When perfectionism becomes a problem

When perfectionism becomes a problem

Does your attention to detail, efficiency, organization, and reliability sometimes spill into a paralysis when everything doesn’t turn out “perfect?” While there are some solutions that can be broken down into discrete, concrete pieces, this may not always be the case. In fact, the higher we move up the cognitive and career ladders, the more space there is between series of equally good solutions, none of which are “perfect.”

Whether we are designing cross-functional ERP solutions, complicated tax returns, or complex statistical models, or trajectories to Mars, we are expected to use judgment, best practices, and imagination. Even with tens of thousands of pages of computer codes, tax codes, or launch codes, there is always space for interpretation and judgment. f We often don’t know how our solution plays out for quite some time. Sometimes we need to put our stake in the ground and believe that we have found the best answer, even as we may never know if it is truly “perfect.”

Don’t get us wrong, perfection can be a goal, but there are times when we just won’t hit it, and there are times when that’s ok. “Excellence” is pretty darn good.

We like this article, from the Journal of Accountancy, that gives us the tools to accept less than perfection:

  • Recognize the problem
  • Establish a reasonable bar
  • Examine your time
  • Let it go
  • Forgive yourself
  • Seek help if needed

“While finance professionals are expected to excel and be accurate and complete in their work, a drive for perfection shouldn’t get in the way on the job. “The focus should be on achieving excellence,” Valbrun said. When he realized that, he said, “that’s when I let go of the idea of perfectionism.”

Read the full article here:


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