“The hardest person to please may be the man in the mirror.” Dan Skognes

Perhaps you know someone who is a perfectionist. They can be excruciatingly difficult to deal with if you are not one of them. They tend to focus on what was not done vs what was accomplished. You often see them in careers as Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Chemists, and Scientists.

I personally would prefer to have someone like that working on my behalf if they are dealing with my health or welfare. After all, who wants the guy that says, “Let’s give it a try and see if it works?” Nobody wants to be a Guinea Pig or a sacrificial lamb when their health or finances are at stake.

Here is the challenge for those of us who are not perfectionists: How do you deal with someone like that?

  • Keep them in the loop and listen to what they have to say. They just may keep you from making a fatal mistake.
  • Put what they say in perspective. Weigh risk vs reward and make an educated decision that mitigates your losses.
  • Value them and acknowledge that you need their input. If they feel ignored or under-appreciated they may withhold the very counsel that you need.

If you yourself are a perfectionist, here is my advice for you:

  • Cut the rest of us some slack and value our input as well.
  • Realize that nobody is perfect. It is great to have high standards, but don’t put on others or yourself a standard that cannot be maintained.
  • Sometimes good is good enough.
  • Don’t let perfection kill creativity.

I do believe that we should have high standards in regard to all aspects of life, but I also know that life is an imperfect puzzle. Our task is to put the pieces together to make sense of the picture. Make sure you have enough pieces to know what it is going to look like and understand that every choice has consequences. The bottom line is: Can you live with the picture you got, and what is the impact on yourself and others? It is never just about you.

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.” Winston Churchill


Dan Skognes

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