The Problem of Perfectionism

Real Estate Sales Representative with Royal LePage Dynamic RE / Pro Ledger Bookkeeping Software

According to Dr. Helm, Perfectionism is defined as "attaching irrational importance to being perfect." 

Left unchecked, perfectionism will cause us all kinds of problems at work and in our personal lives. The first step away from the harms of perfectonism is awareness.

Here are some common perfectionistic traits to be aware of:

  • Overworking: taking much longer than required to accomplish a task in order to get it precisely right.

  • Procrastination: putting off starting a task because you are afraid of falling short of your own lofty expectations.

  • Inability to Delegate: worrying too much that others will not be able to live up to your high ideals.

  • Unable to accept constructive criticism: an inability to accept positive criticism due to feelings of inadequacy.

  • Constant self-criticism:  a tendency to continually be hard on yourself, and find it difficult to accept compliments because you believe your work is never good enough.

  • Overly critical of others: because you hold other people to the same high standards that you do, you will be harsh with them.

By accepting that we're not perfect and putting our attention on making progress, we can give ourselves the freedom to be more successful.

How have you experienced or dealt with Perfectionism? Share your thoughts and experiences in comments below.


Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Steve and thank you for the great information in your blog to share with us today!  Make it a great day!

Feb 08, 2023 08:55 AM
Steve Penner

same to you


Feb 08, 2023 09:56 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Steve - perfectionism is an unrealistic goal.  It's a trip attempted by many.  I wonder, while searching for it, what wonderful discoveries have been made?  

Feb 08, 2023 08:56 AM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I watch a show called "The Craftsman" featuring Eric Hollenbeck on the Magnolia Network , who is an incredibly talented craftsman.

Said he may not be the best, but he wanted to be remembered for always doing "his best".  Trust me, his best is EXCEPTIONAL.

I like that thinking of doing MY BEST I CAN DO.

Feb 08, 2023 09:36 AM
Steve Penner

good thought


Feb 08, 2023 09:58 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Good post here.  And scares me a bit in that a few too many of your bullet points hit  Enjoy your hump day.  Mark

Feb 08, 2023 09:42 AM
Steve Penner

awareness is a good thing.. but yes, sometimes can be hard but necessary


Feb 08, 2023 09:58 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Steve back when I was staffing and teaching leadership seminars, one exercise we had the students put themselves in sections of the room that they could identify with.  One section was the "analyticals" of which most were  highly perfectionist.   It was our mission to teach and  lead them to the center of the room......which was a  good balance of the 4 personality types.  Each personality has their strengths and weaknesses.  The goal was  for them to learn how to use the strength of each personality type when needed in life or business.  Quite the eye  opening experience for all of the leaders.

Feb 08, 2023 09:59 AM
Steve Penner

very interesting!... years ago I became certified as a DISC profiler... so can relate, and can see that would have been an excellent exercise. Thanks for the comment!


Feb 08, 2023 10:12 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Yes very similar to DISC Steve!

Feb 08, 2023 08:14 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I check all the points in your post, yet, striving to be perfect is a personal decision and the rewards are typically not shared with everybody however, I believe the reward of striving for perfection as personal satisfaction is the best antidote for living our lifestyle.



Feb 08, 2023 09:15 PM
Steve Penner

yes, important to make the distinction between "perfection" and "perfectionism". Thanks for the comment


Feb 08, 2023 10:06 PM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D
Thank you for this interesting information … perhaps being perfect means avoiding perfectionism LOl
Feb 09, 2023 01:31 AM
Steve Penner

lol... good point 


Feb 09, 2023 06:20 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I took a class of some sort years ago when in the corporate world - and the gist was that we should always strive for excellence not perfection - because there's no such thing as being perfect. I've kept that in mind since!

Feb 09, 2023 05:36 AM
Steve Penner

that is a very good way to frame it.  thanks for that. 


Feb 09, 2023 06:20 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I was a perfectionist until I wasn't ...

Feb 11, 2023 10:12 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Steve- what an interesting post on perfectionism. I also loved Kimo Jarrett 's comment.   I can see the vicious cycle of perfectionism and procrastination. I like what you had to say...

By accepting that we're not perfect and putting our attention on making progress, we can give ourselves the freedom to be more successful.

Feb 11, 2023 05:43 PM