How do you describe yourself? Do you demand excellence or do you require perfection? Are you aware that there is a difference? Striving for excellence is a good thing. Excellence is something that is attainable and allows some mistakes along the way. Perfection, on the other hand, does not allow for mistakes -- which are going to happen -- and, therefore, is not an attainable goal.
It has been my experience that perfectionists are so afraid of failing or of making a mistake that they become paralyzed and nothing ever gets completed. Many tend to try to control everything and everyone around them. They are rarely satisfied with themselves or others. This leads to chronic procrastination. We can only imagine the impact this type of personality has on relationships. Think about what you are, and if you believe you may be a perfectionist, consider these strategies.
Put the situation into perspective: Is this worth losing a friend or colleague's respect and trust? Will anyone remember this six months from now? This may help you to "calm down" and realize it probably is not something that matters that much.
Watch for those "gremlins" in your head: We all have them. You know, I am not smart enough or savvy enough or good enough. Consider that it is often better to get something done 80 percent done than never. If you can, try to celebrate the mistakes -- use them as a learning experience.
Reverse your thinking: Focus on the things that you and your colleagues are doing well. Concentrate on looking for the positives, rather than the negatives
Life is a journey: Many of us focus on what might happen or could happen. Instead, try to be in the moment. Have you ever lost sleep over something that you worried might happen and never did? It's such a waste of time and energy. Work hard to stay focused on the now and it helps with the procrastination.
I realize that changing one's mind-set is never easy. It took years to become who we are. However, somehow along the way many of us might have lost sight of who are and become what we do. Research has shown that regardless of our age, we can change to have a more positive outlook. Look for and celebrate those wonderful things in our lives that are positive and enjoy them.
Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ladieswholaunch.com.southwestct.