How Striving For Perfection Makes Me Want To Be Average

Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa Gregory

perfectionI admit, I have a Type-A personality. Some characteristics that are ingrained in my being are impatience, competitiveness, time urgency, and ambitiousness. Oh yeah, and I’m pretty much incapable of relaxation.

There are some very tough challenges that come with striving for perfection, other than the fact that it’s simply not possible to be perfect all the time. Here are some of the biggest challenges I face and how I try to keep my overachieving personality in check.


Not being able to relax makes it difficult to limit stress. Of course, this has numerous health repercussions, which thankfully, I have avoided so far. But I do know that a high daily level of stress is probably not healthy.

To battle this, I force myself to take breaks to avoid burning out, prioritize, and set boundaries with my clients. And I also focus on being consistent in the way I manage my work environment.

Driving My Family Nuts

Well, maybe not nuts, but I know my perfectionism, especially when it appears as a lengthy to-do list on a Saturday morning, definitely effects my family. One of the things I do is let other family members have a say in the weekend plans (aside from my to-do list). I also try to plan family time that is work-free, so we can all benefit from time together.

Holding Myself Back

Sometimes my desire to do it all, and do it all perfectly, makes it difficult to take on new opportunities. At times, I have found myself thinking that if I can’t do something perfectly and to 100% of my ability, then I don’t want to do it. While this is not generally a bad thing, it sometimes deprives me of new experiences.

I try to gauge each opportunity as it comes along in terms of three things: 1) How my participation will be valuable to others, 2) How it will benefit me, and 3) What’s the worst case scenario if I am not able to do it perfectly. Usually, this gives me enough of a reality check to realize when a valuable opportunity comes along and to jump on it.

Despite some of the negative connotations of being Type A, though, it has been tremendously beneficial in my career. I’ve been able to take matters into my own hands and just go for it when I was dissatisfied with my corporate job. I’m driven, and I rarely give up when I set my mind to accomplishing something. I’ve been able to provide great service to my clients by being dependable, detail-oriented, and able to conquer even the most challenging projects.

At the end of the day, we are who we are and we all have positive and negative traits, regardless what type of personality we have. The best thing we can do is embrace our positive personality characteristics and continue to work on those that we find challenging. The key is to recognize that we all have room for improvement and that not being perfect is okay. In the words of the great Laurie Berkner: “I’m not perfect, no I’m not. I’m not perfect, but I’ve got what I’ve got.”

Do you have personality traits that you find challenging? Do you fight the perfection battle?

Image credit: Ove Topfer