Is perfectionism hurting your career?
How do you know if perfectionism is hurting your career, job search, overall professional success? Ask yourself the following:
- Do you find yourself getting ready to get ready to make a move…that you never make? For instance, you know you need to start networking, which you fully intend to do, once your resume is in better shape/website is redesigned/life is perfect.
- Does your productivity suffer, because you spend way too much time getting stuff ‘just right’? Do you turn down opportunities because you’re not ready or can’t give the 100% you think it requires?
- Do you put all your eggs in one basket? Do you find yourself waiting to apply for other jobs, because you’re waiting to see if the one you just interviewed for will work out, for instance?
- Do you ask for help?
- Is it hard for you to bounce back from a career rejection, like being turned down for a job you interviewed for?
Striving for excellence isn’t a crime, but perfectionists out there know how the tendency to view a job search or career through a black and white lens can be paralyzing. What to do if you think your perfectionism is getting in the way when it comes to your career? Consider this:
- Stop striving to get an A when a B will do. This isn’t school anymore, and grades don’t count. If you find yourself procrastinating on a task that you know you need to do (like update your resume, write an article, pick up the phone) – because you aren’t really ready or you won’t be able to do it ‘just right,’ force yourself to take action anyway. Your mantra: Taking imperfect action is far better than taking no action.
- Don’t agonize over decisions. Perfectionists tend to waste huge amounts of time making career decisions, weighing options, and picking a focus. It isn’t surprising that perfectionists tend to struggle more with the “what should I be when I grow up?” career question, and, consequently, spend lots of time second-guessing themselves. As Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” put it, “Most decisions don’t require extensive research.” Shut your brain off and go with your gut more often.
- Be patient, be real, and share. Most perfectionists are are self-reliant and hesitant to ask for help from friends, colleagues, coaches – after all, they should be able to handle their own career issues, right? – and, paradoxically, are extra-sensitive to rejection and getting constructive criticism or feedback. One way to start to break down the wall? Start asking for help in small ways. Ask your colleagues for referrals and leads (and if you think you’ve already done this, do it again), a LinkedIn recommendation, join a group or association – and keep asking for what you need.