Perfection makes us thrive.

Perfection makes us step out of our comfort zone.

Perfection makes us get better.  And better.  And better.

Perfection makes us unstoppably successful.


Well, that’s not my experience.


Perfection makes me shrink.

Perfection makes me wanna curl up in ball and hide from the world.

Perfection hates making mistakes and makes me do everything to avoid failing.

Perfection holds endless conversations in my mind explaining with vigor why I shouldn’t do something.

Perfection makes me feel defeated and throw in the towel.

Perfection overwhelms me with mile high expectations of who I’m supposed to be.

Perfection loves to tell me how stupid and silly my dreams are.

Perfection makes me give up.  On me.

Perfection makes me forget myself and live out someone else’s expectations instead.

Perfection constantly reminds me how I fall short when compared to others.

Perfection is the great pretender – pretending to be cool on the outside but full of harsh self talk on the inside.

Perfection makes me do things half-heartedly, constantly worrying about what you might say about me, instead of focusing all my energy on the thing I’m doing.

Perfection makes me believe I’m not smart enough.  Not funny enough.  Not interesting enough.

And when I believe that I do anything but stepping out of my comfort zone.

And when I believe that I do anything but thrive.

In fact, I’m not living my life.

I’m putting it on hold till I’m perfect.


This blog post has got a twin sister!  Check out next Monday’s blog post “Imperfection keeps us stuck in mediocrity.  (And other lies we tell ourselves.)

Photo by me.


15 Responses to Perfection makes us thrive. (And other lies we tell ourselves.)

  1. Lenny says:

    As usual .. great blog post!
    It makes me think & rethink!
    I like it!
    Perfection … scary… 😉
    Thanks for all your advice!
    I really appreciate it.
    You rock ! ! !

  2. Dana Boyle says:


    Well done! Sigh…we all suffer at the hand of perfection – whether it’s because we are perfectionists, or whether we fear the perfectionists among us.

    As a very small child already, I often would not even TRY something new for fear of looking foolish…and my 4 year old niece is already doing this. It breaks my heart. It’s because we both, at that early age, felt we better be able to do something absolutely perfectly on the first try or we better not do it.

    I also resonate with the part of your post about purposely doing things in a half-assed kind of way, because I have found myself doing that I guess to protect myself from throwing myself into something fully and giving it my all only to find that wasn’t good enough either. Blech!!! “Not good enough…” Oh how that hurts us all at one point or another, or many others, throughout our lives.

    I know better now, but I still fall into this trap over and over.

    • An says:

      Yeah, I know! Aren’t we a fascinating silly bunch? Imagine all the fun and learning we’ve missed out on because we were afraid to fail and be seen as “not good enough.”

  3. Lin says:

    “I suck” is the new perfectionism. Nice post An! You’ve just inspired me to write about this too!

  4. Mindy Crary says:

    This comes at a great time . . . I found out that both of my parents have cancer this week, and I completely bailed on all of my clients. I told them I couldn’t, and they completely understood.

  5. Yvette says:

    Wow, your posts always make me think deep deep. I love it! You are so right so many of us miss out on life becuase of the perfectionist syndrome, beautifully said. Thanks!

    Business Leverage Strategist

  6. Joanna says:

    Exactly. Perfectionism makes so many promises, but it NEVER delivers.

  7. […] Perfection makes us thrive. (And other lies we tell ourselves.) […]

  8. Lies says:

    Full of stress for my approaching phd defense this came at a “perfect” moment. It’s so true. Thank you :-).

    • An says:

      You’re very welcome, Lies! 🙂 Good luck with your phd defense! You’ve got what it takes! You’re so gonna rock it! xo

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