Psst, guess what?

I quite often feel guilty or like I’m not doing something I should be doing if I am relaxed or taking time out for myself.

This type of ‘stress = success’ thinking could be a result of working solo in a micro-business. Or it could be the result of perfectionism.

I am definitely a list person and love nothing more than ticking off those to-do items. Sadly, in business, and life for a lot of people, there are NEVER moments when we feel completely on top of things. Promotion is limitless, learning is limitless, working on our own diet and exercises is never-ending, accounting is never-ending and so it goes.

But whether it’s my seemingly endless to-do list or my perfectionist tendancies causing these feelings of guilt and contributing to stress is a question worth a little consideration.

I am reluctant to use the term perfectionist for myself as I always thought it a little self-indulgent to label myself as such. I mean, perfectionists were always high achievers, top of their field, entrepreneurs, financial powerhouses, with perfect make-up and a body to match right?

Well, maybe. But anyone can have perfectionist tendencies. Symptoms of perfectionism include:

  • Feeling there’s always something more you should be doing or should have achieved by now
  • Always feeling unprepared or underprepared before an event, test, presentation, interview, regardless of how hard you’ve worked to prepare.
  • Frequently comparing yourself to others
  • Akways feeling like you could “do it better”
  • Black-and-white thinking – you’re either successful or you’re a failure.

Perfectionism isn’t inherently harmful. It can also result in you working hard, having ambition, staying focussed, striving to reach your potential and making money. Nothing wrong with that.

Make sure you are driven by passion for, love of and enjoyment for what you do, and not by a need to feel validated through overworking.

It’s also worth exploring the origins of your perfectionism. Do you associate performing well with approval or a need for recognition from others? Do you suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO) which is why you join a group, go to an event or say “yes” when you really would rather say no?

Try to consciously take a break from these autopilot patterns that may be affecting your joy for work and life and draining your energy stores. Be sure to hit the pause button every now and again and put yourself higher on that “to-do” list.