The perks and pitfalls of perfectionism

Sydney Rae

Sydney Rae


I'm a perfectionist from way back. If a job asks for one thing to be done, I'll always end up doing something extra just to make sure what I deliver is truly on point. That's not saying I'm a time waster. Far from it in fact. I make every single second in my day count to ensure I can achieve the absolute epitome of my potential. 

However, this dedication to perfection can be both a blessing and a curse. As a perfectionist, criticism is something I don't like to deal with. Especially when it's not constructive. I can handle constructive criticism when I know I can learn from it and it'll help me to develop and progress my skills. What I can't handle is criticism of the way I manage my time and workload. Two things I absolutely pride myself on. I don't miss deadlines. It's just not in my nature to leave people in the lurch, waiting and hoping, and being stressed out. I like to know the people I do work for are kept calm and relaxed knowing I've got everything under control. Which I can assure you, I always do.

Usually the perks absolutely outweigh the negatives. There's generally a lot of trust given to a perfectionist. I'm usually not checked up on once I've been given a job (another pitfall is being checked up on makes me feel inadequate or as if I've let someone down). The trust given to a perfectionist is something that really provides such a great feeling. Knowing someone loves my work, and believes in me, really produces an incredible buzz and helps me do my best work.

Another perk is, usually, the feeling of value you have. You value yourself, because you know your brain is wired to get something done right, well, and on time. You have full belief in your work, and you know you'll produce an excellent outcome for your clients. However, when you don't feel valued, a perfectionist switches off immediately. You feel deflated, demotivated, and as if there's no point in continuing if you can't give it your all. All it takes is one comment about how something thinks you can't cope, or someone needing a play-by-play on how you're doing the job. These sorts of things really just absolutely kill the perfectionist brain. There's no sure-fire way to make a perfectionist feel undervalued than to force them to work in a way you want them to work.

I don't know whether it's unique or not, but I fall into a category of creative perfectionism. My brain is always going at a million knots. It never stops. I'll be writing on Post-It Notes about ideas I want to follow up on the train home from work. Or I'll be quickly jotting a note down during dinner time because I've thought of something I want to pursue. This sort of brain activity means I don't switch off. I use every ounce of my time to do something and pursue it. But my creative mind needs to be fuelled with positivity and hope and passion. If something triggers the opposite feelings in me for an extended period of time, you'll find me curled up in a ball on the couch with my cat on my chest, unable to move for two hours. 

I think people write off perfectionists too quickly. We're made to feel like we're time wasters, and never satisfied. We're neither of those. We know the second we've hit your expectations, and we want to make it even better. We're not mucking around. We're not wasting your time and money. We literally want to make you SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY, that we'll go to the absolute extreme to get you there. Trust us.

Lara Wyatt