Perfectionism is not Healthy Striving

Are you a perfectionist?

You know that voice in our head that tells us we must get it done or we will get written up, fired, or called out if we don’t? 

That voice is perfectionism and it makes us think that it is the whole knower, all predictor and if we do not follow it, our life will go to shambles.  I picture The Simpson's character Superintendent Gary Chalmers yelling at Principal Skinner.  Our perfectionism tells us many things that we want to believe as truth but when we examine it closer, they are all myths. The following list of myths  was taken from the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center.


Myth #1- I would not have accomplished so much if I was not such a perfectionist.

Reality- You would have still achieved wonderful things, and without the perfectionism would have been happier, more content, and more sure of yourself.


Myth # 2- Perfectionism gets it done and gets it done right.

Reality - The hyper focus on getting it right actually leads to procrastination and missed deadlines. The over focus on the outcome often lead to overwhelm and all or nothing type paralysis leading to low productivity.


Myth #3: Perfectionists are determined to overcome all obstacles to success.

Reality- Perfectionist tendencies increase vulnerability to depression, writer's block, performance anxiety, and social anxiety because of the hyper focus and inability to turn in paper, work, or send emails because it is not exact.  Often the perfectionism creates obstacles, and the rigidity makes us feel overwhelmed and unable to move forward from these obstacles.


Questions to ask yourself to determine healthy striving or if it is perfectionism

  • Am I solely focused on the outcome?
  • Am I attaching this project/issue to my self-worth?
  • Do I feel the pressure to get it done now?
  • Is it an all or nothing outcome?
  • Am I focusing too much on the small things and missing the big picture?

Healthy striving is the drive to want to thrive and it is about the process not the destination.  When listening to that healthy striving voice in your head it is kind, offering flexibility, soft, and gentle. It is self-compassion that is offering solutions.  Think of a Morgan Freeman voice or Ralph Wiggum voice versus that angry, aggressive voice. 

You can choose which voice you listen to.

If you are struggling with perfectionism and could use help combating it, please reach out to an IOME trained supporter today. Click HERE to schedule a free phone consultation with Becky, the founder!

Please reach out to Rachel at [email protected] for further questions or feedback. 

Together we are better,



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