LIFESTYLE
30/05/2014 11:00 BST | Updated 30/05/2014 11:00 BST

How Being A Perfectionist Is Holding You Back, Live A Little

Mark John via Getty Images

Sometimes we need to be called out on really obvious behaviours that are getting us nowhere. And, surprisingly, perfectionism is one of them.

When you think more deeply about the idea, it makes perfect sense.

If you assume that all your productive efforts are not good enough (because how can they be, if you're a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist?), then there's not much chance you'll feel good about yourself at the end of each day.

A new book by high-achieving journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman looks at why women still lack confidence no matter how much they've accomplished, reveals Time.com.

The Confidence Code explores "The perils of feminine self-doubt and how they impact women’s professional aspirations".

According to Time.com: "Women are more likely than men to be perfectionists, holding themselves back from answering a question, applying for a new job, asking for a raise, until they’re absolutely 100 percent sure we can predict the outcome.

(Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.)"

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Of course, having aspirations is hardly a personality flaw. But experts point out that we need to keep these feelings in check.

"The problem is when the quest for perfectionism turns into an obsession – so much so that the perfectionist becomes neurotic over gaining “perfection” and refuses to accept anything less than perfect. In the process, he misses the whole point altogether. Such perfectionists can be known as “maladaptive perfectionists”," writes Lifehack.

In practical terms, perfectionism can reduce our effectiveness at work.

It can be hard to let a task go, so we become less efficient. We'll go out of our way to add value to projects even when they might not be necessary, in order to satisfy our perfectionist urges. And instead of persevering with tasks, we may wait for the ideal time or situation.

All in all, perfectionism can stop us seeing the wood for the trees.

As Lifehack puts it: "We fuss over unfounded problems. We anticipate problems before they crop up, and come up with solutions to address these problems. It becomes an obsession to pre-empt problems. As it turns out, most of these problems either never do surface or they don’t matter that much."

The other drawback with playing the perfectionist is that you might miss important opportunities to GET STUFF WRONG, and learn how to deal with failure.

Forbes points out: "As perfectionists, we have a tendency to play the starring role in countless self-doubt sagas and confuse compliments for deep, authentic sources of self-esteem and inner peace.

If you think that you might be a perfectionist, it could be useful to take The Confidence Code quiz, which will assess how you feel about yourself.

The site also offers fantastic advice:

"Missteps really do provide accelerated opportunity for growth, as well as a chance to tap into another internal resource: self-compassion.

"As the research shows, practicing self-compassion provides a sturdy emotional safety net, one much stronger than our traditional concept of self-esteem.

"Self-compassion, centers on the acceptance of our weaknesses. Instead of saying, “I am not a failure,” it’s more useful to say, “Yes, sometimes I do fail, we all fail, and that’s okay.”

"It’s extending the same kindness and tolerance – the very same qualities we find so much easier to afford our friends – to ourselves, while coming to terms with our own imperfections."

Wise words, indeed.

Do you suffer from perfectionist tendencies? (Find out below)

What have you done to make work wonderful? Share your stories on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #makeworkwonderful

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