We talked about the darkside of perfectionism in podcast #51 recently, and so now it’s time to talk about how to overcome it.
1. Watch yourself. Pay attention to the parts of perfectionism that you like and those you don’t. Sift through them so you know what parts can continue to serve you and what parts we want to change. For example, let’s keep working hard, wanting to be really good and excellent and also paying attention to details and trying our best. But let’s maybe let go of the harsh inner critic, the intolerance for anything less than perfect, and the impossible standards that no one can meet.
2. Quite your inner critic. You can still motivate yourself with your self talk but let’s try to change the tone. The task-master that is particularly nasty or harsh isn’t necessary to get good work out of you. Does is work? Sure. But it sounds and feels terrible. I think whatever we think criticism does, love does it better. Take the time to change your inner voice and it’s tone. If you aren’t sure what it should sound like, consider what you would say to someone you love and care about to encourage them. Or think of someone else who does this well and follow their example.
3. Increase your tolerance level for mistakes. Diffuse them. They are not a big deal. There is only so much you can guess and figure out ahead of time. Some holes are only going to be revealed in the moment of truth. This is not a character flaw. Nothing has gone wrong. You need these moments to help us find what we need to still work on. Making the mistakes a big deal backfires. Not beating yourself up in the moment allows you recover faster which will lead to more success.
4. Focus on the process instead of the result. Adopt a growth mindset. Perfectionism is focused on the outcome–the end goal. Give more focus to the process of growth. We are never done, perfect, finished. We just improve. We are always growing so open yourself up and get comfortable with being on a path of progression. A growth mindset acknowledges that we will always have room to grow. This is not a personal failing.
5. Let it be fun. Let it feel good. There will be times you feel defeated, disappointed, sad…that is normal. But most of the time let this be fun. Enjoy it. When the result will determine our worthiness or value, then all of it becomes stress and pressure-filled and high stakes. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh more. Laugh off mistakes. Take more risks, let loose a little. Don’t hold so tight to making it all just so and getting just the right results. Enjoy the ride.
At the end of the podcast, I tell you how to ACTUALLY put this into practice in the moment, so don’t cut out early and miss the practical application!
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