Is Perfectionism your Enemy?

So, for the last few weeks of blogs posts I got into a lot of technical topics with you, but for a very good reason. It is good to analyze what we’re doing with our business from time to time so we don’t get stuck in what I like to call a “rinse n’ repeat” mode. So what is perfectionism you ask? 

Well besides trying to surpass the scale of 120% on every single thing we do, both professionally and personally, about 30 out of 24 hours a day (you know this is you – well all do it) … the real definition is stated as this:

Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high-performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding other’s evaluations.

During a former session with my career coach we got onto the topic of my habits (yikes), one of them which is being highly organized and what we’ll call a “clean freak”. Personally, I tend to thrive and gain great levels of achievement and happiness on being “crazy” organized. Sometimes I go overboard but feel I am doing so to keep my mind occupied from other not so fun events happening in my life. More so in the past, not present. Now it has become habit for me. Of course, perfectionism has its benefits, especially when it comes to work. It motivates over-achievers (like myself) to pursue high standards along with new visions. We are driven to improve and innovate. We are disciplined and detail-oriented; both of which can be critical in professions where there is no margin for error. Such as my career as a Virtual Assistant/Graphic Designer.

From a cultural standpoint, we prize perfectionism. Famous figures such as Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs or even Monica from the classic TV show Friends, are frequently credited with insisting that their teams strive for perfection. But what we don’t usually do is talk about the impact of working with someone who is a “control freak” or the collateral damage it may have to one’s creativity. Problems may arise when perfectionists take things to an unreachable level. They can sometimes set standards that are impossible to meet and then devalue the work that does not meet these impossible standards. This can become a toxic loop. I’ve been in this loop with others and trust me it’s not fun!

In all reality, perfectionism is just a distraction and a justification for procrastination. Some may even say an excuse for never getting anything done. For many people, perfectionism originated from their childhood (as did mine … long story). Research shows that this comes from parental pressure to achieve. In my case it was not having parents who cared enough (or truthfully … at all) about what I was doing. So somewhere along the lines I placed this pressure onto myself as I wanted to be (and do) the opposite of them. Whatever the cause, perfectionists are much less likely to take risks because they are afraid of failing. And taking risks, along with the adaptability to learn from one’s mistakes, are essential characteristics in perfectionism.

All habits, no matter what their form, are truly hard to break. Especially if like this one, it has become part of your daily routine and for a long period of time. But the overall mechanics are easy to put into practice. So, be willing to make mistakes. Even if it’s a lot of them. And even if it’s every single day. Take time to understand that we are all doing it, every single one of us, all the time. We are continuously messing up so we can learn from it then do better next time. I guess overall what I’m trying to say is to stop putting so much pressure on being “perfect” or trying to create perfection when it comes to yourself, your life and your work. It makes everything much harder than it truly should be. And if we believe to be “perfect” then how will we ever learn from the mistakes we’re not making to grow as an individual?

Personally, I would do well to heed this advice. I often spend massive amounts of time trying to get things done “just right”, as I am a terrible perfectionist. Everything must always be double, triple and sometimes even quadruple checked before I can safely approve it, check it off my to-do list or pass it along to a client. I feel it borders on obsessive-compulsion from time to time. But that’s just how I am. I always want to put out the best quality of work no matter what I do.

So, don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of good in your life! For your sake, and of those around you. 


Because nothing is ever perfect. 

And in all reality, it’s probably already amazing, you’re just putting too much pressure on yourself!

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Picture of Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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