If you’ve worked your way up in a competitive field — or are anxious by nature — you may have perfectionist tendencies. Maybe you’re a hard-driving, obsessive worker who thinks a task is never quite done. Or maybe you’re avoidant, struggling to start a project because you want it to be done just right.
We all know society holds women to a higher standard than men and rewards us for not making mistakes. But internalizing other people’s expectations — or what we think they expect — will only burn us out. To keep rising in our careers, we need to get in tune with our own standards for what’s a good, or good enough, job.
It is possible to keep our perfectionist tendencies under control. We talk through tactics with Alice Boyes, a former clinical psychologist turned writer and author.
Our HBR reading list:
“How Perfectionists Can Get Out of Their Own Way,” by Alice Boyes
“How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent,” by Alice Boyes
“How to Collaborate with a Perfectionist,” by Alice Boyes
“Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News,” by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill
Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work
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Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.
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