The One Proven Method To Overcome Perfectionism Once And For All

The One Proven Method To Overcome Perfectionism Once And For All

I’m a perfectionist.  There, I said it.  It’s a problem that I battle most days of my life.  At home…at work…in relationships…literally everywhere.

And, if you fight this battle, you know that it can have a profound impact on your life and the way that you work and live.  But, there is hope!  I have discovered a way to overcome perfectionism and it works for me every single time that I decide to use this method.  Here it is:

JUST DO IT!

I know.  I know.  Ground breaking.  Life changing.  I’m a genius.  I appreciate the accolades.  But, let me explain…

My perfectionism causes me to hesitate before starting on a project or assignment.  I get caught up in thoughts of failure and producing a product that simply isn’t good enough.  I am scared of criticism and the idea of not offering something that is high quality paralyzes me from getting started.  Instead, I should JUST DO IT.  Get started.  Begin researching. Begin writing.  Start calling.  Just do it.

My perfectionism also prevents me from completing things.  So, even when I am able to get started on a project or assignment, I often am unable to bring it to a full conclusion.  My inner dialogue tells me that I don’t have the right skills or talents.  I tell myself that there’s no way that what I’ve done will meet my supervisor’s expectations or that what I’ve done will in any way bless or help others.  Rather than producing work that is original, I start to look for experts in the field who have done it before and borrow their ideas.  Instead, I should JUST DO IT.  Complete the project.  Upload the blog post.  Schedule the presentation.  Just do it.

My perfectionism impacts the relationships that I have.  I often feel like I have to be the perfect friend or else I’m not a good friend.  I compare my style of friendship to others’ and I quickly determine that I’m not as good a friend as they are so why even try.  I am constantly worried about my ‘friend’s’ evaluation of me as a friend.  So, I don’t reach out to schedule that lunch.  Or I don’t show up when everyone’s getting together.  And I certainly don’t try to make new friends.  Instead, I should JUST DO IT.  Schedule the time to hang out.  Be vulnerable and let my friends inside.  Go to the event.  Just do it.

My perfectionism affects my family.  I am often concerned about how good of a husband and father I am.  Obsessed, really.  I want to be the best at both.  But, in reality, I can’t be perfect at either.  So, when I fail or fall short, my perfectionism leads me to beat myself up…pretty bad.  I once again find myself in a place where I’m paralyzed from taking action.  If I can’t be 100% consistent with date nights with my kids, I don’t do date nights at all.  If I can’t lead my wife and I in doing daily devotions, then we won’t do them at all.  If I have a great idea to honor my wife or bless my kids and I can’t pull it off perfectly, then I won’t do anything at all.  Instead, I should JUST DO IT.  I should tell my wife how I feel even if the words that come out aren’t exactly right the first time.  I should schedule the date nights and follow through on them as often as I’m able because some are better than none.  I should try and fail and learn and do better next time, giving myself grace through it all.

My perfectionism dictates my own sense of worth.  I hold myself to a very high standard.  When I fail, there is no one beating me up worse than I beat up myself.  The words that I regularly hear in my head, especially when I’m about to do something that requires a ‘perfect’ outcome are things like: I’m not good enough, I’m not prepared enough, I’m going to miss the mark, etc.  These thoughts hold me back from living the life that I believe God created me to live.  I often wait rather than initiate in life.  I wait for others to innovate rather than be the one who has the big ideas.  Instead, I should JUST DO IT.  Stop worrying about what others think of me.  Stop spending time in the space of my brain that tells me lies about myself.  Start living life to its fullest.  Start leading.  Just do it.

In fact, when I “just do it,” I can honestly say that I’ve been impressed with the things I’ve been able to do.  I can’t think of a time recently when I’ve taken this mentality and regretted it at all.  And, each time I “just do it,” it makes the next time even easier.

Are you a perfectionist?  Can you relate with any of these scenarios?  What is holding you back and where do you need to JUST DO IT?  Comment below…

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3 thoughts on “The One Proven Method To Overcome Perfectionism Once And For All

  1. Matt Short

    How could you have found your way inside my head? Being paralyzed by the idea of not being good enough is crushing sometimes. It holds back my creativity in areas of uncertainty.
    The one area it effects my leadership the most is giving critical feedback to people that report to me. I want to get it right. I want it to bring about positive change. I want them not to be angry. I want the feedback to be perfect. So I delay or often neglect to give the feedback altogether.

  2. Christy Daugherty

    My goodness, Tim! Are you certain we are not biological siblings?!?
    I am the EXACT same way, and you couldn’t have described the quality more clearly or perfectly!
    I am a HUGE procrastinator because I WAY overthink things. I don’t want to do something, even something redicuously simple, until I am sure that I have considered every scenario to be sure I’m choosing the right path.
    Perfectionism not only makes my days miserable with self-doubt and worry, but it makes the lives of my Husband and son more difficult because doing things their way is not good enough. I actually feel sorry for them when I take a step back and look. I am so nit-picky and such a micromanager that in the end all I’ve accomplished is filling them with self-doubt and frustration. :0/
    The need for control in every situation also stems from this quality. The thought is this: if I can contol everything, then it will all be perfect. Shallow much? I know it’s awful, but I think this is what I actually tell myself!
    The fallacies here are this:
    1. God did not create us to control everything, that is his job. We must have faith that He knows what is right, good, and in the proper hour.
    2. The beauty of life is in the imperfection.

    I have dealt with depression since I was 16 (you know, a couple years…). I am confident that all the problems have just one stem: perfectionism. The need to control life, struggling to make decisions, second-guessing, frustration, self-loathing…all because I am not perfect. After many years, and the grace of God, I now know that the bottom-line is that He did not create me to be perfect, he created me to be me. Now in my 30s I am trying to figure out who “me” is…

    As I complete this narriative, I scrolled back to the beginning so that I could re-check and censor myself, then I stopped… I’m just going to post it… Just going to “do it” :0)

  3. Angie Verissimo

    Thank you Tim for blogging on this subject.
    I myself struggle with this same issue. I constantly feel that every “I” and every “T” has to be crossed in life. Can you imagine how much this has slowed me down?
    I found that as I work on things outside of my home, work, etc…it is best for me to have people hold me accountable to see it through to the end. My close friends push me because they see so much more than I do in myself since I seem to I freeze because the “I”wasn’t crossed.
    In my home life it is different since I am a single mom. When I find myself slowed or paralyzed because I want to be a “perfectionist”, I do as you do, “Just Do It.” The problem is that I get to the “freeze” point before it hits me that I need to push on.
    As I am writing this, I am thinking how much more I could have done with my life if I didn’t let perfectionism define me? Wow, that just took my breathe away.
    I believe having this trait brings you to having faith. You need faith to “Push Forward” or as you say “Just Do It” , when you mind is saying “Hold On”, cross the “I” and “T” first.

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