6. July 2020

Here are 4 tips on how to do a good job without falling into the perfectionist trap:

By Riccardo Giacometti

1. Strive for challenges

One of the aspects of perfectionism is to avoid situations in which one could fail. The quest for mastery, in turn, requires increasing effort and greater challenges. Therefore, you should:

Look for experiences that are outside your comfort zone.

Find opportunities to test your skills and challenge them so hard that you sometimes fail.

Learning cannot happen without failure.

If you have never failed, then you probably have not really tried and you may be striving for perfectionism rather than excellence.

2. Seek feedback

Perfectionism is often associated with avoiding criticism. Feedback is the key to continuously improving yourself and reflecting on your performance.

Reflect on your current situation and find out how you can improve it.

Making mistakes is part of being human. Recognize your potential for improvement and use feedback as a stepping-stone to build your skills and talents.

3. Trust yourself

In a growth-oriented culture, improving one’s own abilities plays a major role. If you make a mistake or fail, you should keep trying.

This is more than just a phrase you may have heard from a parent or teacher. It is crucial for any development. It is only natural to miss a goal or fail at a task when you are challenging yourself.

A perfectionist attitude is self-destructive.

What distinguishes those who achieve a lot from those who achieve little? It is the question of whether failure encourages people to make further efforts. Be kind to yourself and trust that you will make the effort to take the next big step.

4. Anticipate change

Develop a mindset in which improvements are the norm. Identify the elements that are an obstacle and slow down progress. In comparison, also identify the elements that can be introduced for testing, learning and improvement.

Ensure a system of continuous improvement to achieve excellence. This thinking, which is sometimes called Design Thinking (I have already published an article about it), applies to both the situations below:

You may have never considered yourself perfect, but that should not prevent you from taking reasonable risks and pursuing opportunities.

The pressure to be perfect may come either from ourselves or from others, but it is rarely constructive.

The alternative is the pursuit of excellence. Strive for challenges, seek feedback, trust yourself and anticipate change so that you can be outstanding even if you are not perfect.