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It’s Not About Being Perfect

Why do we always feel we need to know everything before we start something? Why do we feel that we have to be perfectly trained on something before we say yes?  It’s that perfectionism syndrome and it will be the downfall of women.

Do you know that men will apply for a job posting if they have 60% of the listed criteria, but women will only apply for a job if they have 100% of the criteria!  This is insanity! This is what perfectionism will do to you.

We need to stop being perfectionists. We need to stop internalizing the need to be perfect and have everything figured out all the time. It’s not reasonable, it’s not a requirement in life, and in fact, it’s a compete deterrent to taking a risk and trying something new.

Perfectionism will ruin your life.

Perfectionism will prevent you from going out of your comfort zone.

Perfectionism is tied to fear and the fear that we’re not good enough, we don’t know enough, or we’re not smart enough. So, we think if we’re just perfect in this one area then no one can make fun of us, no one will question us, & we won’t feel like a fraud.

By letting go of our perfectionism we can finally start taking chances and figuring things out as we go along. You suck at public speaking? OK, great….it doesn’t mean you never speak up in class until you’re the next Oprah. It mean you immediately start practicing, and you practice by taking chances and voicing your opinion…aloud.

No one (except you!) expects you to know it all or have it all figured out. No one thinks you’ll have all the answers.

I see my students struggle with this ALL the time. They work so hard on this one paper because they’re trying to write the “perfect paper” (which, doesn’t exist by the way), and they’re so focused on this one paper, this one course that they’ve completely disregarded the rest of their courses, their classes, or their life.

What does it matter if you write one “perfect” paper, but you’re flunking out of the rest of your courses, or you haven’t attended classes in weeks?

What does it matter if you’ve perfected this one software at work, but you have no idea about anything else at work?

Stop trying to be perfect and realize that learning AS YOU GO is fantastic. Figuring things out as you move through life is fine.  Letting go of perfectionism is freedom. It’s freedom to try things out and fail and try again. It’s freedom to speak up, lean in and ask for what you want. Freedom to be yourself and not some unrealistic model of who you think you’re supposed to be or who you think others want you to be.

Let go of perfectionism and you’ll start feeling free.


Because this is such a huge issue with women, start slowly with a smaller-risk issue, in order to ease you off the perfectionism train.

Start speaking up in smaller groups or classes before you raise your hand in front of a large lecture hall.

Force yourself to only work on a project for X amount of days and then move on.