Perfectionism helped get me to the top 1% of a highly competitive industry in 2017 when I became the Music Director of the Broadway musical HAMILTON on tour in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico with Lin Manuel-Miranda. It also played a considerable role in the heart attack I experienced several months into the job!
Perfectionism’s like that. The healthy (adaptive) part can elevate you to your dreams; the drive to be better giving you the juice to beat the competition and permission to become successful. But, on the other hand, unhealthy (maladaptive) perfectionism can drive you crazy, pushing you harder and harder to be better than the day before until your mind and body literally break.
How we manage our perfectionism is a subject of constant debate.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to the idea that we should somehow try and rid ourselves of it, or that it is all bad. Neither do I believe that aiming for ‘excellence’ as being good enough is agreeable or an acceptable solution.
Successful management of perfectionism only becomes possible when we fully understand our perfectionistic thoughts and behaviors and embrace a growth mindset through the lens of self-compassion.
This new openness inspires us to be kinder to ourselves on our journey and ensures that the darker side of perfectionism is kept at bay as we strive for our absolute best.
Some perfectionists consider unhealthy perfectionism a necessary evil; something they have to endure so they can benefit from everything that the healthy part has to offer.
This doesn’t have to be true.
We can still maintain the high standards we demand of ourselves and others – we can just do it in healthier ways.