Let’s start with a fable “The emperor, the wise man and the bird”
Once upon a time, there was a newly crowned emperor. This emperor wanted to make the dove his favorite animal and use it on his coat of arms, coins …
He, therefore, called on a wise man, an artist, recognized as the best in his field. He went to this wise man and asked him to draw him the perfect dove. The wise man replied that it would cost him two bags of gold, one right now and the other after the delivery, in a year. The emperor was not really happy with the delay and the price, but there is no possible compromise with a wise man.
A year later, the emperor went back to the wise man for the delivery of its perfect dove. The sage quietly took a tea, and when the emperor asked him for the drawing of the dove, the sage took a white sheet and then drew the most perfect dove that one can imagine.
The emperor got angry because he couldn’t understand that he had to wait a year to see the sage draw the dove in a few seconds. The sage then rose and took the emperor to an adjoining room, which contained thousands of drawings of doves, it was through experimentation for a year that the sage was able to achieve such a perfect result.
We can learn two things from this story:
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is, therefore, not an act but a habit. “Aristotle
- Does the dove the sage drew 6 months ago was not good enough for the emperor? Primarily for use in embroidery and metal printing: will the difference between the precision of 6 months and a year ago will be seen on an embroidered coat of arms or a minted coin?
We can define perfectionnisme throught the excellence :
- Perfectionism: Persistence to achieve a selfish perfection
- Excellence: Continuous improvement towards collectively defined perfection
Perfectionism, the absolutism of an idealized but not shared perfection
The perfectionist striving for absolute perfection condemned himself to succeed, without half measures, and put himself in a posture of intolerance to failure.
By having his/her own vision of perfection, he will persist in detail that he is the only one to perceive, and he is going to have a permanent self-pressure.
By having her/his own vision of perfection, he cannot delegate the actions which are going to allow him to reach it. And he cannot stand remarks or suggestions because the person who is going to give him feedback doesn’t share his vision of perfection.
The fact that you don’t deliver a partial job result until perfection might cause you disappointment, because it’s not going to be appreciated as it deserves, just like the emperor did to the sage.
Perfectionism, the burnout risk.
In his quest for absolute perfection, the risk for the perfectionist is never to reach it and to be under constant pressure.
The classic symptoms of this absolutism:
- Excess to Self-criticism,
- Denigrate his/her successes, or and feel worthless until perfection is reached,
- Frustration, anger,
- Doubt, fear,
- Alone against all.
Excellence, a path to shared perfection
With an approach of excellence, the path to perfection is as critical as the result. Each step is attainable, allows you to learn from your actions to progress. By delivering frequently, we collect feedbacks that will enable us to refine and share the target to be reached.
Each point of view contributes to improve the final result and enriches the value of perfection, thus collaboratively constructed. Failures or half-success are just a way of learning.
In summary, each step is a success.
Excellence, a path to motivation
An approach of excellence is therefore more motivating:
- Pride in achieving consistent success,
- Spontaneity and risk-taking,
- Right to make mistakes,
- Sharing and collaboration.
This set of values allows us to continue to enrich each other to reach the perfect target, even if it will never be reached.
Quiz: Are you a perfectionist?
- I never do half a job. It’s all or nothing for me. Simply.
- People who do things half-piss me off.
- I believe that there is only one way to do things and that they should always be done that way.
- I am angry or defensive when I make mistakes. I hate that.
- I often find it difficult to start projects with deadlines I have to respect. Or if I do, I kill myself to get there.
- I feel humiliated when things are not perfect.
- I don’t like to admit I don’t know how to do something or be a beginner. If I can’t do something correctly, I don’t do it.
- People say that I expect too much from myself. Or them, by the way.
- No one in my family could ever live up to expectations.
- I’m tough on myself when I lose, even if it’s just a game or a friendly match.
- I often avoid group activities.
- I don’t think work should be fun or enjoyable.
- Even when I achieve something, I feel disappointed or some emptiness.
- I continuously criticize others as well as myself.
- I need to be in charge of the situation. If I can’t be in charge, I don’t participate.
- No matter what I’ve done. There is always more I can do.
- I don’t often delegate, and when I do, I always check at least two times to make sure the job is done right. Surprise !! There is always something wrong.
- I believe that it is possible to do something correctly, and I am sure that if I dedicate myself to it if I focus on it, I can do it perfectly.
- Forgive and forget is not something I do easily.
- I’m having trouble finalizing (or even getting started)
If yes, there is a cure for that 🙂