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By Dennis McCafferty

Extreme Perfectionism: How it Hurts Your Performance

Perfectionism Brings Positive ValueThis would include self-esteem, sense of achievement and uniqueness, creation of indispensable reputation, avoidance of the unknown.

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Beware of Perfectionism Trouble SignsWatch out for feelings of exhaustion, chronic anxiety or guilt, frustration, rigidity.

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Classic Trait of Excessive Perfectionists After a project, a sense of "not good enough" dominates instead of feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment. 

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Seek Persistence, not PerseverationPersistence is a stick-to-it drive toward a key goal. Perseveration is obsessing about relatively inconsequential details of a goal.

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism 1. Set specific goals.  As in "Oversee integration to save 10% in operating costs. Not "launch impact-making systems upgrade."

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism* 2. Come up with Plan B. Plan B doesn't have to lower the bar. It's just a different bar to consider when available resources can't achieve Plan A.

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism* 3. Recognize the two sides of anxiety.Healthy anxiety provides information that helps avoid problems. Unhealthy anxiety surfaces when your perfectionism is the problem.

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism4. Avoid the temptation to keep raising your standards.Because that means you'll inevitably fail at some point.

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism5. Evaluate effort versus payoff. Beware the Law of Diminishing Returns. Make sure measurable results aren't outweighed by time/resources invested.

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Six Action Steps for Positive Perfectionism6. Maintain perspective.Keep in mind that there's very little difference between "perfect" and "excellent."

This article was originally published on 10-03-2011