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Why Your Perfectionism is getting in the Way of Your Success

If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you are a doctor, you’re going to be a doctor or you’re thinking about being one.  

The ability to really help people is an amazing gift and opportunity.  The dark side to drive, ambition and getting through all that schooling is usually (but not always) fueled by a very “type A” go-getter kind of personality.  

If that is true for you, there is a very good chance that you may be plagued with perfectionism.  If perfectionism were an Olympic sport, I would have not only made the team but probably won a couple gold medals too.  

Here’s the deal, a lot of people and so called experts will tell you that perfectionism is a bad thing maybe even a disease but on the other side of the coin, is usually a very ambitious and goal oriented individual who gets a whole bunch of stuff done in their lifetime.  

If this sounds like you, keep reading.  The hankering to want more out of life is an awesome thing so let’s make sure the passion and enthusiasm is channeled into the appropriate avenues.


Dotting the “I’s” and crossing the “T’s”

In my personal opinion, I think academia can turn a perfectly normal individual into a neurotic basket case.  One time my professor would not accept a paper that I labored over for hours because my name and the date were in the wrong place with the wrong font.  

Let me ask you, how in the heck is that preparing me for the “real” world? 

When you really break it down, a person who has been inclined to want everything perfect is put into an environment that only perpetuates that inclination.  Consequently, that individual is expected to get a job or start a business and shortly thereafter this paralyzing fear can descend over the individual, which leaves them helpless.  

A once perfectly capable individual is now left reeling in paranoia about making sure everything they do moving forward is absolutely perfect. I’m here to tell yah…no one cares.  See those three periods in the last sentence? They totally came out of nowhere, have no grammatical use and would have gotten me an F on any paper I would have turned in previously. 

The truth is, to start applying for jobs, creating a website, starting a business, not one single step in that process is going to be perfect.  In fact, most of it is going to be ugly, dirty and probably mess with your control issues.
  
My advice…(ha I did it again!) focus less on dotting every “I”, crossing every “T” and figuring out where all the comma’s go and start somewhere.

 

Right out of chiropractic school, I landed what I thought was the perfect job. It didn’t take long to realize, it was not working for me (or for my employer). 

In my mind, the next logical thing was to start my own office.  Why on earth would I think that would be a good idea? 

I had absolutely no experience doing any of that. I remember my first week in my new office. I had no patients, no skills at marketing and I even forgot to print out new patient paperwork. Yep I was on the road to success.  Just like in school, previous jobs, relationships, you figure it out. 

 I think the more we meander and think about all the ways our interview with a potential boss is going to go or doubting ourselves on hiring employees because the employee handbook isn’t finished yet or not giving office talks because we don’t have the first speech totally memorized is what stands in our way.  
Interviews are always going to be subjective because we can’t control other people, the employee handbook is never going to be finished because you don’t know everything that needs to go in there until an employee does it and talking in front of your patients is never going to be perfect.

I know for me, I have passed up on opportunities (and consequently money) because in my mind, what I needed to do on my end was not perfect. 

“Perfection before implementation impedes progress”

If you don’t believe me consider this.  If you had to be great at something the first time (or even the first few times), there would be a lot less babies born. 

 

 Kassandra Schultz D.C