While working towards life balance as a working wife and mother, stop sometimes and consider your own personality traits and the impact it can have on your goals and lifestyle. Start by thinking about your own personality traits and how you handle yourself at work and at home and the impact it can have your own life balance.
When we think of personality traits, many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions often referred to as the “Big 5” personality traits. The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Perfectionism or perfectionists falls under neuroticism, but it can look and manifest itself very differently across many types of people.
If you are looking for signs that you might be a perfectionist, then let’s start at what they are and how they look in the workplace. Perfectionists have a strong sense of purpose and high ideals. They like to excel in whatever they do. Perfectionists are extremely detail oriented and methodical. Perfectionists sometimes come across as critical and judgmental. They have a harsh inner critic that sometimes spills over into their relationships with others. Perfectionists may become easily frustrated in group projects if they feel others are not “pulling their weight”…sound familiar?
People with the “maladaptive form” of this personality type tend to deal with self-esteem issues. They are extremely self-critical and have a need for positive feedback from others to bolster their sense of self-worth. They may become very obsessed with others opinions. Their need to strive for flawlessness, in combination with their extremely self-critical nature can leave them vulnerable to depression and intense anxiety. Sometimes they externalize their personal disappointments by focusing their judgment on those around them. They don’t always correct people to “be mean” or harsh, but because they have an inner desire to prevent others from making mistakes or getting hurt.
Still wondering if you are a perfectionist? There are some interesting quizzes online that can help you assess your level of perfectionism and if it is hindering you in life. The BBC has the multidimensional perfectionism scale questionnaire to help you determine how much of a perfectionist you are. It has 35 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The end results compare you with others who have taken the assessment, giving you an idea of where you rank for each category.
Perfectionism is a ubiquitous affliction, suffered by nearly a third of the population. Women in the workplace can be especially prone to perfection, holding themselves to higher standards for fear they will be judged more harshly. This quest for impossible perfection can, however, have serious consequences, including depression, anxiety, and workaholism.
So you might be a perfectionist and not even know it. You may not have a meticulously organized junk drawer or a closet full of clothes organized by color or sleeve length, but perfectionist traits may still be affecting your life—and holding you back.
Psychology Today shares 9 signs that you might be a perfectionist…can you relate to any of these habits?
1.You think in all-or-nothing terms. Something is either right or wrong, good or bad, perfect or a disaster. You tend to think in one extreme or the other, rather than seeing the characteristics of people and situations existing along a continuum. For example, you tend to think, “She is mean,” instead of, “She can sometimes be mean.”
2. You think, and then act, in extremes. Have you ever acted on a sentiment like this, more than once?: “I had one cookie and screwed up my diet…I might as well eat them all.”
3. You can’t trust others to do a task correctly, so you rarely delegate. Others may see you as a micromanager or control-freak, but you see your actions as just wanting to get the job done right.
4. You have demanding standards for yourself and others. You believe in always giving your best and you expect others to do the same. And you are scared to death of looking like a failure.
5. You have trouble completing a project because you think there is always something more you can do to make it better. You obsess about sharing your book, project, meal, invitation, business card, website, article, or speech with others. You want to make sure your work is the best it can be before revealing it.
6. You use the word “should” a lot. “I should do this,” and “They should do that,” may be common phrases, both out loud and inside your head. You have certain “rules” you believe that you, and others, should follow. And when those rules aren’t followed, you are not pleased.
7. Your self-confidence depends on what you accomplish and how others react to you. You strive for excellence and need validation from others to feel good about your accomplishments. What’s more, once you have achieved a goal, you quickly move on to the next one.
8. You tend to fixate on something you messed up. You may have done something right, but still focus instead on the one mistake you made.
9. You procrastinate, or avoid situations where you think you might not excel. It may seem counterintuitive, but many people who procrastinate or avoid doing something are actually perfectionists: They’re afraid they will fail. Their rationale is, “I might not be able to do it perfectly, so why bother at all?”
If you believe that perfectionism is affecting your performance at work and happiness in life in general, then this infographic from CashNetUSA has some very useful tips to get the impulse under control.
Here are just a few to consider:
- Make deliberate mistakes
The fear of making mistakes can lead to us putting unbearable pressure on ourselves, with each error a source of great disappointment and even anger. But EVERYONE makes mistakes, so there’s really no need to beat yourself up so much. To get more comfortable with the absolute fact that you are not perfect, try making public errors on purpose. Put a typo in a group email, mispronounce ‘avocado’ or simply ask someone to explain something rather than making a mental note to Google it later to avoid seeming ignorant.
- Remind yourself of reality
Striving towards goals and objectives is great but not when we set unrealistic terms or timeframes to achieve them. If you find yourself being hyper-critical about not achieving as much as you want it can be good to keep realistic positive affirmations around, to remind you to be reasonable with yourself. Examples would be:
- No-one is universally liked. I don’t have to be either.
- It’s impossible to be good at everything, it’s okay to be okay at something.
- Mistakes happen, it’s how we learn to get better.
- Look at the positives
If you feel a project or event has been an absolute disaster, take some time to figure out if that really was the case. Visualize or list the positives from it and weigh them up with the negatives. A heavy focus on what’s gone wrong means we often forget everything that goes right.
Related: 11 Habits of Successful Women
For even more tips check out the infographic itself. Perfectionism can be a debilitating affliction but by incorporating the right strategies into your daily life you can ease self-inflicted stress and be fairer to yourself.
This post provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this post, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
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