The P that’s worse than Procrastination….

Carolyn PERFORM Leave a Comment

If you thought procrastination was your problem you may wrong. You may  be stuck because you are waiting for the perfect time.

What can be worse than Procrastination?


“Perfectionism is the need to be, or to appear to be, perfect.”

Perfectionism is neurotic and a terrible waste of time. I say that because it is not possible to do something perfectly (it could always be improved on a bit), but it is very stressful to constantly strive to be perfect. Striving for excellence by doing the best you can with the time and resources you have, is realistic and healthy.

There are 3 types of perfectionist:

1) self-oriented: those who expect perfection of themselves;

2) other oriented – those who demand perfection from others;

3) socially prescribed – those who think others expect perfection of themselves.

People who are perfectionistic have unrealistically high expectations for performance, but take little joy in their accomplishments because their results are never quite good enough. This means that sometimes they avoid taking on a certain challenge because they fear that they can’t do it perfectly. Unlike high achievers who enjoy the “flow” of marshaling their strongest skills, stretching towards a challenge and doing the best they can with the time and energy they have, perfectionists focus only on the result and find the hard work and long hours exhausting and the result imperfect.

Perfectionists live with an “internal bully” who is horrified by mistakes and is constantly threatening failure. This harsh internal voice often causes the perfectionist high anxiety, frequent frustration, guilt, and even panic. However, the person is often seen as a high achiever by others, but also as a person who is uncomfortable to be around because they seem so perfect.

If the perfectionist demands perfection from others, he or she is very difficult to work for or to have as a parent or spouse.

High achievers set high standards for themselves and work energetically to achieve them, but their whole sense of self-worth is not dragged down if they don’t meet those standards perfectly.


  • you can’t stop thinking about a mistake you made
  • you are intensely competitive and can’t stand doing worse than others
  • you either want to do something “just right” or not at all
  • you demand perfection from other people
  • you won’t ask for help if asking can be perceived as a flaw or weakness
  • you will persist at a task long after other people have quit
  • you are a fault-finder who must correct other people when they are wrong
  • you are highly aware of other people’s demands and expectations
  • you are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people
  • you noticed the error in the title of this list

If this sounds much like you,  ask yourself what it may be costing you? People who are perfectionistic often have high anxiety, procrastinate frequently, don’t delegate as they should, spend more time planning than doing, avoid something if they fear they cannot do it perfectly and may have difficulties in relating to peers, direct reports, and spouses. It’s time to let the perfectionist in you take a break and invite the curious learner in you to step up and enjoy the flow.



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