Many secretly view perfectionism as a good thing. However, this perception is flawed. Perfectionism is not driven by a healthy desire to excel as a professional and produce high-quality work. Instead, at the core of perfectionism lies an incessant fear of inadequacy.
Are there too many people in the meetings you attend, just to be safe? Is there no agenda, the topic is unclear and no one quite knows what’s the point of the meeting? Is no one listening but doing other work during the meeting? Let’s save the meetings!
Speakers and trainers often receive very good if incredibly general questions from their audiences. It took me a long time to realise why answering these always felt like grasping at straws and why the asker didn’t always seem very pleased with the answer.
Sometimes you just can’t get your point across. You get frustrated. The other person harps on and on, and sticks to their own point like week-old chewing gum. How many times, and in how many different ways, must you express something before it’s finally accepted?
It’s easy to label a person who feels negative as a killjoy and a nuisance without considering any further what drives their behaviour. But what makes someone be the person who always sees the risks and threats, and who always asks the irritating and difficult questions?
If someone never makes mistakes, it can, in theory, mean that they’re a supreme being alike to an omnipotent god. However, it’s more likely that they’re someone who plays it safe and polishes their work ad nauseum.
The truth hurts and shames us, which leads to indignation, defensiveness and even attacks. That’s why before voicing criticism it pays off to consider if the relationship is strong enough for critique, if you’ve done your homework well enough and if your phrasing is sufficiently tactful.
Ask for precise and specific feedback on a topic you’ve chosen yourself to work on. Then it’s easier for people to give you useful and concrete feedback, and it’s easier for you to receive it and use it to improve yourself.
If a thought feels uncomfortable, we immediately interpret that to mean it’s a bad idea. Then we come up with logical and rational explanations for why an idea that feels bad is a bad idea. However, we shouldn’t.
One tech professional told me once in a fit of frustration, “Elisa, the biggest communication problem this organisation has is that people simply don’t read.” But if we know for a fact that people don’t read, is that then a problem – or a fact of life that we need to adjust to?