Burn-out and Perfectionism

Are you the kind of person who targets higher and higher and is never satisfied with the achieved result? If so, don’t worry but be aware that being perfectionist is a weapon to double cut. If you are too demanding with yourself, you are a candidate for burn-out.

Perfectionism is like stress: in small doses it is fine, but when it is too much it is too much! It takes different forms and changes according to the people. Generally, the perfectionist is a victim of the working environment, or of the social or family pressure.

For instance, people who always want to try to be a model employee and always work more, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, are perfectionists.

This behaviour can be harmful because it can turn the initial motivation into professional fatigue. A person of this type works in an inflexible and rigid way. They don’t take distance from their job and they don’t accept to make mistakes.

Other kinds of perfectionists get lost in details, they work a lot but not in an efficient way. Others still focus on smaller assignments, because they are afraid to face greater projects and not to succeed in managing them and to conduct them up to the end. The fear of failure that some types of perfectionists feel, can prevent them from accepting new challenges.

Sometimes, they also behave like that at home, in a familiar environment. Their place must be always under impeccable conditions and when they come back from work they don’t let go and take a rest, but they start rearranging and cleaning.

In the long run, those people become fragile and vulnerable. They can go into a burn-out, alimentary troubles or a depression. In the case of a burn-out, their energy progressively decreases because of a constant overload/overwork. If then other factors are added like a little gratifying job or missing recognition of their contribution at work, the risk of burn-out increases.

What could perfectionists do? They should try to focus more on the process, rather than on the result. The result actually depends also on external circumstances that the person cannot always control. Moreover, those people can look for things they like and that are energising, like hobbies, passions, going out with friends, spending more time with their family. The perfectionists have to learn to know themselves better, asking themselves what they like to do, what gives them energy.

They should also learn that human beings make mistakes and that you learn by your own errors.

To invent the light bulb, 5000 attempts were necessary!

To a certain extent, I am a perfectionist but I learned how to let go. What about you, are you a perfectionist?

Please, have a look at my blog crisbiecoach.

lighted light bulb in selective focus photography
Light Bulb – Photo by Burak The Weekender on Pexels.com


19 thoughts on “Burn-out and Perfectionism

  1. Oh man, burnout happens HARD to my creativity. It’s extremely frustrating. I’m trying to overcome it and this post was amazing!

  2. Being a perfectionist is less about doing it the “right way” than it is about doing it “my way”. Often, perfectionists attempt to reach unrealistic expectations that have been set by them, not by a supervisor or manager or familiy member. The need derives from a fear of losing something: esteeem, financial stability, love.

    It has taken me a long time to understand that some things need to be “perfect” but most things just need to be done/okay. And some things don’t need to be done at all OR done by me. These are all decision points. They require conscious thought and decision rather than input and reaction. For me, that required surrender, a hard pill to swallow, but the end result has been greater peace and sanity.

  3. Thank you, Cristiana, for sharing yet another wonderful post! You explained the issue of perfectionism with great clarity. Yes, at one time I did lean toward perfectionism, but I’m grateful that I noticed that trait within me. It showed itself very strongly within my writing; for writing, as you realize, is something that a writer can always review again and alter indefinitely. I once read that a quote that said something similar to this: “A work of writing is never finished; it is merely abandoned.” I think that’s good sense in a way. We must finally say, “done,” and let the work speak for itself.

    I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

    1. Oh yes for writing it’s absolutely like that, and I like your quote. I think that at a certain point you have to say stop otherwise you may end up rewriting your piece. Thank you for commenting!

  4. Excellent topic, Christiana! Perfectionism has always stalked me. My late husband taught me the old saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good. Sometimes I remember it when I should. 🙂

  5. Great blog! I’m currently in an imperfect state of flux due to me and most of my family all with Covid at the same time!
    Fortunately I am feeling ok and able to take care of others who are more at risk for complications and can barely get up to use the bathroom.
    My perfect house is a mess but I know I have to just manage getting food, making food and the dishes. So I’m ignoring all the mess so that I rest and drink fluids in between mom duties.
    I’m happily perusing Reader and commenting others blogs!
    I’m also reaching out to others for asking to guest blog on my blog while I take a break from my usual frequent blogging.
    Would you consider writing a guest blog for me and I will return the favor once I’m well if interested?
    My blog is all over lately from brain or mental health to passions about hobbies or anything having to do with the mind, body spirit connection or anything like that.
    The only work I will do is introduce you and your blog and use long tail keywords to help rank the blog on Google. I just learned SEO and applied it 6 weeks ago so I’m getting some good traffic.
    It can also be a previous blog you think will fit! Lmk if interested.

  6. The very word, let alone idea of so called perfectionism strikes as if there is a cold blade plunged into my heart. This is why. There is no ‘best,’ (Achievable Perfect State)there is only better. The notion of ever achieving perfection is therefore redundant. For example if someone is working to the currently agreed process. Then they, must in reality be working outside of any future theoretical short term achievable process parameters. This is why they are out of potential control or out of process. That is In the sense of the concept of all things are capable of improvement. Working to process today is limited to the agreed repeatable standard set today for operations running within process controls that are achievable by the process.

    Planned process improvement further places perfection as a goal firmly into the trash can.

    Remember “there is no best, only better.”

  7. Great post! I really enjoyed reading about focusing more on the process, rather than the result. Thanks for the tip! Hope you have a great day.”

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