Are you constantly striving for perfection in everything you do? Is your mental readiness affected? Do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed out because things just aren’t good enough?
Do you feel like you have to justify your perfectionism to friends, colleagues, and relatives?
Well, you’re not alone! Perfectionism is a common trait among many of us. In fact, we all are perfectionists to some extent and it can impact our daily lives, our relationships, and even our mental well-being in various ways. But the good news is: perfectionism doesn’t have to keep you from being mentally ready, and living a productive, healthy life.
Part One of this series will acquaint you with five archetypes of perfectionism and how they affect mental readiness. You’ll meet Kat, Ian, Megan, Maceo and Alex, who each represent a distinct type. In Part Two we will dig deeper into the downsides and upsides of each type. You’ll learn how to start making the best out of your individual type.
So buckle up, grab a drink, and let’s dive into the connection between perfectionism and mental readiness!
How Perfectionism Impacts Mental Readiness
Perfectionism can lead to a constant state of anxiety and stress because you’re always striving for an unattainable standard of perfection. This constant state of pressure can impact your mental well-being, lead to chronic stress and even burnout.
On the other hand, when you understand the underlying motives of your perfectionism, you can start working on your mental readiness. A high mental readiness empowers you to be more resilient and better handle the stress of striving for perfection. Mental readiness also allows you to adopt a growth mindset that focuses on progress over perfection. Once you embrace that mindset, you can minimize the negative impact of perfectionism on your mental health and instead turn it into a positive force.
Let’s first look at your specific type of perfectionism, so you can start using the power of perfectionism to your advantage. If you do not want to be biased by the below definitions, take this five-minute quiz first.
The 5 Types Of Perfectionism
Psychotherapist and former therapist at Google Katherine Morgan Schafler explains in her new book how you can hold onto your perfectionist ways and still be in good shape. No more generic advice to “find balance.” By understanding the different types of perfectionism and their impact, you can take actionable steps to harness the positive aspects while mitigating the negative ones.
- Intense Perfectionists: are effortlessly direct and maintain razor-sharp focus on achieving their goal. Left unchecked, their standards can go from high to impossible, and they can be punitive with others and themselves for not achieving impossible standards.
Example: Kat is a driven person who is always striving to achieve her goals. “I won’t settle for anything less than perfect. Even if it means pushing myself to the limit.” When she’s in the zone, nothing can stop her. However, when her standards become impossible, she can become harsh on herself and others.
- Classic Perfectionists: are highly reliable, consistent, detail-oriented, and add stability to their environment. Left unchecked, they struggle to adapt to spontaneity or a change in routine, and they can experience difficulty connecting meaningfully with others.
Example: Ian is a dependable person who always follows through on his commitments: “I like things a certain way, and I stick to it. Deviating from the plan makes me nervous.” He is detail-oriented and adds stability to any environment he’s in. But, when faced with a change in routine, Ian can become rigid and struggle to adapt.
- Parisian Perfectionists: possess a live-wire understanding of the power of interpersonal connection and hold a strong capacity for empathy. Left unchecked, their desire to connect to others can metastasize into toxic people-pleasing.
Example: Megan is a social butterfly who values relationships above all else: “I just want everyone to be happy. If that means going out of my way for them, I’ll do it.” She is empathetic and always puts others first. But, her desire to please everyone can sometimes lead her to sacrifice her own happiness.
- Messy Perfectionists: effortlessly push through the anxiety of new beginnings, are superstar idea generators, adapt to spontaneity well, and are naturally enthusiastic. Left unchecked, they struggle to stay focused on their goals, ultimately spreading their energy too thin to follow through on their commitments.
Example: Maceo is a creative person who is always up for a new challenge: “I have so many ideas, and I just want to try them all. I get easily distracted and have trouble finishing what I start.” He pushes through anxiety and is enthusiastic about new ideas. But, he can struggle to stay focused and follow through on his commitments.
- Procrastinator Perfectionists: excel at preparing, can see opportunities from a 360 degree perspective, and have good impulse control. Left unchecked, their preparative measures hit a point of diminishing returns, resulting in indecisiveness and inaction.
Example: Alex is a prepared person who excels at planning: “I want to make sure everything is perfect before I act. But sometimes, I overthink and end up not doing anything at all.” He is a problem solver who sees opportunities from all angles. But, his preparation can sometimes lead to indecision and inaction.
Sounds familiar? Remember that you may be a unique mix of several or even all types. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to find out your own type of perfectionism by taking this five-minute quiz. To make it more fun, do the quiz with a friend, coworker, or relative and share the joy of learning about each other.
Check out Part 2 Perfectionism and Mental Readiness: 5 Case Studies