When I was younger, I had always thought of myself as a perfectionist. I was obsessed with having everything neat, organized and structured. Having everything in place just gave me such a high.  I thought this was being a perfectionist, but the more I got to know the ‘real perfectionists’ – the clearer it became that I was definitely not!

I am more of ‘you don’t need to get it right, you need to get it going’ type of person, whereas perfectionists are more of ‘these are the rules and standards I have placed on something and this is not negotiable, come hell or high waters.’ 

What I realized is there is a fine balance between high standards and getting things done and this is the sweet spot for productivity, delivering high quality in less time.

Yet 99% of people fall on either side, struggling to stay in that sweet spot. High standards are essential, but most perfectionists have unrelenting high standards. They tend to put all their focus on achieving and doing it right, and not so much on focusing on the right things and getting them done.

Is perfectionism undermining your results?

To answer this question, I invite you to take the emotion out of it and reflect on yourself from a third eye view. We are often so attached and caught up in our emotions and ourselves, we can’t see the trees from the wood.

1. Is there room for mistakes in your work and life?
What’s your immediate thought? If you said, hell no’, you are a perfectionist!  My imagination is you spend more time than necessary to get things done to avoid making mistakes and far more time needed to get the result. Mistakes are part of the learning process, if you try to avoid them, you are delaying success!

2. How flexible are you in work?
To succeed in business and be more productive, you must be flexible, open to change and ready to act on it! Not everything goes according to plan. Most perfectionists aren’t flexible, they feel there is only one way to do something, so they are not open to other more efficient ways of doing something, limiting results.

3. Do you struggle to delegate?
Do you feel ‘you can always do the job better yourself’ or ‘things have to be done a certain way’, so you might as well do them yourself? Delegating is a key ingredient in leveraging your time and focusing on what you do best. Don’t assume you are the best person to do the job and that any other way is less effective, these assumptions will keep you working more than you need to.

4. Do you feel like it’s all or nothing when you approach a task?
If you don’t feel confident you can succeed in the task, do you put it off until you do, until the right time? You can imagine how this approach undermines your productivity alone. If you keep putting tasks off until you ‘feel’ ready, you will choose the easy ones and these are not going to get you the big results.

Perfectionists are so attached to the result and getting it right – they end up procrastinating more than anyone else!

5. Do you feel depressed when you don’t achieve your goals?
Do you take it so personally it knocks you off your course and completely out if states for days? 
You want to separate your results from your value, look at it as  a goal failure and not a personal failure, otherwise your self worth will be tied to your results and you will create more problems because of this for your self esteem. 

Perfectionism will eat away at your self esteem, it will take away from action, cause you to focus on the wrong things at the wrong time and definitely contribute to a stressful journey ahead. You need to change your beliefs and the value you attach to your results.


You cannot have a successful business with the time and freedom you want if you are so hang up on attaching your value to your results and getting it perfect. It might sound hard, but the truth is, perfectionism undermines your productivity and your mindset. There is nothing great about it! 


Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of progress! 
Are you committed to results or living in your head? 


To your Success

Kirstin ODonovan



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