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Managing your Strive for Perfection

Managing your sense of perfection can be very helpful not only in the workplace, but in your personal life as well.  Many times, when tasked with an assignment or project, it is not the task itself that appears to be overwhelming, but the anticipation and stress of delivering a perfect product. While you should always aim to exceed expectations, there may be times when your own personal standards are getting in the way.  Oftentimes it can be difficult to differentiate between what is actually required and your expectations of that requirement. There are a few ways to ensure that you meet your mark, save time and shine in the process and the following are a few ideas:


Know what is needed.  When you are initially given an assignment, your first instinct is to envision what you think would be the perfect deliverable. But if you step back and look at what exactly is being asked, you may find that your vision does not quite align with the main idea or purpose. Look at the assignment with an objective eye and focus efforts on exactly what the tasker or manager is asking for.


Know your audience.  When working on any assignment it is always best to know your audience.  If a presentation is for your manager or supervisor, try and get a good "read” as to what they want the final product to look like and what information they want it to contain. Also consider their work style. It is better to deliver a product that complements their methods and approach rather than to give them a final product with additional data that they have no need or use for.


Don’t be afraid to delegate.  One way to work more productively is to delegate a piece of a project or task to a member of your team. When you request a colleague’s assistance with an area of their expertise, it can enhance the quality of the final product. 


Show a personal side.  When putting together any project, there are always opportunities to incorporate individual style and flair.  For example, when giving a presentation, it is completely appropriate to open with an ice breaker or anecdote that highlights your individual panache and creativity– provided that the rest of the presentation meets and addresses all areas of the initial assignment.


Be gentle with yourself.  If your project or task gets bounced back to you for changes, do not take it personally. Sometimes plans and directions change and do not reflect the quality of the project. Keep an open mind and make those revisions.





Many mentors have had to juggle multiple projects with varying degrees of complexity over the years. As such, they have learned to discern and manage priorities and deliver a quality product. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed or challenged to deliver that perfect project, presentation or deliverable, plan to discuss the following with your mentor:


What elements of the project appear to be the most overwhelming?  Why?

Do you keep with what the tasker manager is asking for?

Do you think additional elements should be added?

Do you want to add more than what is being asked for?

Do you meet the need or your expectation of that need?

How can you add that small individual piece that complements the assignment without overwhelming it?

Are you over-critical of yourself? Are you too sensitive to feedback about your work?

            How can you step back and look at the feedback objectively?