This week I’ve really been noticing a pattern I call ‘the curse of the perfectionist’ in myself and my clients!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to experience to a high standard in every area of your life but when you’re a perfectionist there’s a risk you could be creating obstacles for yourself or holding yourself back.

One couple I’ve helped overcome issues with their sex life were both such perfectionists that they were convinced they could always somehow ‘do better’, anxious that they weren’t doing things ‘the right way’ and constantly berating themselves about not having put more effort into solving their problems.

I noticed that their perfectionism stood right in the way of their creativity, their flexibility, their humor and their spontaneity in the bedroom. If this sounds like you, imagine how much more free and relaxed you could be if you just allowed yourself to just flow… without the negative perfectionist self-talk nagging away in the background.

Another client constantly put off publishing her written work because she kept telling herself it needed extra editing, changes to the narrative and a different format. I noticed her perfectionism meant that she delayed progressing with her writing projects and manifested as self doubt and a deeply ingrained ‘failure’ story.

It’s something I’ve had to work on for myself too! My own perfectionist voice has often meant I’ve taken longer than really needed to complete tasks or scrapped great pieces of work telling myself that I needed to start again. I’ve also experienced frustration when I’ve allowed the lack of self-belief that results from perfectionism to limit my creative flow or diminish my goals. It can contribute to procrastination in big ways too, resulting in a feeling of being stuck or going round in circles.

What’s really important in all this, at least to me, is not in any way about dropping my standards, caring less about the quality of my work or settling for second best in my sex life or relationships. I’m all about the gold standard, but I have learned that perfectionism isn’t necessarily how we become the winners in our lives.

What really counts is shifting that harsh, perfectionist energy to something with a softer, more graceful quality – appreciation.

Refocusing the lens through which I perceive myself so that it’s not so sharp and unforgiving has helped immensely, offering me the chance to really notice the beauty that my perfectionism so often devalues and negates. This is applicable to everything in life – work, creative pursuits, friendships, relationships…and it makes a powerful difference.

This is one reason why I always encourage my clients to be kind to themselves. When you drop the perfectionism you’re far more likely to stay grateful, motivated and in the zone of possibility. That’s how we manifest joy, create successes and reap the rewards life has to offer.