Perfectionism – the situation matters

Why your perfectionism is your greatest weakness!

Silvia Follmann

Alles vorbereitet, alles perfekt? Nein, so kommt man nicht immer zum besten Ergebnis. (Quelle: Pexels)
Everything prepared, everything perfect? No, this is not always the best way to achieve the best result. (Source: Pexels)

Especially on the job, many people want to make everything as perfect as possible. But is that a good idea at all? Well – there are good reasons why your thirst for perfection is really not your greatest strength.

I am a perfectionist! And that’s not good at all

When I do something, I do it right. Be it my job, my looks or the planning of children. Really? Today, there’s hardly anything more that drives us on in our lives than to really get the best out of everything. Perfectionism has mutated into a popular sport. And that’s actually something good, because what should be wrong with a perfect result? Well, what sounds good at first often becomes a trip hazard. Because if you want to make everything as perfect as possible, you often don’t make any progress at all, get into maximum stress, also produce maximum stress for others – just to have to find out at the end: Life is such that even the best plan sometimes doesn’t work out. Couldn’t this have been easier? Oh yes.

But also and especially in job life, perfectionists are more likely to get in the way than to make real progress with their qualities. Because it’s here that counts most: Just do it. Not without a plan, but also not with a misunderstood demand for perfection. Otherwise you can break every concept and throw every strategy over the head x times. In the end it is like this: Nothing is perfect what is made by people. And it doesn’t have to be. So why one should really deal with this trait urgently, Kate Boogaard wrote from her own experience as a perfectionist for The Muse and we took a look at the arguments.

Why the urge to perfection is not a strength

1. It’s holding you back

People who tend towards perfectionism prefer not to do anything they don’t know is really good at. After all, who wants to struggle only to be left with a mediocre result afterwards? Well, maybe that’s not the most pleasant and satisfying situation in the world – but it’s part of life, damn it. Anyone who only ever moves within his safety framework will never find out what’s still waiting out there – and that doesn’t just include partial successes, but other things in which you’re really good and which above all are fun and enriching. Those who draw their boundaries here too early will not be able to grow beyond themselves, either professionally or as a person.

2. You put your focus on the wrong things

Those who concentrate above all on completing their tasks perfectly can also lose themselves in it. And that means: Instead of thinking again or rethinking when necessary, perfectionists like to lose themselves in details. And that doesn’t lead to the perfect result, but rather to the fact that you have no result at all. Instead of spending hours working on the right font or the right colour balance of the pictures, you should concentrate on the big picture and, if in doubt, get colleagues or friends on board who can give you quick and uncomplicated advice that helps you get ahead. And if it’s just that they tell you: Don’t waste your time with this unnecessary stuff!

3. You never take the time to celebrate your successes

Your favourite and most frequent thought? Is as a perfectionist with certainty: “Yes, that’s quite good, but it could have been much better.” And that’s exactly why you always forget to celebrate your successes – because why should you celebrate something you could have done better? In addition, the next tasks are already waiting, which want to be mastered quickly and with bravura. This is not only sad for you, but also for your team, which will be discouraged sooner or later. In addition, this behavior can play a significant role in overtaxing yourself at some point. Hello, Burnout!

4. It often makes you unbearable

What is sometimes difficult to bear for everyone in job life is that people simply tick differently. But what annoys others can quickly turn into a kind of control mania for perfectionists – because of course they expect not only the best possible performance from themselves, but also from everyone else. And they often forget that their path is not the only right one. Those who keep trying to impose their behavioural corset on others won’t make friends in the office. Which is not the best strategy: Because a perfect result often needs more than one person who has worked on it.

5. You spend a life full of disappointments

You just have to say it again: Nothing is really perfect. And everyone has to deal with this reality. But no, now there is no advice that you should only half-heartedly tick off everything from now on, but should simply forgive yourself and others small mistakes without despairing of them. If you don’t manage that, the consequence will be to spend a life in dissatisfaction – and how perfect would that have been in the end? Right, not at all.

At the end it should be said: Wanting to do things really well is unquestionably a great character trait. But to do everything perfectly is simply not achievable – and in the end it often takes a lot more than just getting things done. So don’t sell this as your “weakness” in the job interview, just to score with special diligence – first of all, it’s an ancient trick that every human resources person can see through and secondly, it doesn’t make you look as good as you might have thought.