14 Signs Perfectionism Might Be Sabotaging Your Dream

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I’ve been told I was a snotty teenager.

That perception might have had something to do with my reserved nature. Or because I could be usually be found sitting in a corner with a novel rather than interacting with people.

Another reason was my black-and-white, all-or-nothing view. My standards were high. If someone didn’t meet them, they didn’t deserve my attention. Or such was my attitude. I wanted to do things well or I felt there was no point in doing them at all. I embraced perfectionism as my identity and was proud of it: “That’s just the way I am.”

It wasn’t until many years later that I connect the cost of this mindset. What did I lose?

:: My marriage
:: Authentic friendships
:: Peace
:: The adventure of new experiences
:: A confident start in my calling

Of course, my drive to be perfect wasn’t the sole culprit to these losses. But it played a huge part.

Are you a perfectionist?

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I know your intentions are heartfelt. You want the best for yourself and others or you feel like you’re settling.

You feel if you miss a mark it means you’re a failure, and you want people to see your potential.

You’re over-responsible or controlling; it’s not like you want to be like that, but you value quality and time — and mistakes or bunny trails waste precious time you’ve been given.

But what if your high expectations are hindering what you feel called to do rather than protecting it?

See how many of these perfectionism qualities and traits you relate to:

1. You’re so eager to please, you say yes to everyone who asks

2. You feel horrible when you find out you made a mistake.

3. You procrastinate big actions — and sometimes the small things.

4. You’re judgmental of others.

5. In your eyes, it’s all or nothing — you must work to your best potential all the time.

6. You obsess over the little things — even when you know they shouldn’t matter.

7. You take things personally and get defensive when criticized.

8. No matter how hard you try, you never quite “arrive”.

9. You get jealous of others’ successes.

10. You’re riddled with guilt or shame deep inside.

11. You can’t stand it when others make mistakes.

12. You can’t be bothered with people who won’t make the effort to better themselves or their work.

13. You feel the people around you expect you to excel at whatever you do.

14. You know striving for perfection is wearing down your health but you do it anyway.

How did you do? If you checked off…

5 or fewer symptoms — congratulations!

You’re human, but you probably live with adventure and have experienced a lot. We can learn a lot from you!

:: Would you share what helps you live with this freedom in the comments below?

Between 5–10 symptoms — welcome to the club!

You’re becoming more aware of what’s holding you back. You need awareness and willingness before you’ll be ready to change your story.

:: Which symptom would be the easiest for you to tackle?

Over 10 symptoms — there’s hope for you!

It’s no fun being immobilized living with those kinds of standards. I sincerely hope you don’t wait until a great loss before you start creating the new story you truly want for your life.

:: What would you do if these symptoms weren’t holding you back?

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To begin your own transformation, explore these to articles or the workbook:

9 Mindset Habits of a Recovering Perfectionist

7 Action Habits of a Recovering Perfectionist

The Prayer and Daily Affirmations of a Recovering Perfectionist workbook

I‘m a mom, purpose coach and author of Dare to Decide: Discovering Peace, Clarity and Courage at Life’s Crossroads (July 2020).

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