Thoughtful Thursday: Is Striving for Perfection Paralyzing You?

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Do you strive for perfection?  When traveling, you always want the trip to be absolutely perfect – and really, who doesn’t? Getting caught up in this mindset can actually hinder your productivity.

This week’s Thoughtful Thursday explores how perfectionism could be paralyzing you and what you can do about it – after all, no one’s perfect right?

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Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler

As I sat down to write this blog, I was blank. I tossed around a bunch of ideas and started a few drafts but nothing felt good enough. I started getting frustrated and just wanted to go eat breakfast to hope for some inspiration (aka procrastinate). What could I write about that would be the perfect update for today? Then it hit me, trying to come up with the “perfect” thing was paralyzing me!

Perfection was actually a theme during several of coaching sessions yesterday so I’m not surprised that I found myself having to practice what I preach today. As my clients expressed the tremendous expectations they put on themselves to be perfect and do things “right,” even their personal growth work, I reminded them that we are all human. Perfection is not only impossible, it is kind of unappealing.

Let’s try a little thought experiment: think about people that you respect and look up to that you really know (not celebrities that you idolize). Do you admire them because they are perfect? Or do they inspire you because they have overcome challenges and created possibilities? Now think of people that come across as perfect to you. Do you feel jealous and kind of annoyed that they seem to have it all together? Do they seem more superhuman than truly human?

Personally, I am far more inspired by people who expose their humanity rather than trying to do everything “right.” For instance at a meeting I was at last week, the new Dean of one of the most prominent grad schools in the country came and spoke to us. I was impressed by all her achievements and verbose vocabulary but I was inspired when she shared about struggles and perceived failures in her personal life. I respected her even more for having the guts to expose her humanity and not hide behind her outstanding credentials.

So do you want to impress people or inspire people? Perfection is boring. Being a human being who is willing to take risks, make mistakes, be vulnerable, and not care what others think of you is exciting and far more interesting. Plus, being driven by perfection is paralyzing. Think of how many things you have delayed beginning or doing because you are waiting to get it perfectly right or for the perfect time. There is no perfect so tell your perfectionist to take a hike. I suspect that when you do you’ll open up to greater levels of self-expression and possibility!

And my perfectionist usually does three rounds of proofreading so if there are grammatical or spelling errors in this blog – c’est la vie.

Fondly,

Christine

“Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.” 
-Rosalynn Carter

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” 
-Salvador Dali

About the Author:

Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about…but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.

Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.

Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100.  www.christinehassler.com

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