"Let Go of Perfectionism"
Your Success Thought for the Week of July 12, 2006

“Perfectionism is the highest order of self-abuse."
~ Pastor to Ashley Judd

We’ve heard it since childhood that “practice makes perfect’, ‘that was the perfect pitch’, ‘perfect school, teachers, grades, friends, accomplishments’. Were they really all that perfect or was this an illusion that would later sabotage us?

Tom Peters had it right in his landmark book, In Search of Excellence. Why not In Search of Perfectionism? Was this because he knew too many burned-out executives who had destroyed careers and relationships through seeking perfectionism-- something that was not attainable? A study of CEO’s showed that nearly 60% were still trying to please their fathers--possibly through perfect results?

In Why CEO's Fail, David Dotlich lists perfectionism along with arrogance and volatility as key reasons for the demise of highly successful individuals. He points out a theory that I see daily in my coaching practice. Weakness is the ‘shadow’ or opposing side of strength.

Perfectionism may be the naughty, distracting, little brother to such strengths as precision, accuracy, excellence or passion.

I’ve enjoyed Ashley Judd in all of her movies (especially when matched with Morgan Freeman.) She appeared to be the less-troubled member of the Judd family and a rare model of health and vitality in the Hollywood scene.

As such, I was amazed to learn that she’s just come out of a 47-day treatment program for “codependence in my relationships; depression, blaming, raging, numbing, denying and minimizing my feelings." (Glamour Magazine, July 2006)

Because these behaviors are not chemical addictions, people are not typically treated for them. Perhaps Ashley will serve as a role model for how damaging our emotional wounds are. Perfectionism was both a sign of the problem and her problem.

In my client’s words, previous perfectionist behavior prevented them from success in the following ways:

  • Squelched Creativity—“I used to think there was only one way to do things--my way. Allowing seemingly ‘less perfect’ approaches has really expanded my world view and opened me up to broader thinking.”

  • Stifled Relationships—“I never knew the effect it had on others when I had to be right. Even though I still feel right, I can listen and learn from other’s opinions.”

  • Created Judgment - “Because I felt that no one could do anything as well as I could, I was always judging those around me, never quite honoring or accepting them. It grew to be uncomfortable, boring and lonely.”

  • Prevented Fun - “Lightening up on myself and others is so much more fun.”

  • Time Waster - "Excellence is attainable. Perfectionism is not. Why did I spend so many years never feeling quite satisfied, never good enough? Now I feel accomplished and great!”

What is the difference between perfectionism and excellence? According to Healthline.com, perfectionism is: The tendency to set unrealistically high standards for performance of oneself and others, along with the inability to accept mistakes or imperfections in matters of personal appearance, care of the home, or work.

Webster simply defines excellence as: very high quality or standard. Which would you rather be? Which mode of behavior and thinking will bring you more peace, creativity and productivity? Which will enhance your relationships and self acceptance?

Catch yourself as you swing between excellence and perfectionism this week. Sometimes there is a very fine line. If you find yourself uttering the word perfect, try changing it to ‘excellent.’ Notice your results and energy level with both approaches.

Enjoy your discoveries and have an excellent week.


Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

What People Are Saying About Ann's 'Thoughts'

I loved what you wrote Ann!!! You are such a great writer. When is your book coming out???
~JR, Bend, Oregon

If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, or, you would like to help us spread SUCCESS, click here GVSuccess or forward this newsletter to your friend or colleague in it's entirety.

Please join us in congratulating Ann for having recently been awarded the prestigious designation of Master Certified Coach. Ann is one of only seven Master Certified Coaches in Oregon, 372 in the United States, and 493 in the world to have qualified for this designation.

As always, it's great to be in touch with our subscribers in 'ten' countries!! Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and USA. If you receive these 'Thoughts' and live in a country that I have not mentioned, please let me know so I can salute you.

Welcome All New Subscribers

Copyright & Permission Copyright © 1998-2006 All rights reserved

Permission is granted to either reproduce copy or distribute "Your Success Thought for the Week for July 12, 2006" as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached. The author is Ann Golden Eglé, Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC, 541.385.8887, 21775 Rickard Rd., Bend, Oregon 97701, www.GoldenVisionsSuccess.com

Phone: 541.385.8887 or toll free 1.877.821.0234
Email Marketing by