Sure, perfectionism can be a problem, for example, if your job demands more speed than quality. But sometimes perfectionism is worth celebrating. After all:
If your perfectionism is a problem
If your perfectionism is hurting more than helping, perhaps a tweak rather than a radical change might be enough. Might any of these tweaks be helpful to you?:
Of course, it’s usually better to have given the task a shot than to not do it, which would guarantee failure. Failing on a single task rarely invalidates your overall worth. And if you fail consistently at a certain kind of task, perhaps that’s useful feedback that’s time to change the kind of work you do.
Do you need a break?
Even if your perfectionism serves you, some people would do well to take a break and do something where perfectionism isn’t an option: stare at nature or even at a mindless TV show, or my personal fave: get down on the floor and play with a toddler or doggie.
A word to non-perfectionists in dealing with perfectionists
Especially if we’re defensive about our own not-lofty standards, it’s easy to pathologize a perfectionist as someone with a problem. Let’s first ask ourselves if it really is. In some cases, we might be wiser to admire the perfectionist and to share that admiration. After all, it ain’t easy striving to be perfect.
Marty Nemko was named “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and he enjoys a 96 percent client-satisfaction rate. In addition to his articles here on PsychologyToday.com, many more of Marty Nemko's writings are archived on www.martynemko.com. Of Nemko's seven books, the most relevant to readers of this blog is How to Do Life: What They Didn’t Teach You in School. His bio is on Wikipedia.