Anyone who is a perfectionist will not accept results that are short of their personal idea of perfection. This leads to them not achieving some of the results they seek, even if they are high achievers.

The urge for perfection can be a huge disadvantage and this leads to most perfectionists being unhappy. When your standards are unreasonably high, you have fewer moments in your life when you’re fully satisfied and content.

Perfectionists often admit that they are stressed, worried, and exhausted. But rarely do they see this as a direct result of their desire for everything to align. It definitely is not easy trying to be perfect all of the time!

In the previous blog post, I asked, Would You Rather Have Perfectionism or Success?

Today, let’s dig deeper into 9 reasons why…

Being a perfectionist doesn’t fit well with happiness

1. The need for perfection ultimately guarantees failure

The constant need for perfection is a losing game. True perfection can never be attained, whether you demand it of yourself, or of other people.

By choosing perfection, you’re choosing to fail. It’s hard to be happy when you’re failing consistently or when you have to work hard to get yourself and your team to meet unachievable standards.

I’m a recovering perfectionist. Looking back I can see many instances where what I was working on failed because of the extremely high expectations I had set.

2. Perfection creates anxiety

You’re bound to be anxious when you’re a perfectionist. For you, there is only one way to be perfect and everything else is less than perfect. This causes you to worry all the time when the acceptable result is not achieved.

I coach high achievers and almost all of the women I’ve coached are perfectionists or recovering from being perfectionists. While they acknowledge being perfectionists, many refuse to accept that this causes some of the anxiety they experience.

3. Perfection delays progress

Perfectionism gets in the way of making meaningful progress it slows down activities. It also creates tedious and sometimes unnecessary hiccups.

I’m sure you’ve had times when you tried to get something done perfectly and that didn’t work or you ran out of time.

Having high standards is good and necessary. Striving for perfection in everything delays or stops progress. When you aren’t making progress in your life, career, or business, you’re not going to be happy.

4. Being a perfectionist makes you use your time poorly

When you try to be perfect in everything, you spend too much time on things that just don’t matter very much.

There are plenty of things in life that require results far beneath perfection. Next time you’re tempted to be 100% perfect, examine whether this makes sense or not.

Also, try allowing other people to chip in with their ideas or do some things their way. They may come up with resourceful ideas or ways of completing tasks faster and better than what you had planned!

5. Perfectionists are more likely to procrastinate

Given that the drive for perfection creates anxiety and consumes a lot of time, perfectionists are more likely to procrastinate than the average person.

It’s not easy to get started when you know that your results have to be perfect. It’s also easier to get caught up in analysis paralysis as you try to come up with more perfect ways of doing things.

I’ve also found that perfectionists will deliberately delay their own progress when they feel unsure. They can also abandon tasks or projects they think will have no outward repercussions. In some cases, they will give up, even on desired goals and dreams.

I was taken aback the first time I noticed this with a high achiever. On digging deeper, she revealed that she was afraid of failing. So she had buried her head in the sand and hoped for the best.

She had also formed a habit of abandoning her part-time business when sales were low. Then she’d restart the business when the year was almost ending, in a bid to beat a personal end-of-year deadline.

This see-saw with the business eventually led to her giving up on it. Yet, she had spent a lot of money, time, and energy on it for more than 3 years.

6. Perfectionism can lead to eating disorders

Studies have shown that the desire to have a perfect body is a contributing factor in eating disorders.

Most people don’t have the right bone structure and other genetic factors to have the type of body seen on a magazine cover. The desire to achieve such a body has led many to eating disorders that are sometimes life-threatening.

There are also parents who want their children to look perfect. The criticism and demands from the parents can lead to the children having eating disorders and poor body image.

7. Perfectionists focus more on what’s wrong and tend to ignore what’s right

Perfectionists only recognize what’s wrong and pick on everything that isn’t perfect. They notice flaws and rarely acknowledge what’s good. This is a hard way to live and it does sacrifice happiness.

Perfectionists also quickly forget their successes and fixate on their failures. This makes them unhappy with their work, home life, and themselves. They also become hard to live with when they are constantly harping on the negative.

Additionally, they don’t stop to learn from what has already been completed before moving on. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to force some of my clients to slow down and celebrate milestones achieved. For them, that’s already done and dusted and they are off to climb the next mountain!

8. It’s challenging to complete anything because there’s always something you could improve

Whether you’re working on a project for work or starting a part-time business, it’s a struggle to complete anything and move on. A perfectionist will always find a way to make it even better.

Having a lot of unfinished tasks hanging over your head is stressful and dissatisfying. These tasks weigh on your mind and end up making you unhappy. It’s also easy to drop ideas that would have worked out…but you quit when you ran out of steam.

I’m quite familiar with this in my business because I’m very good at creating new products and programs. I can spend a lot of time researching and creating the draft. Previously, I’d stop there and spend so much time trying to refine the product or program. Then I’d abandon it when the zest for what I was working on died.

I ended up with a lot of half-baked projects that were not fully tested. But I didn’t see this as a problem until my Business Coach pointed it out. Today, I work on one new project per year if I have to start one. Most times, I’ve found that I just need to stay current with upcoming strategies and improve my skills.

9. Perfectionists expect others to have equally high standards

Perfectionists are hard to be around. They are often critical of others and consequently, are often lonely. They have relationship challenges. Loneliness and a lack of social support prohibit happiness.

It’s not easy being a perfectionist! While it’s important to give crucial tasks the necessary attention, spending too much time and attention on something is a waste of your time and mental energy.

I’ve met leaders who don’t give people in their teams time, even when there are no tight deadlines. The leader sets the standard and pushes everyone to meet it. Anyone who is not moving fast is left on the wayside.

Some leaders will admit that this is how they do things. However, many are not willing to change this habit, even when they know they are causing disharmony and stress within their team(s).

At a personal level, I recall fights with my children because I expected them to do things a certain way and to a certain standard. We all ended up stressed and unhappy until I changed and relaxed.

In conversations today, my children and I laugh at angry Mum, which was the nickname they had given me then! Angry Mum shows up once in a while…but she is more lenient and less frequent than before.

Have you met a perfectionist that you would describe as happy?

Happy people don’t feel the need to be perfect to the nth degree. Sadly, the people who are driven to be perfect in everything they do are too consumed to experience happiness.

Perfectionism requires a tremendous amount of time and gets in the way of happiness and success. It also impacts your relationships negatively.

Having high standards and aiming for excellence does not require you to be a perfectionist.

Ask yourself why you feel the need to do things perfectly. Perform tasks to a level that results in success. Going beyond that point is unnecessary.

You can also seek help if you find that you are struggling to change. Here are some options:

  • Work with a counsellor or therapist.
  • Hire a Life Coach to help you get unstuck and implement strategies that help you reduce the need to be perfect.
  • Work with a Confidence Coach to boost your self-image and self-confidence.
  • Join a business Mastermind where you hang out with peers and learn from each other as you grow together.
  • Join a challenge that forces you to submit work that is just good enough. For example, you can join a challenge where you have to post a video online every day or write a blog post daily for 30 days.

Tame the tendencies that cause you to want to be perfect because they are blocking the happiness you deserve. Let some of the details go and experience a life you truly enjoy.


Need some help overcoming perfectionism?

I’d love to help you if perfectionism and fear are keeping stuck and causing lack of happiness and fulfillment at work and in your home.

Break Free, Live Your Life

This is for you if you’re in management or have a team of employees and you’re feeling stuck and unfulfilled despite achieving massive success.

You’re tired of having to fight to maintain your level of perfection and you want to delegate more. You also desire to have more free time for yourself and your loved ones, instead of working all the time.

While you’re successful, you know that you have paid a high price to get there. It may also be that you have become so busy with life and work that you have forgotten how to dream.

You’re ready to grow and work towards your ultimate legacy. And you want higher levels of success without losing out or missing out on what matters most to you.

Break Free will help you create a customized solution that works for you. It’s a very powerful program and you will be amazed at what you’ll have achieved by the end of the 12 weeks.

Click here to find out more about the Break Free program.

Finish Strong Challenge

This is a 12-week business mastermind for women. It’s ideal for you if you’re a Solopreneur or if you have a part-time business while holding a full-time job.

You work on your #1 goal for the business during the Challenge with support and accountability from me and other members of your group.

Every weekday, I share an inspirational voice note and 3 prompts to help you stay focused, recharge during the day, and review your day. The voice notes are like your personal podcast!

I host 3 challenges each year (January, May, and September) and you can attend one or more. Join us if you’re ready to supercharge your business results!

Click here to find out more about the Finish Strong Challenge.


(Image credit: Pixabay)

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