If your perfectionism is getting in the way of your work, simply rewording one of your strict personal rules can help ease your transition into a healthier state of mind.
The two types of perfection, as discussed by the skill training site MindTools, are “adaptive perfectionism” and “maladaptive perfectionism”. Here are the key differences:
- Adaptive perfectionists work on developing their skills. Their standards are always rising, and they approach work with optimism, pleasure, and a desire to improve. This is clearly a healthy type of perfectionism.
- Maladaptive perfectionists, however, are never satisfied with what they achieve. If something isn’t perfect, they dismiss it. They may experience fear of failure , doubt, unhappiness, and other painful emotions.
Along with the tips in the video above, there is something you can do to help adjust your maladaptive state. Think about the rules you have in place that keep everything perfect to you, and think of one that is very rigid or unfair:
Then reword it to be more helpful, flexible, and forgiving. For instance, imagine you never suggest new ideas during team brainstorming meetings, because there’s never enough time to think them through. You fear suggesting an idea that might make you look bad, so you always keep quiet. Your personal rule is that you should never offer an idea until you’ve had plenty of time to perfect it.
You could readjust this rule by saying, “Ideas don’t have to be perfect during brainstorming sessions. The team’s purpose is to take rough ideas, talk them through, and determine whether they’re sound. My team will appreciate my input.”
Perfectionism can lead to procrastination and tremendous amounts of stress when it reaches an unhealthy level, but by easing yourself into less rigid circumstances, you can take away the pressure. It’s ok to try and be as good as you can be, but if your work has to always be perfect, your productivity can end up suffering.