The Mythology of Perfection

Hi. My name is Sheila - and I am a recovering perfectionist. As the saying goes, the first step to recovery is owning your ish. Perfectionists are shaped by their environment. I'm not placing blame. I'm just sayin' . . . When the minimum expectation is excellence - excellence becomes a given, with no cause for celebration.  

As an adult, reaching for that elusive height became increasingly frustrating. It took a few decades, but I finally laid that burden down. And I’m here to testify that perfectionism is a demon. It’s a Jedi mind trick. The ego is arrogant enough to believe perfection is a necessity, that it’s what sets you apart from everyone else - what makes you great. But it’s not. Perfectionism is an abyss of dissatisfaction, critique and judgment designed to keep you on the hamster wheel - with no rest in sight. And it will undermine your ability to be a Good CEO.

In case you are still caught up in its spell, here are 3 myths you should know about this misleading vice: 1. Perfectionism is an addiction - a never-ending chase. Nothing is ever perfect for a perfectionist. There’s always something that falls short or should have been done differently or better.

2. Perfectionism does not equal excellence. The bar is set based on a fantasy of what "should be," not on your instincts, as a leader. And to be a Good CEO, you need to be able to trust and rely on you instincts.

3. Perfectionism does not lead to innovation. In fact, it inhibits innovation and growth. And innovation is an essential goal of The Good CEO.

Perfectionism creates a state of tunnel vision, in which you have already decided what the journey and the destination must look like. To innovate you have to create space for the unknown, for something new to emerge. Great leadership and innovation require spontaneity, trust, and a willingness to be responsive and open to the journey, with a belief in your ability to make the best decisions every step of the way.