Perfectionism can affect all aspects of your Imposter Syndrome. It can contribute to engaging in:
- Overwrought and time-intensive task management processes
- Managing teams in exacting ways that don’t tolerate mistakes and/or allow for developmentally appropriate growth issues
- Unfair comparisons typically make you feel worse about your accomplishments
- Setting unfair expectations to get things right immediately or implicating your intelligence if you don’t
- Beating yourself up for making mistakes, not completing things in short timelines, and being considered at the top of or best in your class/cohort/colleagues
Getting rid of your Imposter Syndrome means eliminating your perfectionism as well, and it can be really difficult to give up these behaviors because we often erroneously believe that the perfectionism and resulting behaviors are responsible for our success in life.
Perfectionism can have significant consequences that we often ignore:
I recently asked what else perfectionism was killing for people struggling with Imposter Syndrome and they shared these additional things:
- Attention to your own goals
The reason perfectionism can get in the way of your process of eliminating your Imposter Syndrome is that you can:
- Focus on being perfect in picking up new skills, rather than tolerating your process of growth
- Have difficulty letting go of being perfect and the best, and how that functions to cover up for feelings of perceived inadequacy and fraudulence
- Become overly focused on “getting it right” rather than dealing with the emotional pieces of the process
- Become intolerant of lapses in your work to overcome Impostor Syndrome and as a result, fall back into perfectionistic tendencies
Sometimes, people feel like perfectionism is inherent to who they are as a person, and that it’s not reversible and cannot be changed. However, often perfectionism can be reinforced in our early experiences from these types of behaviors:
Understanding and doing an audit of the negative impact of your perfectionism, and what it is costing you can be helpful in not holding on to perfectionism, and using it as a crutch to cover for your true competence and abilities.
Letting go of perfectionism can require also being able to understand what you may be gaining in working on it, and choosing new non-perfectionistic behaviors.
So, how do you let go of perfectionism? There are a lot of potential interventions for perfectionism. Here are some that relate to changing your perfectionism when it comes to Impostor Syndrome:
- Focus on the “good enough” not perfect
- Learn to understand mistakes as an aspect of growth, and not as a moment to chastise and beat yourself up
- Work on decreasing rumination about what others are thinking about you (usually negative things) and your non-perfect performance
- Allow yourself to set realistic expectations without considering that “setting the bar too low”
- Develop an awareness of how your procrastination may be related to your perfectionism
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Appreciate the beauty of compromise and collaboration
- Value self-compassion and know that it does not impair your performance or your ability to accomplish things
Learning to combat your perfectionism can be very central to affecting your Impostor Syndrome, but it can really take developing an appreciation of how perfectionism is negatively impacting yourself and others.
What are the costs of perfectionism for you? What are the benefits of working on your perfectionism? What interventions on your perfectionism have you been working on?