The pursuit of perfection landed me in the emergency room this week.

img_0266A repost, but one I dearly needed to revisit.  It can happen to the best leaders. They want results. They want their team to win. They want perfection. But, is that necessary? Is it even possible? At what cost does a leader pursue perfection? Here’s 5 reasons why being obsessed with perfection is not good leadership. And trust me, I need this list more than anyone, as I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way.  It basically put me in the hospital this week…


1. You’ll never reach the goal. – We’ve heard it many times growing up. Perfection is not a realistic goal. No matter how many times we hear it, we sometimes get caught up in seeking it. We forget that we are human. Even if we reach our idea of “perfect”, the definition changes. It’s okay to be a bit unrealistic and create stretch goals, just not perfection.

2. It alienates you. – No one around you will ever be able to deliver the perfect results you desire. No one will ever live up to your standards. Imagine being around a leader you could never please? Perfectionists place such high expectations on people, that it can push them away.

3. Disappointment will surround you. – Expecting perfect results will always leave you dissatisfied. Placing that expectation on others sets them up for failure. We try to justify this behavior by saying we’re driven and passionate. In reality, perfectionism is a form of selfishness. You will never be satisfied. You will never be happy. See #1.

4. You will be in a constant state of stress. – Imagine working toward a goal you will never reach. How stressful would that be? That stress leads to self-doubt, followed by low self-esteem that feeds the stress. A vicious cycle.

Pretty soon your body will physically mainifest the stress, until you have no choice but to choose a different path or possibly die.  My heart went into an irregular rhythym this week, basically because I wasn’t sleeping well and was in a constant state of stress and worry about my environment.  I want things clean and neat all the time.  I don’t want a lot of noise in the house.  We have four children under 10 years old.  I rest my case.

5. You will miss the journey. – Perfection, if it was even possible, would be the destination. It’s when you say “I’ve arrived”. If you are always looking at the destination, you will miss the ride. For example, a person that always has to clean up before they can relax misses most of the party.  (That’s me)

  Are you obsessed with being perfect?  I am at times…

First, you need to identify if you are obsessed with perfection. Then, understand that things don’t have to be perfect in order to be right. If you are obsessed with being perfect, imprint this list into your mind. Print it out and put it on your bathroom mirror, until you know it by heart.

You’ll have to become okay with living in less than ideal situations, because that’s what life is at times.

Learn to take it easy on yourself and others. It will be hard at first, but soon, you’ll feel less stressed out. People will trust you with issues, if they know you will be understanding about less than perfect results. You will gain influence and your leadership skills will grow. It’s pretty liberating to realize that you don’t have to be perfect, especially when you’ve been obsessed with it.

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