06/18/2015 01:32 pm ET Updated Jun 18, 2016

How to Thrive When Perfectionism Is Slowing You Down

Emma Kim via Getty Images

Guilty as charged.

I've been a perfectionist my whole life, and I'd like to think that my strong will to achieve only the highest of results has gotten me quite far.

But at what point does the perfection model actually hinder our performance?

Let's be honest -- we're all high achievers here but excellence does not equate with perfection.

In fact, some of my greatest accomplishments have come out of moments where I let go of my need for perfection and simply got the job done.

When we strive for perfect it's a sign that we don't trust our best to be enough. Instead we pick away at our projects, our goals, and even at ourselves to the point that we wear ourselves down, losing precious steam along the way. We lose clarity of our greater vision and get stuck in the minute details.

Whether it be in business, life, or in health -- "We can only truly thrive when we accept the dance between making it happen and letting it happen" (one of my favorite Arianna Huffington quotes).

There are three powerful tools that make this process that much easier while still allowing you the room to excel.

1. Set deadlines

Giving yourself reasonable timelines for your tasks keeps you accountable. Set smart deadlines that give you the space to be creative without going into overdrive.

This can also be applied to your health goals. For example, instead of waiting until you feel fit enough to try your first yoga class, set a date and stick to it -- regardless of the circumstances.

2. Celebrate getting the job done

Take the time to enjoy and celebrate each and every time you get something done. This will help to set up new mental habits where instead of feeling accomplished via perfection, you get that same feeling from getting the job done.

Your celebration could be as simple as a glass of wine, a hot cup of chai, or a high-five with a co-worker or friend.

3. Put your health first

Nothing kills productivity as quickly as poor health. It's SO much easier to give it your all when you're feeling great and not dealing with annoying headaches, bloating, or plain exhaustion.

Set yourself up as your number one priority even when that means taking a break to go for a walk, take a nap, or get some good nutrition into your body. Remember, when your body isn't feeling good neither is your brain. Better health ultimately leads to better results.


We all have the inner drive to thrive, and when we take these three steps we protect ourselves from the perfectionist trap while creating sustainable impact fueled from within.