November 2010
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook


Quotes about Perfectionism

Perfectionism is NOT a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves,
the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough --
that we should try again. --- Julia Cameron

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. --- Anna Quindlen

I will tell you that there have been no failures in my life. I don't want to sound like some metaphysical queen, but there have been no failures. There have been some tremendous lessons. --- Oprah Winfrey

November Message from Rita

In past Anticrastination Tip Sheets, you've read how perfectionism causes procrastination. But get this -- expecting perfection is also one of the chief causes of stress and burn-out. Here is an excerpt from my latest book, MANAGE YOUR TIME TO REDUCE YOUR STRESS: A HANDBOOK FOR THE OVERWORKED, OVERSCHEDULED AND OVERWHELMED.

A woman, chatting with me after hearing my keynote presentation, casually mentioned, “My house is always a mess because I’m a perfectionist.”

Doesn’t that sound backwards to you? Wouldn’t you think that a perfectionist would have a house that is always immaculate?

But she went on to explain, “My mother taught me that the right way to wash the kitchen floor is to move the table and chairs aside, and the right way to vacuum is to move every piece of furniture. So IF I don’t have the time or energy to do it right, I don’t do it at all.”

Do you ever put off doing something because you don't have the time and energy to do it perfectly? Then you beat up on yourself and get stressed out because it’s still not done? Do you expect yourself to be perfect …. always?

If you expect perfection in yourself, your family, friends, co-workers or others, you will always be disappointed, frustrated and stressed because nobody is perfect. And as a by-product, you will make everyone crazy.

People will make mistakes, let you down, act goofy. You will try to teach someone how to do something “the right way” (your way) and they will do it “the wrong way” (their way). Life is too short to spend it being stressed and frustrated because you or life or others aren’t perfect.

If you are often frustrated beyond belief by the incompetence of others around you or their meanness or lack of caring, you need to release, relax and let go. Yes, there are many people less competent and less intelligent than you. Yes, there are many who are cruel or don’t care as much or about the same things as you. But isn’t it also true that there are many who are more competent and more intelligent than you, and who are kinder, more caring and more giving than you? Accepting people’s different levels of accomplishment and ways of doing things can go a long way in reducing your stress level.

Strive for excellence instead of perfection. In a seminar I was teaching, a manufacturer’s rep asserted that the product she represented was a perfect achievement. Another attendee asked her if the manufacturer had a Research and Development Department. The answer was yes, and the fellow replied, “Well, then, that department is working to improve that product. Therefore, even THEY don’t consider it to be perfect. Right?”

Pursuing excellence (instead of perfection) will allow you to continue to strive for success (however you may define it) without stressing over what is beyond your control.



Chicago Area - Come meet Rita Nov. 6 & 7 at IBAM

Irish American Heritage Center
4626 North Knox Avenue
Chicago, IL
Noon till 5:00 both days

IBAM stands for "Irish Books Art & Music" and Rita will be one of 40 selected authors. And as you may already know, the woman has a crazy passion for Irish music. And there will be plenty both days.

So come, say Hi to Rita and spend some time with her munching fish & chips or tip a Guinness or just have fun enjoying the Irish-ness of it all.
Plus, on Sunday at 3:30, Rita will be part of a panel discussion about getting published.

Call 773-282-7035 for directions or further information.



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Please share this Tip Sheet with 2 or 3 friends who would be interested. And feel free to use this message in your blog or newsletter, as long as you include my bio and contact info:

Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook, The Clutter-Busting Handbook, and Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed