Most of us want to give our best effort when it comes to doing work. Sometimes we may struggle with wanting our work to be “just right.” This may be a tendency for perfectionism, which is defined as striving for flawlessness, setting excessively high performance standards, and having an overall critical evaluation of oneself. While having high standards can be positive, if it starts causing you anxiety or worry it may be a sign of perfectionism.
If you’re feeling this way, it may be helpful to look at some of the potential causes of your perfectionism, including:
· Ways you may have been rewarded for being a perfectionist (e.g. positive feedback on work/report/assignment)
· Ways you may have been punished for making a mistake, which may lead to a more intense focus on doing a “perfect” job
· Others you may have observed engaging in this kind of behavior, which may make it seem more reasonable to act in a perfectionist manner (i.e. friends, family, co-workers, supervisors)
If you or someone you know is struggling with perfectionism, there are many resources available to assist in the process of support, coping, and problem-solving, including professional counseling. Call (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services, which include one-on-one therapy with a trained clinician.
Author: Sarah Caverly, M.Ed., NCC
Antony, M.M., & Swinson, R.P. (2009). When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.