Does perfectionism get in the way of getting things done?

Earlier this year, a friend and I agreed to apply to run a 10K race, partly to motivate ourselves to get out and run. I’ve run a 5K event before and wanted to stretch myself a bit more. My friend applied for an early April race which I felt didn’t give me enough training time to be sure of running the whole distance. I wanted longer to train so started to look at May races. In fact I did not apply for a May race and I have only just started to train.

988576_90886406-runningIf I had turned up for the April event, I would have been training since February. I would now be fitter. I might not have run the whole 10K run in April, maybe I would have walked some of the route. Yet, given that my goal is to get fit, or fitter, rather than have an impressive time for the event, that wouldn’t have mattered.

I don’t think of myself as perfectionist, yet my desire to make a ‘proper’ go of the event got in the way of my real goal – to get fit.

The same force is at work with my newsletter. Having gained a number of new subscribers I started to tell myself that this edition needed to be ultra professional, a singing and dancing version of my newsletter. This has meant I haven’t produced a newsletter in nearly four months, putting myself under pressure. And actually my goal is to connect with my readers and share something that be of assistance, rather than be super impressive. My desire to do a great job actually got in the way of my real goals.

I see this with clients who want to make career changes. Sometimes they can be paralysed for years, waiting for the perfect solution to come along. Sometimes a step forward – even if in the wrong direction – is what’s needed to get things moving.

A question for you – what are you delaying because you want to ‘get it right’? Is there an area of your life where you are waiting to have all the answers before you get moving? What is most important in this situation?

Action challenge: I challenge you to take a step forward, without all the answers.To do something rather than nothing.

And if that thought makes you seize up with fear, get in touch for some support in moving forward and making changes.

Let me know by commenting below how this applies to you.

2 thoughts on “Does perfectionism get in the way of getting things done?

  1. Alan

    I loved the article, especially when I heard you speak about some of the internal messages you had, and were examining to see if they were helpful in meeting your goals. For me, I believe that in trying to be perfect, I often defeat myself when trying to meet both, my needs and wants. I think I do it often as a way of avoiding my feelings, especially my fears. I’d love to hear more on this topic. Thanks, Alan


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