How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (With 3 Simple Words)

Are you a perfectionist?

I am. It’s served us well through the years, hasn’t it? When you were still in school, it got you to stay up late revising and making things better. You made sure what you turned in was top-notch.

It got you the “A.”

This is because schools grade you on “the finished product.”

But there’s only one problem…

In life, none of us are finished products.

That’s why perfectionism hurts you.

For example, see if any of the following fit you:

  • You chronically procrastinate or turn things in late—because you want them to be “just right.”
  • You hold people to unreasonable standards
  • You micromanage

So…how do you achieve balance?

How do you keep the good part of your perfectionism (the high standards) without letting the bad part (unreasonableness) take over?

To stop being a perfectionist, you have to remind yourself of three simple words:

Everyone is a “work in progress.”

When you adopt a “work in progress” mindset, you balance the good part of perfectionism (setting high standards) without letting the bad part (unreasonableness) take over.

You’re able to take criticism.

You know whatever you turn in is a “draft,” or “version” of your work.

Drafts aren’t expected to be the best version. So criticism isn’t an attack, it’s a way to make your draft better.

You see mistakes as opportunities.

There are two ways to view mistakes:

Failures or opportunities.

Everyone makes mistakes. The problem with viewing mistakes as failures is that you judge yourself—and others—by a standard that’s impossible to reach.

In contrast, as a work-in-progress, you continue to learn and grow. Now, mistakes are opportunities to collect data and improve.

You go from judge to teammate.

People hate being judged. But everyone loves a good teammate.

As a good teammate, you don’t focus on what others can do better. Rather, your focus is on what you can do to make others better.

So, if you struggle with being a perfectionist, remember:

You haven’t reached your full potential. There’s always room to grow.

Leverage your strength, and mitigate your weakness.

Keep your high standards, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes (or to allow others to make mistakes).

Because, after all…

We’re all works in progress.


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