Perfectionism as a business owner

by Jennifer Chamberlin
February 2023


Perfectionism is a common personality trait characterized by a strong desire to achieve perfection in everything one does. This can be a positive trait, as it can drive individuals to excel and achieve great things. However, perfectionism can also be a negative trait, as it can lead to high levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression. In this article, we will explore the causes of perfectionism, its effects on mental health, and ways to combat it.

Perfectionism is often driven by a fear of failure, a need for control, and a desire for acceptance and validation. Perfectionists are often highly critical of themselves and others, and they may have difficulty accepting mistakes or imperfections. They may also feel a sense of pressure to always be perfect, which can be exhausting and overwhelming.

Perfectionism can have a negative impact on mental health, as it can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. Perfectionists may be at a higher risk of depression, as they may feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness when they cannot meet their own high standards. Perfectionism can also lead to procrastination and a lack of motivation, as the fear of not being perfect can make it difficult to start and complete tasks.

So, how can one combat perfectionism? Here are a few strategies that can help:

1. Learn to accept imperfection: One of the most important things to do when combating perfectionism is to learn to accept imperfection. This means learning to be okay with mistakes and not seeing them as failures. It also means learning to be content with good enough instead of always striving for perfection.
2. Set realistic goals: Perfectionists often set unrealistic goals for themselves, which can be stressful and overwhelming. To combat this, it is important to set realistic goals that are achievable and manageable.
3. Practice self-compassion: Perfectionists are often highly critical of themselves, which can be damaging to mental health. To combat this, practice self-compassion by being kind and understanding towards yourself when you make mistakes.
4. Challenge negative thoughts: Perfectionists often have negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities. To combat this, challenge these negative thoughts by questioning their validity and replacing them with more positive thoughts.
5. Seek professional help: If you are struggling with perfectionism and it is impacting your daily life, seeking professional help can be beneficial. A therapist or counselor can help you work through the underlying causes of perfectionism and develop strategies for coping with it.

Being a perfectionist can make delegating difficult, as you may want to do everything yourself to ensure it is done to your exact standards. However, delegating tasks can actually help you be more productive and efficient in the long run. Here are some tips for delegating as a perfectionist:

- Clearly communicate your expectations: Make sure the person you are delegating to understands exactly what you want and how you want it done.
- Let go of control: Trust that the person you are delegating to will do the task to the best of their ability, and be willing to accept that it may not be done exactly as you would have done it.
- Give feedback and support: Provide feedback and support to the person you are delegating to, so they can improve and learn from their mistakes.
- Prioritize the task: Identify which task is more important and delegate that first.
- Take time to train: Provide adequate training and resources to the person you are delegating to, to increase their chances of success.
- Celebrate success: Recognize and celebrate when the person you delegated to completes the task successfully.

In conclusion, perfectionism is a common trait that can have negative effects on mental health. However, by learning to accept imperfection, setting realistic goals, practicing self-compassion, challenging negative thoughts, and seeking professional help, one can combat perfectionism and lead a healthier and more fulfilling life.