Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

21 February 2018
21 February 2018, Comments: 0


I should start a 12-step program for perfectionists. I have met many in my career. Perfectionists are afraid of taking action because they might make a mistake.

I understand! I call myself a “recovering perfectionist”.

If you are afraid of taking action because you don’t want to make a mistake, I have some help for you:

  • Make a promise – Make a promise to yourself or someone else that you will complete a project or task within a time limit. Even if it is not perfect! Having an accountability buddy will help you let go of that project within the time limit.
  • Don’t expect 100%, settle for 80% – This could be painful to the perfectionists who are reading this blog. Perfectionists always strive for 100%, for no errors, for perfect wording. However, the final 20% is often not worth the time. So if your work permits, let go of the project when you think it is at 80%.
  • Start today – Don’t wait for the beginning of the week or the beginning of the month or when things are “right”. Start today to release projects that are not perfect. Start with something small, but start right now!
  • Give yourself permission – Those of us who strive for perfection need to give ourselves permission to let go of something when it is less than perfect. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
  • Recognize that perfectionism impedes success – If you want success in your career and life, then realize that trying to be perfect hinders you from being successful. Let yourself be less than perfect and keep focused on success.
  • Take a small step – It is easier to take a small step than a large leap. Choose a small step, perhaps sending out something that has only been proofread twice. Once you get comfortable with the small steps, you can take on larger challenges to overcome perfectionism.


If you think that being a perfectionist might be hindering your career or life, consider the 6 hints above. Start small, but start today!

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