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Perfectionism: It Can Kill You

Perfectionism: It Can Kill You | Written By: Melissa D. Cope

When I attend my local FemCity luncheon and announce that I am a recovering perfectionist, everyone laughs.  But perfectionism is no laughing matter.  When I started my career at a brokerage company 25 years ago, I thought my anal retentive and controlling nature would be a huge asset.  Turns out I was right, AND I was wrong.

While perfectionism made me reliable, dependable and accurate, the energy and mental drains to maintain “perfect” each and every day, became debilitating.  Depression and a progressing physical illness became my constant companions.

If you see yourself in some (or all) of these scenarios, then you may be a perfectionist:

·         Do you procrastinate making decisions because they may not be the right ones? (aka: Analysis Paralysis)

·         Do you review and edit your emails over and over again before you hit SEND?

·         Do you have a hard time delegating to subordinates or your assistant (or are you hesitating to hire an assistant you desperately need) because the thought of not having control over all the pieces of the puzzle stresses you out?

·         Do you have successful colleagues all around you, but fail to ask for feedback and advice for fear of seeming inadequate or incompetent? 

·         Do you hide your mistakes?

·         Are you regularly disappointed in other people’s work product or work ethic? 

While perfectionism makes you a valuable asset for your employer (you are a work horse who gets it done and done right), it is not healthy for You!  The stress of perfectionism takes an especially heavy toll on women. Perfectionists suffer from higher rates of anorexia, irritable bowel, heart disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.

Perfectionism can literally kill you.  So if it is sucking the life, out of Your Life, it is time to do something about it.  REACH OUT!  This is one of the hardest things for perfectionists to do, but you can do it because your life may depend on it. Confide in a supportive friend (admitting that you make mistakes is the first step – trust me, everyone else already knows that).  And hire a therapist or coach who can help you change your thoughts and behaviors so you can have the life you deserve – happy, healthy and free.  

p.s. I left the brokerage job and hired a coach. She helped me understand why I was getting sick and how to change my life. While I am still a recovering perfectionist I have never looked back, and today I am happier and healthier than ever!

If you want to learn more about perfectionism mindset coaching, CLICK HERE for information.

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  • Val / 22 July 2016 9:40

    Good stuff, Melissa! People really underestimate the toll stress takes long-term on our well-being. Glad you’re reversing course on that one.

  • Peggy / 23 July 2016 3:07

    Great article, Melissa! Proud to call you my Asheville FemCity sister.

  • Nya Abernathy / 25 August 2016 8:55

    Really great to have someone shed light on this “applauded” life-damaging issue – thanks for your voice!

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