How Perfectionism Hurts Businesses

What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a behavior in which a person cannot detach from trying to strive to be without flaws. They put high standards on themselves so that when people are examining their work, they want to be sure that there’s nothing that could be picked apart. Some want to be validated in that they’re good enough and show that they’re doing work that measures up. It’s a compulsive pattern that has neurotic components to it. People who are perfectionists have unrealistic standards for themselves, and it can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. 

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What are the ways that perfectionism can impact a business owner?

If you’re putting unrealistic expectations on yourself or your team to perform as a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’ll create pressure and make it difficult for yourself or your team to meet these goals because you or they can’t live up to these expectations. It’s important to remember that everything can’t be flawless; there are mistakes made in this context, and anyone who gives off the air that they haven’t made mistakes is not showing the whole picture. Not making mistakes is unrealistic, and as your business grows, there will be a learning curve. Expecting yourself to go the right way could create anxiety for you or foster depression or anxiety in your business partners or teammates when they’re trying to please you. A perfectionistic environment doesn’t have a healthy dynamic to it, so it is something to be seriously wary of as a business owner or entrepreneur. 

How does perfectionism hurt people?

Perfectionism can hurt individuals because it makes them feel extreme pressure; you might spend hours or days beating yourself up over not doing well enough or over wondering if you did the right thing. Perfectionists feel like no matter what they do, they haven’t achieved sufficient and worry that about being an imposter. The person stresses themselves out, trying to achieve goals or perfection. If you have people working for or with you, it can hurt you by straining the dynamic of the team, but it can also hurt you if you work independently. Perfectionism often puts people in a state of panic or anxiety that isn’t useful for you and can make you stagnant as a business owner.

How do perfectionism and anxiety work together?

If you struggle with anxiety, you may feel like you want to alleviate that anxiety by doing a “good job.” It’s different from striving to meet regulations in the workplace or to do your best with your business, but anxiety or perfectionism can both attach to the idea that you didn’t do a “good enough” job. That can be a problematic issue for a small business owner. It can make you stagnant, and for some people, perfectionism even leads to an individual giving up on their dreams or getting ill because the anxiety and tendency to overdo it hurts them so severely. It’s important to discuss issues related to anxiety and perfectionism in therapy. 

How can a business owner learn to manage perfectionism?

One way to deal with this issue is to talk about these concerns in counseling. A clinical therapist, whether it’s someone you’re seeing via online therapy or in a private practice setting, can help you manage perfectionism so that it doesn’t take over your life. People must learn to deal with perfectionism; you don’t want it to overtake you to the point where you’re not able to function because that is dangerous, and it could be closer than you think if you struggle with perfectionism or putting too much pressure on yourself. Make sure to seek out a mental health provider to talk to, whether that’s someone in your local area or remotely.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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