Do you often feel that you should be doing better no matter what you do?
Do you repeatedly review your work and always mistakes spot even the tiniest of mistakes?
When you don't reach 100%, do you feel a low mood?
Do you tend to focus only on the results, not the process of getting there?
Do you find that others just can't meet your standards, and you can't bring yourself to delegate anything?
Do you often feel tense?
Are you terrified about making mistakes?
Do you respond defensively to criticism?
Do you believe there is a right and a wrong way to do most things?
Do you check other people's work even when it might not be necessary?
Do you feel you need to be in control, because if you relinquish control things will go wrong or quality will suffer?
Do you have difficulty making decisions, and worry about making the wrong choice?
Is being below average a terrible prospect to you?
When you look back on your life, do you see mostly your failures?
If you answered yes to the majority of the questions above, chances are you are quite the perfectionist!
Being deemed a perfectionist can seem like a compliment; it seems as though you would be proud to reach the highest standards, and that striving for excellence would make you more effective. In fact, studies show that perfectionism causes health risks, stress and an intense fear of failure and sense of inadequacy. Fear of not doing things perfectly can be completely immobilising, leading to procrastination and low self esteem; the higher stress levels in creates actually reduces effectiveness.
Perfectionists are driven to to do everything to exemplary standards, and anything less will mean they have failed, or others will see them as a 'fraud'. It can stop you from accurately perceiving your successes, and interfere with flexible problem solving, decision making and fun or spontaneity. Literally, it can be exhausting and unfulfilling in equal measure.
Perfectionism isn’t all bad. Aiming for high standards, conscientiousness, and organisational skills are often considered gold-standard traits, which we all strive towards to some degree. However, when it starts to interfere with an individual’s health and happiness, it becomes a problem.
Good luck - let me know how you get on!