Why Perfectionism Is NOT as Good as You Think

Why Perfectionism Is NOT as Good as You Think

Perfectionism is NOT as good as you think. In fact, there are a lot of dangers to perfectionism. In this video, we're going to answer the question, “Why is perfectionism a problem?”, and help you to better understand the root cause of perfectionism.

All videos in the How to Overcome Perfectionism series:

Is perfectionism a coping mechanism?

Now, if you watch the previous video in this How to Overcome Perfectionism series, then a question that you might be wondering right now is, “Is perfectionism a coping mechanism?” 

And the answer is this: It CAN be — however, I believe that it is more empowering and useful to view perfectionism as a symptom rather than a coping mechanism. 

If we think of perfectionism as a coping mechanism, then you might be less inclined to look beneath the surface: What are you coping with? What are you compensating for? Why do you need to have a coping mechanism in place? 

That's probably going to be very uncomfortable for you to explore! If you have a coping mechanism in place, there's likely a reason for it. So there can be a lot of discomfort with uncovering it and understanding what specifically is leading to that.

…But when you think of perfectionism as a symptom, there can be more of an edge of curiosity or investigation or detective work: What is the symptom hiding? 

That's a little bit less scary, a little bit less uncomfortable and a little bit more intriguing. There's a little bit more of an air of mystery about it. And that makes it more amenable to exploring further. 

“Coping mechanism” may feel more like a deliberate action that may be helping you or supporting you, in which case you will be less likely to want to do something about it — whereas “symptom” suggests that the perfectionism is hiding something. 

If it is a symptom, then it's not necessarily beneficial to you, so you will be more inclined to want to deal with it. And, even better, when perfectionism is a symptom then you don't necessarily even need to deal with the perfectionism itself! It's what the perfectionism is hiding and masking that gets to be dealt with. 

If you struggle with letting go of perfectionism, this also means that you don't need to attack the perfectionism itself. 

When perfectionism is a symptom, that means that it is simply information. It removes some of the power that perfectionism might currently have over you. Perfectionism ceases to be as scary or daunting or maybe even impossible to work through when it is a symptom. It is just information of something deeper, and that is something that you can make use of. 

You can see how the language that we use is really important here. Perfectionism as a coping mechanism is a lot more difficult to overcome. It's much more challenging. 

Perfectionism as a symptom disentangles it.

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    Why is perfectionism bad? (Plus why perfectionism isn’t as good as you think)

    dangers of perfectionism and why perfectionism is not as good as you think

    Let's straighten something out. Perfectionism isn't inherently bad. Think of it as a signpost, a marker of something deeper. There is a neutrality about it, if we view it as more of that signpost… It's not bad or good, it's just information, something deeper. 

    That being said, the dangers of perfectionism are real! If you tend to wear perfectionism as a badge of honour and you view it as something that helps you and supports you, then listen up: Here is why perfectionism is not as good as you think it is… 

    When you say, “I'm a perfectionist,” that stance that you have probably indicates that you wear perfectionism as that badge of honour. You glorify perfectionism, you put perfectionism on a pedestal. 

    Perfectionism becomes dangerous when you both glorify it AND when you view it as part of your identity. When it becomes part of who you are, you will likely assume that you cannot change it, that you can't do anything about it. That is very disempowering. 

    And if you glorify it, then you won't WANT to do anything about it. That is what makes perfectionism dangerous. 

    Perfectionism isn't as good as you think. It's not as useful as you think to actively be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is hurting your productivity because it stalls your progress. Perfectionism reduces your efficiency. It takes you a lot longer to achieve your goals, if you ever achieve them.

    Perfectionism is a roadblock to your success. Perfectionism is hurting your productivity. 

    Perfectionism also means that you aren't as likely to take calculated risks: You're so terrified of making mistakes that you aren't going to achieve the type of success that you desire. 

    The last point that I want to mention here is this: As a perfectionist, when you make a mistake — and you will make a mistake, because you are human — you will not be best equipped to handle it. 

    You will be so horrified that you messed up and you will not have the skills to work through your mistakes. You won't be in a good position to learn something from it, to take it as an opportunity and to keep moving forward. You're going to stagnate. All of this is why perfectionism is a problem. 

    Your next steps to overcome perfectionism…

    Now that you know why perfectionism isn't as good as you think it is, in our upcoming videos here in our How to Overcome perfectionism series, we're going to explore the signs that you are a perfectionist and how to stop being a perfectionist. 

    In the meantime, would you like support in unlearning your perfectionism? Do you want to maintain high standards as you make really great progress on your ambitious goals — without perfectionism getting in your way? 

    That's what I'm here for! I'm a Personal Fulfillment Coach and Solopreneur Success Coach, and I have helped many of my clients successfully overcome perfectionism so it stops holding them back. 

    We can work on this as well! Book your spot today: