Perfect Who? Perfect What?
by Denise Berger
My good friend, Jill Diamond of Lanartco, is an entrepreneur, business owner and consultant on topics of presence, communication and language. She recently posed this question on her LinkedIn profile: “Are You Doing Enough?” My initial reaction was a defensive one: of course I don't think I am doing enough! Ugh. Why can’t I be doing more? better? stronger? broader? I need to get out there and do more, be more, live more, see more, experience more, please more, feel more, learn more, and impact more!!!! It all just makes me want to go back to bed…
Fellow writer for mommytrackd.com, Jennifer Sey, poignantly wrote about “the pleaser” an earlier Watercooler article. The desire to make a good impression on so many different people that touch our life is in the same vein as the need for perfection. She points out how she craves regular praise from her boss. She wants to be the best mommy… ever. She wants to please her husband. She wants her parents’ approval. She wants to show her loyalty to her friends. Sound familiar? The truth is that we all beat ourselves up about what we aren't accomplishing to the extent that sometimes we forget to look at what we HAVE completed or done successfully. Rebecca Shambaugh knows. One of the ‘sticky floors’ cited in her book, It’s Not a Glass Ceiling; It’s a Sticky Floor, is that we don’t embrace “good enough” and seeking perfection can very quickly become an obstacle to one’s growth and success story. Yes, we could always be doing more, but all of us are strapped for time and resources so the question is: are we making the most with what we have?
In these economic times, we have to use discretion when choosing where our energy and attention are best served. In order to let go of perfectionism, but not feel as though we’re slacking off, we need to do things differently and think outside of the box. According to the European Professional Women’s Network (with my own add-ons):
- Start asking more for what you want and don’t let others decide for you
- Work smarter, not harder (use technology to improve efficiency, not drain it)
- Voice your ambition (do not assume you will be recognized)
- Stay visible (in all mediums)
- Make yourself indispensable (find a niche and become an expert in it)
- “Improve the transferability of your skills” (and identify your core competencies)
- Pick and choose your activities based on your ultimate interests
- Don’t be afraid to say, “not now”
Most importantly, studies show that being perfect isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. It can lead to greater stress and it doesn’t always lead to better results and success. Phew! What a relief.