Accelerate Your Career - Let Go of Perfectionism

Blog Post created by kimberly.wilson Advocate on Nov 14, 2016

I recently read an article on Fortune “How Perfectionism Holds Women Back at Work.” It mentions that the author Lori Bailey, global head of special lines at Zurich Insurance “always wanted to make sure everything was done right. Whether it was a business letter, project, or just a simple email, I put so much emphasis on making sure it was perfect that I often lost sight of what I was trying to achieve.”  She also goes on to mention she had so much more invested in her work that it was even harder to receive constructive criticism when it was offered. 


Women worry about perfection much more than men.  I know I struggle with this.  I watch my husband work on house projects and he does a fantastic job, but it takes him a little less time than it does me.  I worry if there is a speck of dust or if I might scuff the tile with the ladder.  I detail every moment before starting; whereas my husband lists what he needs, gets the items out and then goes right too it. If he makes a mistake he fixes it right there.  I know I have a painting project I want to do and I have watched three videos on YouTube as to how professionals do it.  I still haven’t bought the paint because I don’t want to do the project wrong.


As a woman entrepreneur this characteristic can become even more prevalent.  We worry that if it is not right it will make us look bad and maybe it will affect our brand.  We may step back when we are considering taking a risk because it is hard to see how we may perfect it up front.  That ties in well with Lisa Crilley Mallis’ article on Pink Petro "It's True Everyone Procrastinates"   One of the comments was about planning and how we can wait to make sure everything is perfect before we start. It is better to just start, rather than think about the "what ifs?"


Confidence is the key and that is easier said than done.  We tend to start to lose confidence when we can’t see the outcome or we question our capabilities.  However we have to remember that when we were little we did not know how to walk or talk.  We had all the innate abilities within our developing bodies and we never second guessed these abilities nor did our parents. 


We may need tools, after all we did need tables and hands to help. It is okay to make mistakes or fall down as we did when we started walking. 


The biggest thing we need to ask ourselves is “if this isn’t perfect what will this mean when it is complete or in the future?” When you actually ask yourself this question you will see that if you don’t start it will never provide success and if you do start, but it is not perfect, it only takes your forward.  In some cases you may even stumble upon a better solution, value, or impact completely by mistake because you are not micromanaging the process!