Perfectionism: Taking The Joy Out of Success


I had a great discussion yesterday on my Women Enjoying Success radio show with Performance Coach Janet Hilts about the destructiveness of perfectionism. It started me thinking about myself – I call myself a recovering perfectionist. It’s such a hard road to go down, having to be perfect. 

You’re going to want to listen to the entire show Perfectionism: How It Can Take The Joy Out of Success because it is literally filled with powerful information about why perfectionism is so destructive to our self-esteem and our desire to succeed. Janet and I both spoke from first hand experience – it was empowering. 

I’ve included a link to the radio show at the bottom of this post. 

Here are some of the highlights from my side of the discussion: 

1. I was “trained” to be perfect. I was praised for being the “perfect little lady,” having the perfect paper, getting the perfect report card, etc. Perfect became a standard by which I judged myself and my worth. 

2. I learned there were many perks to being “perfect” – praise, honors, love, accolades, recognition, attention and even monetary rewards. I was sure that was the way I was going to live my life – striving for perfection. 

3. My thinking became: “If I’m not perfect, then I’m not good, or smart or lovable, or talented or worthy or deserving of being successful. I had to be perfect because good isn’t good enough.” 

4. By the time I realized that perfection was an impossible standard to live up to, my self-esteem had suffered big time. I had put up my own internal glass ceiling that was limiting my ability to succeed. 

5. It’s taken many years of self-development but I’ve learned that I can be great and do things excellently and I don’t have to strive for perfection. 

6. I realize that perfectionists prepare to be prepared for success. They get the schooling, buy all the tools, gather the information, go to all the meetings – they spend so much time preparing, they don’t have time to actually “do.” Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and go for it! 

7. Perfectionists take the joy out of success. When you focus on perfectionism, it is very difficult to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. After all, it wasn’t a job well done if it wasn’t perfect! Success becomes a joyless struggle. 

8. When your unconscious/subconscious mind realizes that you don’t enjoy success – you begin to keep yourself safe from the discomfort of success by yanking the rug of success out from yourself  – that’s called self-sabotage. 

9. The need to be perfect leads to a distrust of the ability to judge what’s good and what isn’t. When you can’t trust your own feelings of self-worth, you look to others to define and affirm self-esteem – tell you how good you are and how well you’re doing. 

10. As you continue to allow outside sources to set the standard for your accomplishments, you’re chipping away at even more of your healthy self-esteem. It’s like a never-ending cycle of what I call “self-abuse.” 

The above is just an outline of what I covered in this information packed radio broadcast – Janet had even more valuable insights and information. It’s worth your time to listen to the whole thing with pen and paper and take notes. Just click on the white arrow and the program will begin to play. You can listen 24/7 on your computer or you can download it from iTunes. At iTunes we are listed under Women Enjoying Success

Leave a comment and let us know what you think about the broadcast!

Copyright © 2010 Sharon Michaels – All Rights Reserved

I’m Sharon and my business is dedicated to empowering and mentoring women who have chosen to successfully work for themselves. I teach you how to do business successfully.

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