Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Nobody’s Perfect

One of the things I am reminded of daily is perfectionism and how it works for me and against me. I strive to ensure that everything is in perfect balance, runs perfectly smoothly and is perfectly timed. Every now and then I am assaulted with the bald face truth that I am not perfect and neither is anyone around me. This is especially prevalent in my dealings with employees, but also in dealings with the most challenging of people - myself.

How it serves me

In the communications industry I am often proofing documents, ads and general correspondence for the companies that pay me to make sure their stuff is perfect. I am not talking in a factual sense as I am not a lawyer or an accountant - but rather in the finer details of what it looks like, making sure there are no typos or misaligned elements on a page etc.

It also helps me tremendously with caring about what I do and how I do it. I can’t stress enough how it disturbs me when people slap things together as quickly as they can, without a care in the world as to how it may be received. This applies to both clients I have and staff I have employed or seen in action. A person does not need to be a perfectionist to care – although, that being said, even I find that hard to believe sometimes, given my experiences.

The cons

Disappointment, disappointment and more disappointment. I had a good laugh with a friend the other day, who often gives me sage council with regards to staff, about perhaps hanging a sign around a new employee’s neck that says “I am not perfectionist”, just to remind myself that they are not me and I cannot possibly expect them to be. I’ve had to learn to manage my expectations in order that my disappointment levels are kept in check. Expecting too much of other people is most certainly a potential downfall to being a perfectionist.

‘No-one can do the job as well as I can’ is another pitfall that is best side stepped. It’s not possible for one person do everything. If I cannot delegate duties to qualified people and be confident in the outcome, I’m going get stuck pretty quickly. I believe it is possible to find ‘me’ in amongst the sea of people out there looking for a job. It just requires patience to find someone that fits, but finding the right people for the right job is for another blog post though.

Expecting too much of myself, dropping the ball and beating myself up about it, is another classic. One micro example would be signing up on Project 52 which is a challenge to complete a blog post once a week for the whole of 2010. I’ve already missed one week due to completely unforeseen circumstances and I was quite upset by falling short so early on in the year, but it also gave me insight into what the challenge is actually about - making sure I do my best whenever and however I can - without killing myself.

Final Thought

I’ve learnt that my desire for everything to be perfect is a major asset if used correctly. Always strive to do your best at whatever you are doing and you will inevitably be content with the outcome. If you hate your job or project, wishing constantly it would move from work into play time - you are in the wrong career. Make the change – it will leave you feeling younger, happier and more in control of your own life.

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