For a long time I prided myself on NOT being a perfectionist. I have a MAJOR bias towards action. I want things to be excellent, but I also firmly believe that perfection is unattainable and the effort it takes to make things very nearly perfect simply isn’t worth it. One the core values for my business is even “Progress Over Perfection”!
But then one day I was sitting there revamping my bio for an upcoming speaking engagement and I realized it was the THIRD TIME that week I had updated my bio. Total perfectionist move!
That’s when I knew there were two kinds of perfectionists – procrastinators (not me) and customizers (100% me).
Here’s how they each show up:
- Procrastinators research an idea to death before sharing it with anyone. They try eighty different fonts on their website and it still isn’t published. They read an email four times before hitting send. They wait until their proposal is “perfect” before sharing it with anyone.
- Customizers tweak. They re-do the presentation, re-write the bio and update their website a million times. They create an email template and then change it every time it’s sent. Occasionally customizing is helpful. But most often it’s a colossal waste of time.
Procrastinators tend to hold back from taking public action until something is “perfect”. Customizers take action, but then update every step along the way in an effort to make it “perfect.”
Both are inefficient. Both get in our way. And both are driven by doubt.
Procrastinator’s doubt can show up like “It’s not ready! What if people think this idea is dumb? I’m sure they’ve already thought about this. What if I put myself out there and I get criticized? Or worse, what if nobody even notices!” (If this sounds like you, click here to get 5 Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic right now!)
Customizer’s doubt is a little different. It’s more subtle. But at the root is working too hard to customize as a way of proving your worth.
This is HUGE for so many women. And working to prove your worth has serious impacts on your life. It creates anxiety and overwhelm. It makes you feel like whatever you do is never enough, even though you are busy ALL THE TIME.
Which kind of perfectionist are you? Comment below to let me know!
Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to stop the hustle so they can reclaim their life and focus on what’s really important. See her coaching page for more information.