Striving to be the best we can be isn’t a sin, nor should it be considered a fault. But when that desire is taken to the extreme and morphed into a perfectionist mindset, then it can be detrimental to you and your business.
Even knowing that such a mindset isn’t healthy, “people still misguidedly value perfectionism.” Cultures are continuing to regard perfection as a standard to achieve. Children learn from parents and mentors that “practice makes perfect” and expect their efforts to be nothing less. Or they grow up hearing that failure can be a good thing, yet avoid it at all costs.
That need for perfection is damaging the way we value our efforts and is harming our businesses more than we realize. Watch out for these moments when perfectionism limits your business’s growth, as well as your own.
When You Receive Critical Feedback
Criticism does not fare well for perfectionists. As a perfectionist, you don’t want to learn how to improve, you want to be at the pinnacle of your performance already. Any form of feedback feels like a personal attack to your character.
Such feedback, however, is crucial to your progress as an entrepreneur. Without it, you may not always know where changes need to be made. There is always room for improvement, and that’s not a bad thing! When someone offers you feedback, be open to their suggestions and use them to your advantage.
When Tasks Don’t Get Finished
Another common trait among perfectionists is an inability to complete assignments. You spend hours on a small task, fueled by an innate need for each project to be perfect. This ensures quality work, but often leaves other more important tasks left undone.
In this way, perfectionism may be putting a huge toll on your daily productivity. Evaluate how long projects are taking you compared to how long they should be taking you. Set a deadline for completion and stop working when you reach that deadline, regardless of how imperfect you may think your work is. As a business owner, this can be difficult when you want to put your whole heart and soul into each project. You still can give your all, just remember to let go of control when your workload is becoming unbalanced.
When You Expect Perfection From Others
None of us are perfect, and that includes yourself. Setting too high of a standard can damage relationships with the people you need for your company to run smoothly. Performance levels will go down if you are expecting too much from those you work with. Plus, you begin to unintentionally alienate yourself from these employees.
When You Fail to Make Rational Decisions
Being the leader of a growing company requires you to make some difficult decisions made with careful consideration. But when your perfectionism is going out of control, anxiety levels raise. A guilty conscience that so often accompanies many perfectionists results in increased stress. Under this type of emotional distress, making a decision with a clear head can be challenging.
Travis Bradberry, cofounder of TalentSmart and expert in emotional intelligence, advises those facing such strains to “slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts” by taking a moment to write down what you are thinking and feeling. Seeing your thoughts on paper can help you to decipher whether or not these thoughts are valid and logical.
When Your Fear Holds You Back
Some opportunities are riskier than others. Being an entrepreneur means that you’re willing to take a risk, even if that could lead to failure. If fear of that failure is holding you back from potential opportunities, it’s time to let go of those fears.
Perfectionists also seek constant approval and are afraid of being rejected. This fear, too, can hold you back from taking chances. You shouldn’t always need praise to move forward with an idea. Where would our world be if so many of the greats before us lived that way?
Check your behavior and habits often to make sure you’re not falling into a perfectionist mindset. For your business to succeed, you need to face failure head on, properly manage stress, set your expectations within reason, and be open to growth and improvement.