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The Cost of Perfectionism

The world in which we live often measures performance through the lens of perfection. Social media and the world of comparison have left many feeling "less than". Pouring over others' profiles and seeing their achievements can leave one deflated & left to wonder “how can I measure up to those standards?”

There is nothing wrong with taking pride in our achievements or raising the bar for higher standards, but when does it cross the line and impact us negatively?

The first step is admitting. I admit I am a recovering perfectionist & the pitfall of a recovering perfectionist is that we want to “do” recovery perfectly. It can be exhausting & cost us our joy, our peace, & our relationships. It can hold us back personally & professionally.

Aside from what it does to us internally, perfection in leadership can destroy the trust one is building with their team. Members of our teams will feel a sense of anxiety and will struggle to come to us for help or guidance if perfectionism is a staple in our leadership style.

The growth mindset is to normalize that we all fail. It’s impossible to always achieve perfection & if we can reposition failure as learning opportunities we can more easily navigate the emotions that can overwhelm us when we miss the mark.

How can we shift the mindset?

  • Encourage others when they have given effort & have grace for ourselves when we have setbacks.

  • Be okay with vulnerability, sharing some of your shortcomings with others.

  • See the value in the human connection. Show empathy & make a human connection to your team members to build safety & trust.

Over time, as we begin to reposition failures as learning we can shift the negative emotions towards growth and experience better outcomes.

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