Self-Esteem For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

If you’re a perfectionist, you’re probably thinking that if you let go of these attributes completely, you’ll do terrible work and lose whatever determination or discipline you have. However, now that you know that perfectionism serves no positive purpose and can actually damage your performance, you can commit yourself to making changes step by step. In this way, you can make speedy progress.

The first step onto a more beneficial path is to understand the difference between being a high achiever and devoting yourself to being perfect. They’re similar in some ways but different enough that the first is healthy and the second is not.

When you work at being a high achiever, you push yourself to do your very best, but you don’t try to be perfect or put yourself down if your work isn’t faultless. And you’re not anxious that something isn’t just right or that your best isn’t good enough. If it goes well, fine; if it doesn’t go well, you’ll work with it to make it better.

If you make mistakes, you don’t beat yourself up about them. Rather, you understand that making mistakes actually helps you learn. You realize that errors help you see where you need to make adjustments until you no longer make those mistakes. So you analyze them to see what you did incorrectly, strive not to duplicate those same mistakes in the future, and keep on going.

Perfectionists tend to worry that they haven’t done well enough even when things go well. As a high achiever, when you see you’ve done some things well, you pat yourself on the back and give yourself credit for doing a good job in those areas. You’re pleased with your accomplishments. You recognize that you’re improving as you do well more often and make fewer errors.

The table lists some areas in which you can compare being a high achiever to being a perfectionist.

High Achievers versus Perfectionists
Being a High Achiever Being a Perfectionist
You research material for your project, give it your best effort, complete it in a timely fashion, and feel good about what you prepared. You research material for your project, work on it until it’s perfect, check it over several times, turn it in late, and worry that it’s not good enough.
You delegate work to your coworkers who have expertise and who you feel will do a very good job. You keep all your work to yourself because you can’t trust anybody, and then you feel overwhelmed because you can’t get everything done on time.
You acknowledge your achievements and feel proud of yourself for accomplishing them. Although you’ve achieved many things, you can’t feel satisfaction because your work is never absolutely perfect.
When you make mistakes in your work, you appreciate them because you learn from them. You evaluate what happened and think about how to avoid having this happen again. When you make mistakes, you’re terribly ashamed, and you try to cover them up so no one knows you made them.
You’re excited to undertake new things and learn new skills because you know your value in the workplace will improve. You know there’s a big learning curve when you learn something new and that mistakes are common, so you avoid putting yourself in that position.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

S. Renee Smith is a renowned self-esteem and branding expert, speaker, author, and resource to the media. Her expertise in personal and professional development and ability to inspire others to make positive, permanent changes has made her a sought-after consultant and speaker to Fortune 500 corporations, universities, government and nonprofit agencies, and churches. Vivian Harte has taught assertiveness skills online to over 10,000 students worldwide. She has 14 years of experience teaching in the classroom at Pima Community College and the University of Phoenix. She also hosted her own radio and television shows for many years in Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, and Tucson.

This article can be found in the category: