“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield.”
- Brené Brown
As a Stickler you are likely longing to fix a few things in the picture above. :-) You invest energy and time on getting things right…doing things once and ensuring it is your best work. This provides immense satisfaction and results (which your boss loves)! You are committed to correctness, meeting expectations with integrity; holding others accountable to your high standards. You are driven and work tirelessly to ensure this level of conscientiousness, even perfection, is present in everything you do, regardless of personal sacrifice (working hard, late, etc.).
Compromise finds you when others don’t value your principles or (worse) don’t follow the established norms and rules. You take them to task to get things done “the right way” making sure their lack of integrity won’t mean more work for you, or stain your reputation. This may create friction with others, causing you confusion and hurt – you only want to make the world a better place, how can they not see that?
When irritation from compromise comes home it fuels a need for order and correctness… criticizing your loved ones efforts and demanding things be done your way (the “right” way). Your frustration may create inflexibility at home, compensating for what you are missing at work (a need for principles).
Free Your Potential...
These high expectations of yourself and others are admirable (I get it, you only want what is best, your intentions are solid). This drive for perfection is an important part of who you are and how you get things done; hardwired as a part of your values and beliefs. But perfection can also become a shield that keeps you from reaching your full potential. The world is a very messy place, and setting yourself the goal to correct whatever you see as needing correcting, it’s exhausting (I mean, I got tired just typing that – are you tired too?). It is also unrealistic.
While you are chasing perfection, you are turning away from the very things that support your success and well being. The natural order of things is random and abstract (not perfect), just like nature itself. You are also a natural being, a dynamic and visionary person who can see how things could work better, or be easier to do, etc. But you can’t get there preoccupied with details, critiquing everything, and exhausted because nothing is ever right. So put down your Shield of Perfection and give yourself permission to be compassionate… let the messes in life go (no, the items on your desk do not have to be lined up just so …that’s right, I see you). That internal voice that is whipping you so hard, she has an “off” button. Go on - push it. Isn’t that better?
Loosen up at work; share a few laughs, get to know your coworkers without comparing yourself to them (or correcting them). Becoming open to the many ways work can be done right means you’ll compromise less and be more able to enjoy your working life.
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