Perfectionism Leads to Procrastination

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”  — Michael J. Fox

Are you dealing with the fear of not being perfect?  Is failure unacceptable?  If you equate your self-worth with doing everything in your life perfectly, one of the things you will end up doing is procrastinating.  Procrastination protects you from rejection when you aren’t perfect. And nobody is perfect.  As human beings we all have our flaws and foibles.

Where did you pick up the belief that you had to be perfect?  Perhaps your mother often called you her “perfect little girl” or “the perfect little gentleman.”  At some point in your childhood, you learned that it was more about what you DID than WHO YOU WERE.

When you were given respect and appreciation, it was because of the things that you did rather than because of who you were as a person. This feeling was reinforced over time so that you developed the core belief that to gain love and respect you had to DO something. The more perfectly you did it, the greater the amount of appreciation and love you received.  The other side of that coin was the belief that you weren’t worthy of love and respect if you made any mistakes at all. If you wanted to be loved, your best wasn’t good enough if it wasn’t perfect.

Beliefs such as …

  • I must be perfect and do things perfectly
  • Everything I do should be right the first time – I should make no errors
  • If it is not done right, it is not worth doing
  • I should have no limitations

… lead to “if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t even try.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do I need to be perfect or is excelling good enough?
  • How is the need to be perfect hindering me?
  • Am I clear about what excellence looks like?
  • Am I willing to let go of the need to be perfect?
  • Who am I trying to please with the need to be perfect?
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