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Battling Perfectionism

Rosanne Ullman | December 14, 2014 | 3:09 PM
Photo By James Brey for Getty Images

The holidays bring out the perfectionism in some of us. All year long you aim to provide customer service that exceeds expectations. You try to get every hair color right on the money, every style picture-perfect as you send the client out the door. You already put all of that pressure on yourself. Must your holidays look like they come out of Architectural Digest?

 

Author Aimee Cohen urges you to give yourself a break.“We all want the holidays to be special, but a perfectionist believes that if it’s not perfect it’s a colossal failure,” says Cohen, author of Woman UP! Overcome the 7 Deadly Sins that Sabotage Your Success. “It’s all or nothing, black or white—the greatest holiday ever or the worst day in the history of the world.” 

 

As you search for the perfect gifts for every recipient and consult Martha Stewart for decorating advice, you’re creating anxiety for yourself and damaging your self-esteem, according to Cohen. There’s no such thing as “perfect,” and striving for an impossible ideal puts you in “Perfectionism Prison,” she says.

 

This spins off into your professional life, where it can prove even more threatening. Cohen says that women tend to believe they need 100% of the job qualification before they can apply for a job, while men believe they need only 60%. Women “hyper-focus on the one skill they don’t have, or don’t have enough of, and convince themselves they’re completely under-qualified and no hiring manager on earth would ever consider them for an interview,” Cohen says. “Women become crippled with self-doubt and insecurities to the point where it sabotages their careers. The Perfectionism Prison is a self-imposed trap, a limiting mindset and one of the fastest ways women kill their careers and ruin their entire holiday season.”

 

Are you in Perfectionism Prison? Cohen says you know you’re a perfectionist when:

  • You miss deadlines because the project is never good enough to be done.
  • You instantly become defensive if someone questions or criticizes you.
  • You secretly love it when someone else fails because it makes you look better.
  • You truly believe there are no letters between A and F.
  • You put up a wall so others can’t get close enough to see your imperfections.

“Release the idea that the holidays are going to be perfect, and celebrate that the unexpected surprises are what really matters,” Cohen advises. “Liberate yourself from this prison once and for all—and Woman UP!”

 

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