I’m sometimes asked how I get things done when I’m a perfectionist. It’s an understandable question. Perfectionists tend to strive for perfection, so why would they do anything if they knew failure was a potential result?
One of my favorite musicians is a perfectionist. I know this because, in my sporadic attempts to be a dedicated fan, I spent some time reading this musician’s comments about one of his albums. He described himself as a perfectionist musician, then stated his work was never finished, only abandoned.
The problem with perfectionists, but by no means not the only one (Yes, I’m repeating a line from one of my other posts about perfectionism.), is that they become fixated upon their failures. Those failures may be real. They may be imagined. They may be small, such as forgetting to send an email or to make a phone call. They may be large, such as not caring for shipping arrangements for an upcoming trade show or not paying a bill on time. It doesn’t matter. In the mind of a perfectionist, a small failure is or becomes equal with a large failure.
As a perfectionist, it’s easy for me to feel like a failure. Entertaining a single failure in my mind increases the likelihood that I will remember other failures and shortcomings and that I will obsess about them. Suddenly, I’m not a mere failure. I’m an abysmal one.