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3 Ways to Turn Perfectionism Into Healthy Striving

Topics: Career Advice

People who strive for perfectionism in the workplace are sometimes plagued by procrastination, due to a fear that they will produce an imperfect product. This can lead to potentially debilitating anxiety.

Healthy striving, on the other hand, is a more realistic attempt to achieve high standards. Remember these three rules about healthy striving to help you avoid the pitfalls of perfectionism.

1. Adjust Unhelpful Thinking

Perspective has a strong effect upon our experience of life, and perfectionistic thinking has a deleterious effect upon our work performance.

These attitudes decrease achievement. We all have neutral, positive and negative thoughts. For example, a neutral thought is, “I have to finish that report by Friday.” A positive thought is, “I can write a good report.” And a negative thought is, “I will never be able to write a good enough report.” Our thoughts influence our behavior.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Set attainable goals for yourself at work. Choose goals based on what you have already accomplished as well as what the end-goal is.

Perfectionists tend to set goals so high they are impossible to accomplish, and then berate themselves when the goal can’t be achieved. This contributes to depression. Setting attainable goals enables you to succeed and leads to a greater sense of self esteem at the same time.

3. Remember That We Learn From Our Mistakes

Perfectionists cannot stand making mistakes and are highly self-critical. These high standards sometimes prevent them from starting projects. In the long run, fear of making a mistake holds people back from progressing, developing skills and even from being promoted.

People who engage in healthy striving sometimes make mistakes. Instead of experiencing shame, however, healthy strivers analyze their own mistakes and learn from them. They apply their newly acquired knowledge to their next attempt. And they develop new skill sets as a result.

When you make mistakes, stop if you hear yourself being judgmental. Rather, pause for a moment, then analyze your behavior in a more objective fashion and think about how you can improve.

Lastly, be patient with yourself as you adjust your thinking, set realistic goals and learn from your mistakes. Don’t let the pitfalls of perfectionism bring you down at work.

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