Letter From Jeff
“You’re such a perfectionist.” Are you supposed to feel insulted or flattered when you hear this comment? Is someone saying that you are detail-oriented, organized, and driven to excel? Or that you are controlling, rigid, and self-defeating? Is your perfectionism a good thing, or does it get in your way?
If your intentions are good (wanting to excel) and the outcomes you want are reasonable (to feel competent and satisfied), why would your perfectionism backfire and result in unhappiness, stress and unwanted results? This can be particularly confusing when you are a perfectionist in one context and it pays off, but when you use the exact same strategy in a different context, it backfires.
Many people consider their perfectionism to be one of their most valuable attributes and critical for success in achieving one’s life goals. Advice aimed at trying to stop you from being a perfectionist doesn’t ring true.
My goal in putting together this website is to continue this conversation about what perfectionism is and when and why it works versus when and why it backfires.
As such I will be posting blogs periodically and am interested in generating a conversation with site visitors about their experience of perfectionism. There is also a Q & A section as well as a perfectionism assessment site visitors can use to get a sense of their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to perfectionism. Finally, I am planning to post summaries of relevant research in the area of perfectionism to keep visitors to the site updated on the current understanding of perfectionism.
Please feel free to provide comments and feedback. I look forward to our discussions!
Jeff Szymanski, PhD