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No Need For Perfectionism

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When you are driving and a great song comes on the radio, do you find yourself singing? What if you don’t know the words? Do you hum? I think many of us do.

Life can be a lot like that. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes we don’t know the words, so we hum. Sometimes we whistle, and sometimes we just listen. When I find myself in a situation I am not familiar with, I spend time observing. When I find myself in a situation that is familiar, but I am not sure how to proceed, I do my best to follow along. When I am in a familiar situation, it is fun to just jump in.

Even though I strive for productivity, and continuous improvement, life is not about being perfect. Life is about participation on whatever level we are able to contribute at the moment. Next time you find yourself struggling to make progress, instead of searching for the perfect next step, just hum. Being a perfectionist isn’t something to strive for. In fact, recent studies have shown that those who are always striving to be perfect are prone to suicidal thoughts. The study comes from the University of Ontario where a team of researchers analyzed 45 various studies which included over 11,700 people.

“Perfectionists are their own worst critics, good enough is never enough. Consequently, the typical perfectionist is locked in an endless loop of self-defeating over-striving in which each new task is another opportunity for harsh self-rebuke, disappointment and failure.”

The Sun provided a list of traits that perfectionists are known for having. Maybe they might sound familiar to some of us. Maybe your boss is putting pressure on you and you’re having a hard time coping. Or, maybe you’re the one stressing yourself out the most.

  • Putting excessively high expectations on yourself.
  • Feeling pressure from others, including parents, friends, colleagues and society in general.
  • Expecting excessively high standards from others.

© Flickr user EaRtH_ChiLd 88

There is a big difference between striving to do the best you can do and pushing yourself over the edge to be the best. Your body is your temple and it all starts with your mental state. Suicidal thoughts and depression will hurt not only yourself but your productivity as well. Alyssa Shea took a deeper look into this in an AccelaWork article about how depression affects productivity.

Depression is a common problem challenging millions. Its effects vary from person to person. Some are able to manage through their own means like a exercise, diets and relationships, while others need the help of medication and therapy. Not only does feeling depressed affect your personal life but it can also have a big impact on your workplace productivity. An EU study estimates that 9 in 10 people who suffer from depression are of working age, meaning the effects of depression impact the workplace. This brings about economic costs for employers.

What sort of costs could come from depressed workers? Besides their own health? The survey mentioned from the UK found some surprising results:

Workers who struggle to cope at work are also workers who struggle to be productive at work, costing their employers dearly. The effects of depression in the workplace can be seen in increased absenteeism, lack of effective cooperation resulting in decreased efficiency, and general low quality of work brought about by distractions.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re struggling. Take a mental health day, talk to your managers, reach out to coworkers. In the end, what most companies want is to see results and having unhappy workers who are having a hard time reaching their goals is counterproductive. But most importantly, take the time to participate and just hum along.

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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