perfectionism imagei’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “nobody’s perfect!”

while that’s true, there are people in the world like ME who try to disprove this saying by striving to be perfect in everything they do.

well, i’m here to tell you….

perfectionism sucks!

i’ve already written on this blog about how perfectionism can affect your productivityand your business, but it goes way beyond that.  it can pervade all areas of your life

  • trying to be perfect creates stress that can affect your health and mental state
  • trying to be perfect can mean not trying many fun things in life because you might fail
  • trying to be perfect means not letting people into your life, for fear they might see some imperfection you’re desperate to hide
try as i might, perfectionism has continued to affect my life in very negative ways
so when i had a coaching session tonight with a very talented coach named jeannie, i chose perfectionism as the topic
jeannie asked me some really powerful questions that might also help you if you suffer from perfectionism:
“what’s the worst that can happen if you’re not perfect?”
“what benefit are you getting from trying to be perfect?”
“how can you try to break this vicious cycle of trying to be perfect?
wow, these questions were tough to answer.  i guess that’s why they’re called powerful questions!  🙂
what these questions did was force me to reframe my thinking and really understand the fallacy behind trying to be perfect.
jeannie wanted me to focus on one area of my life to start breaking the perfectionism cycle, and since i love to blog i chose this.
so here you have my very first totally imperfect blog post — you may notice…..
  • no capitalization
  • i’m not spell checking this (sorry if mispellings creep you out)
  • no formating on this post, although i will occassionally bold important topics just to make it easier on your eyes
  • finally, i’ve set my trusty timer for 20 minutes and that all the time i’m giving myself to write this (i now have 7 minutes left) — when it’s done, it’s done.

how does this feel?  i have to be honest, it’s uncomfortable for me,

usually i spend hours on a blog post, making sure every detail is factually correct, providing more and more content to make it worth your while to read it. i spell check everything.

i read and re-read each post to be sure there are no errors.

i try to make it perfect.

this post will not be perfect.  it will be what it is… me, unplugged…. writing about feelings rather than facts.

i don’t know if you’ll like it, but if nothing else, you’ll definitely know i’m not perfect.

and that was the whole point of this exercise! 🙂

finally , i leave you with this.

5 imperfect things about me that no one knows

1.  when everyone else is asleep, i sometimes stay up and eat a bunch of unhealthy crap

2  i have absolutely no rhythm and can’t dance a lick

3.  i once used rogaine when i was younger trying to cover up my impending baldness

4.  i actually read tabloids when in line at the grocery store

5.  i often cry at movies that people would consider chick flicks.

oops, my buzzer just went off…. my 20 minutes are up.
gotta go, i promised my coach.

if you’re also a perfectionist, do yourself a favor —

today, strive to be imperfect… it’s not as bad as you think!

so how about you? do you or anyone else suffer from this?

let me know your thoughts!

Bob Clarke

Dr. Bob Clarke teaches Part Time Marketers how to better leverage their time, effort, money, skills, and other people’s knowledge in maximizing their business success. Don’t forget to grab your Free Training Grow a Thriving Business in 30 Minutes/Day or Less — an essential resource for anyone struggling to build their business Part Time.

Recommended Posts
Showing 55 comments
  • Audrey Ross
    Reply

    A lot of times, people confuse excellence with perfection. This is two entirely different things. One who strive for excellence does not necessarily have to strive for perfection. People who has the mindset of excellence acknowledge the fact that there are mistakes to be made along the way and they’re excited about them. They see these as opportunities. While people who strive for perfection I think stays away from making errors and does not acknowledge that committing mistakes is a fact of life.

  • jewel
    Reply

    This blog is so inspiring for me and give a lot of motivation..Thank you for sharing it..Looking forward to see more post coming from you..

    • Bob
      Reply

      You’re very welcome! Thanks for coming back so often!

  • Jewel
    Reply

    Hi Dr. Bob,
    Thanks for sharing a very inspiring post, looking forward to read more from you.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Thanks!

  • Easther
    Reply

    Being imperfect is one of the best qualities of humans, we are natural at it and we are at our best emotions with it instead of trying to be what we are not. Congrats on your imperfect blog post! 🙂

    • Bob
      Reply

      Well I certainly am marvelously imperfect, Easther! When you break though that mindset of trying to be perfect, it’s like a great weight is lifted off your shoulders. You can just be “you” and enjoy the ride.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Andy Nathan
    Reply

    That is a great post! Imperfectionism (not sure if that is a word) is a difficult thing to master as well. As someone who blogs every day I do not have time to always make sure that every single sentence is absolutely perfect. Sometimes good is good enough.

    I love the timer idea for your blog. Tried to do that a few times and it was a miserable fail. Might have to look into it again.

    Andy

    • Bob
      Reply

      Haha Andy.. the timer works but many times I forget to use it. I get so involved in what I’m doing that I forget to turn it on.

      Also, I would add that there are times when a timer is not useful. For example, if you’re writing a pillar post — one of the key foundational posts for your blog — you will need to spend more time on it than just 20 minutes. I would say that you should use a timer in the right situations to help keep you moving forward.

  • Samantha
    Reply

    I agree… I’m a recovering perfectionist and still have lapses but you simply can’t get everything done if you aim for perfection..How I wish to become perfect we are going to loose so many important aspects of our life.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Samantha.

      I believe perfectionism is almost like an addiction. You just don’t stop being perfect — it is a process and can creep back into your life at any time. Like any other addiction, we must constantly be on guard for the times when perfectionism rears it’s ugly head.

  • Yorinda
    Reply

    Hi Bob,

    what a great idea to write an imperfect post.

    I can relate to spending a lot of time to write a post and check it etc so it is perfect – to whose standards.

    It is a lot easier to go out in my comfortable, non fashionable clothes and not wear make up and not bother with the dusting.

    Thank you for your honest self disclosure, that is very courageous.

    Great post to ponder on.
    Much appreciated
    Cheers,
    Yorinda

    • Bob
      Reply

      It was harder than I thought it would be, Yorinda. This idea came about while I was working with my coach and discussing ways that I could move forward faster in my business and in life.

      I thought it would be an easy and fun exercise. It was fun, once I got over sweating! 🙂

  • Hans Schoff
    Reply

    Haha, I like your list of 5 imperfections. Reminds me of a time growing up when my dad – a very analytical engineer always searching for perfection – one time gave my mom a coffee mug that was all mis-shaped and crooked as can be. On the side of the mug it read “I love you and your imperfekshuns” in crazy different colored lettering. Never thought about it until now. Lol.

  • Sadie-Michaela Harris
    Reply

    This was a lovely light hearten approach to something which actually hinders and holds back many people. I too am one of those people how can not bare simply to do something in a slap dash manner! Now it’s myself who presides over the deciding the slapdashness of something and I’m sometimes not slapdash enough for my own good! 🙂

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Sadie,
      It was a fun post to write, but I dont want to give people the wrong idea — while I am showing others how perfectionism can hold them back, that’s no excuse for not doing your best job. There’s a huge difference.

  • Paul Reimers
    Reply

    Excellent post Bob!

    It’s so cool that you included the message in every aspect of the post, including formatting.

    I think it’s healthy to have high standards and always reach in the direction that you would like to grow/ improve, but what’s dangerous about being perfect is that NO ONE EVER PULLS IT OFF!

    Trying to be perfect only causes stress when the inevitable imperfectons surface and this stress can limit the growth we could have if we were able to be more open and imperfect.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hey Paul,

      High standards certainly! But when it becomes somewhat of an obsession, then it hinders what we can accomplish in our business– and life!

      Thans for stopping by!

  • Dr. Erica Goodstone
    Reply

    Bob,

    I have recently noticed that so many comments on my blog and other peoples blogs as well as comments on facebook include spelling errors. Peopls tend to write quickly without checking it out. I have certainly done that, including on some article sites because I only have a certain amount of time available and I rush to get it done.

    This Wednesday I have the privilege of interviewing my mentor and teacher of the powerful Rubenfeld Synergy Method which is the framework and foundation for all the couseling and coaching work I do. I had asked her several years ago, while I was taking Alex Mandossian’s Teleseminar Secrets course if I could interview her for an ASK campaign. I had created these special pages. And it never came to pass. Now, she has finally agreed to let me interview her on my blogtalkradio show, Healthy Baby Boomers Network, this Wednesday.

    So, on Monday I made sure to send her the information – call in number, date, time and URL of the page.
    I even sent her a list of questions in case she wanted me to ask something different.
    And then I added, “I look forward to speaking with you on Monday” (I meant to say “Wednesday.”

    I was proud of myself for being so organized – until – I got a phone call from her on Monday saying, “I thought the interview was on Wednesday but I didn’t want to call on the wrong day. You said “I look forward to speaking with you on Monday!!”

    So much for perfectionism. Better to have made this mistake, in advance, rather than to have her show up after the scheduled show time. Even with best intentions, it is so easy to make a mistake.

    I attitribute my confusion to a powerful Womens Prosperity Network conference this past weekend featuring Jack Canfield. So much powerful information and awarenesses that my brain wiring must have been jumbled.

    Dr. Erica

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Dr. Erica.

      Congratulations on getting your interview… that’s very cool. It certainly was a good thing you misspoke days ahead of time, rather than on the day of the actual interview. That could have been disastrous!

      Regarding spelling errors, some people have mistakenly taken my blog post as permission to write poor posts with bad grammar. They missed the point.

      It’s always best to put your best foot forward and do your best work. Perfectionism takes it to an extreme level, when you become paralyzed by trying to make everything perfect.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences here!

  • Kayla
    Reply

    Dear Bob,

    Thank you for your openness. I have just come out of denial of being a perfectionist.
    Thank you for the advice and for letting us know some of your shortcomings. Have to confess that I have no rhythm either.

    -Kayla

    • Bob
      Reply

      Haha I guess we should never dance together! 2 people dancing with no rhythm can’t be good.

      Congrats on “coming out” as a perfectionist. Join the crowd! 🙂

  • Daniella
    Reply

    for me don’t know who it was or what was said), gurus, and mentors are giving bad advice when they urge people to work in the same way that they do

    • Bob
      Reply

      Everyone must find their own path and use their own style — its the only way you will attract people like yourself! It’s the first step to branding.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • anne Perez
    Reply

    Hi Bob

    It’s so true. I’m a recovering perfectionist and still have lapses but you simply can’t get everything done if you aim for perfection. a lesson it took a long time to learn. It helped when I was constantly told that what’s important is just to get it done and out there. Set a time limit – like you suggest and just get it done.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Amen, Anne!

  • Meg
    Reply

    Agreed 100% as I am trying to be perfect right from my childhood days but still learning NEW everyday…lol….as it seems that this perfection list are never going to END till our END and atlast it get buried alongwith us.

    And you are right that in wish to become perfect we are going to loose so many important aspects of our life.

    Thanks a lot for this.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Meg,

      I do believe that the quest for perfection comes from early in childhood, although I have no idea what triggers it (any psychiatrists want to weigh in?).

      I equate perfectionism to an addiction. It’s always there, we are never truly “cured” but must keep working on it.

      Thanks for your comment, Meg.

  • bless
    Reply

    Well, in one way or the other, everyone has to go through that stage in life. thanks for sharing.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Not everyone struggles with perfectionism, but we all struggle with something, that’s true.

  • Richard Goutal
    Reply

    Forgive me if I consider the post tongue in cheek. “Perfectionism” in my view has been morphed into something beyond what it really means by many in the internet marketing helping field. Actually, we should make every effort to use capitalization and proper spelling, for example, and I don’t in any way consider the effort to do so “perfectionism.” Taking time to do a good job (the amount of which varies from person to person) is not the same as rarely if ever getting anything done because it is never good enough to say it is done.

    I fear that many coaches (not saying this is true of yours, because I don’t know who it was or what was said), gurus, and mentors are giving bad advice when they urge people to work in the same way that they do. For example, some write short fluffy yet well written articles – and it works for them. They then claim that anyone who takes more time to think through their piece of writing is a perfectionist. I disagree – that person may be addressing a different target market and taking time to write thoughtful pieces is necessary. Or, let’s face it- just as everyone learns at different speeds, they perform at different speeds. We are not all the same. As such, we should not expect that everyone should perform marketing tasks at the same speed or level of competency. Quick example, competent typists may be able to write articles faster and with fewer errors. A slower hunt-and-peck typist will take longer and have more errors. Should we automatically conclude that the hunt-and-pack typist must accept typing errors, otherwise they are a perfectionist, simply because it takes them longer to perform the typing task?

    Adding a layer of pop psychology (a false diagnosis and ensuing unnecessary guilt) can be harmful. Helping people to prioritize and be selective given their speed of work and their gifts may be a more responsible way to help people with this matter.

    There can indeed be a real problem with perfectionism, but what most people are calling perfectionism ain’t it. While we all know that Wikipedia is hardly a perfect source of information (LOL), it is worth reading the article there on Perfectionism. Doing so will reinforce what I am saying. Better understood, perfectionism can on the one hand be a healthy and normal concern with doing good work, taking the time and care to do as good a job as possible. On the other hand it can be neurotic if it essentially prevents one from finishing work and/or accepting any work from others because they do not measure up to some standard.

    So, just because somebody SAYS you should write 20 minute posts doesn’t mean you are a perfectionist if you choose to spend an hour or more. There are too many variables. But if you rarely publish a post because you are rarely satisfied with any of your work, then you may consider that there is a very real problem.

    Let’s keep in mind that the blogging world is filled with rehashed fluff. The goal is to be different and stand out, otherwise, why bother. I’d say do what it takes to do that whether you can accomplish it in 20 minutes a post or 2 hours a post.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Richard,

      Yes, this post was written as an extreme. But the idea is sound and perhaps requires some clarification.

      Perfectionism is real and can be quite paralyzing in it’s most extreme form. There are people out there who will spend hours or even days on a simple email. They can’t hit that publish button on their blog until they’ve checked and checked again for any errors… I mean ANY. In some ways perhaps its like OCD, although I am no qualified to speak to that.

      I was attempting in my post to relay the idea that you don’t need to be perfect all the time. Sometimes good is good enough and you need to “put it out there” and improve things on the fly. But that is not to say that you should not put your best foot forward.
      Nothing puts me off like an article or blog post full of spelling errors. That’s just wrong, It’s always necessary to take care of those kind of things. But it doesn’t need to be 100% perfect all the time.

      I also agree that one of the advices out there is to “follow the leaders”, which I don’t subscribe to. Certainly, you can find a mentor to guide you through a process, but in the end you must find your own path, your own style. You cannot copy that.

      Thanks for the insightful comment.

  • Sally Thompson
    Reply

    Imperfection is natural.. That makes us human.. and a unique individuals.. Let us embrace what we have and be proud!

    • Bob
      Reply

      I agree Sally.

  • Vilma
    Reply

    This post is one good motivation for us, it’s so inspiring. Thanks for sharing this Dr. Bob.

    • Bob
      Reply

      You’re welcome, Vilma.

  • Holly
    Reply

    What an awesome post!! I chuckled and appreciate your openness and honesty!! In fact I may steal your idea… although it may not be about the perfect part… ( cause I am that already !!! ROFLMAO). Oh, I dont’ get up after everybody is in bed, I just eat it when no one is watching and dont’ share till I have had too much!!!! Great post, Bob!!

    • Bob
      Reply

      LOL Holly, I hear ya!

      Feel free to expand on this idea… just be sure to provide us a link to your post here so we can show it some comment love!

  • Mika Castro
    Reply

    Perfectionist is a great practice for a better outcome and benefits as well.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Not sure I can agree with you, Mika… for the most part, I have found trying to be perfect a lesson in frustration and something that keeps me from moving forward.

      Doing your best and putting in your best effort is another thing entirely. This is something we should always strive for!

  • Esmael
    Reply

    Being a perfectionist has its benefits but it depends how you use it. If it is for a business or work, being perfect in everything you do is substantial. But enforcing the idea in everything even outside work is not good. The question is how perfect is perfect?

    • Bob
      Reply

      Indeed, Esmael… what is perfect for one person is imperfect for others. It’s all in our perception, I suppose. Putting your best foot forward is an absolute requirement in business, but perfection? Not sure it works. At least it hasn’t for me.

      Thanks for your insights!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Indeed, Esmael. I think if your perfectionist tendencies become paralyzing and stops you from moving forward in your business or your life, then it’s a problem.

  • Nicky
    Reply

    Ohhhhh Bob I can TOTALLY relate to that – I have struggled with this all my life. I heard the phrase “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going” quite early on in my networking “career” but it still didn’t help.

    I winced at the lack of capitals in your post and at the same time I was laughing at myself for doing so and you also made me laugh with fact number 4 (reading the tabloids in the grocery store when you really should be prospecting!! – I do that too!!)

    Would love to hear more about how you get on with this subject. I guess the answer to “why” is acceptance/impression from others and I have to learn not to care any more.

    Great post Bob!
    Nicky

    • Bob
      Reply

      LOL Nicky… I suppose there is some deep-seeded reason for striving for perfection, but I prefer not to think about it!

    • Bob
      Reply

      In some ways Nicky I have found true perfectionism (the kind that paralyzes you) is somewhat like an addiction. It’s a work in progress and you are never truly “cured”.

      I will be updating my own progress here, and I hope you and others will as well.

      Thanks for your insights!

  • Kristina L.
    Reply

    Hi, dr Bob,
    I, too, tend to go to perfectionism even I know it can hurt me…it can be time consuming when you pay attention to all the slightest details and yet it is very frustrating when you realize that there is no perfection to be reached. Perfection is a state of relativity and is a thing of subjectivity.
    I like that you shared your weak points with us here. To be honest, I, too, tend to eat unhealthy snacks late at night…although I never read tabloids when in line in the grocery store.:)

    • Bob
      Reply

      There’s a huge difference between trying to do your best and trying to be perfect. One is admirable, the other can be stifling.

      Thanks for sharing, Kristina!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Kristine,

      We all have perfectionist tendencies to some point. Sometimes just admitting it and being yourself (with all your imperfections) can be very empowering!

  • Herbert
    Reply

    You are really inspiring Sir Bob,I am very motivated now since I started to subscribe to your leverage 😀

    Thank you

    • Bob
      Reply

      Glad to have you aboard, Herbert!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Fantastic, Herbert… keep plugged in… much more to come!

  • Rick Lelchuk
    Reply

    Bob,
    That was fantastic. My very analytical brain won’t let a post go out that is not grammatically correct or where any spelling is in question, so I know how tough this was for you.

    And, yes, no one is perfect, but we can be impeccable. No, let me change that since I just looked up the definition of impeccable and it’s way to close to perfection. But, we can be accurate, complete, thorough and clear, knowing that we’ll never be perfect.

    Thanks for letting us humans be human!!

    RICK

    • Bob
      Reply

      I love that Rick — be accurate, complete, thorough and clear in all you do… but you don’t need to be perfect. Gonna write that one down!

      Thanks for sharing your insights here!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Accurate is fine, but perfect… probably not gonna happen.

      This post was an exaggeration and meant to highlight a pervasive problem among Marketers. I would not (and will not) publish another post with such obvious grammatical and spelling errors. It’s not putting my best foot forward. But the post served a purpose.

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search