If I were to ask you whether you’re a perfectionist, you’d most likely say “no.” The explanation for saying that? “Well, I don’t get anything perfect! After all, perfectionists reach perfection.”
Would you be shocked if I told you that’s not accurate? Not only is it not accurate but I would almost predict that some perfectionist tendencies are blocking your efficiency and joy in your writing. Because one definition of a perfectionist is: “A person who takes great pains and passes them on to others.”
Want to know if you have some of those “great pains” or are giving them to others?
Take this perfectionism quiz by keeping track of how many of these statements you relate to:
_____I spend lots of energy evaluating my performance.
_____I tend to think in terms of “all or nothing.”
_____I think I should have my act together by now.
_____My expectations tend to be unrealistic.
_____For me, “good” is rarely “good enough.”
_____I often wonder why people can’t get their act together.
_____I’m compelled to straighten out misunderstandings.
_____I won’t begin something if there’s a possibility I can’t do it well.
_____Much of the time I sense God is disappointed in me.
(Copyright, Why Do I Put So Much Pressure on Myself and Others? by Kathy Collard Miller)
If you scored 3 or more, you have perfectionist tendencies. Surprised? Most people are. Because they think they need to be perfectionistic in every area in order to be a perfectionist. But the truth is that any of those characteristics can stand in the way of fulfilling God’s plan for your ministry.
thinking you should have your act together by now breeds discouragement to the point that you might give up.
evaluating your performance focuses on yourself rather than praying for God’s help.
thinking that you haven’t written your book “good enough” will cause you to constantly rewrite and never send it out.
not beginning something because you realize it won’t be perfect, prevents you from being faithful to finish it.
Although there are many solutions for fighting perfectionism, here’s one primary idea: Take the 1% Principle challenge. Instead of seeking 100% performance, make a 1% goal. When we seek 100% progress, we will only become discouraged and give up. But when we seek a 1% goal, we’ll succeed in the Lord’s power and those 1%’s will add up.
Here’s some applications:
Instead of saying “I must find three hours clear to work on my novel,” have a 1% goal: “I’ll spend fifteen minutes right now.”
Instead of thinking “I doubt this will ever become good enough,” have a 1% goal: “I’m going to go through the manuscript one more time and then send it off, trusting God.”
Instead of thinking “I’m so embarrassed that I said that to that editor, I’m not going to contact him” trust God for His plan to be fulfilled and contact the editor.
What could be a 1% improvement for one of the statements you checked? I hope that making even a small change will make a big difference.