get over it, self-realization is necessary seeking diversions, getting others’ perspectives, staying positive and confident helps to overcome the load of perfectionism.
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