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What are your perfectionist rules?

What impact are your “perfectionist rules” having in your life? During a recent training I led for Harvard University alumnae, we discussed how perfectionists develop our own unique “perfectionist rulebooks” – policies we create for ourselves rooted in unreasonable or unrealistic standards of perfection. Over time, we stop questioning these rules and default to them without even realizing we’re doing so. As we use these rules to project a perfect image, we may find ourselves exhausted, lonely, and undermining the things that matter more at the end of the day.

Some of the example rules surfaced during our discussion are here. What are your perfectionist rules? Ask yourself:

→ In what way is this rule rooted in an unreasonable or unrealistic standard of perfection?

→ What is the impact of adhering to this rule? On you? On others?

→ Is this rule still serving you? Is it undermining something that actually matters more?

→ What is a changed rule you could deploy in its place? What might the benefits of that new rule be?

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