3 signs you’re a perfectionist

Okay, I admit it. I’m a perfectionist. So, let’s hope there are no typos in this article. That aside, let’s explore how YOU can tell if you’re a perfectionist. Here are the top three signs to look out for.


1. You’re super proud of going ‘above and beyond’.

You’re a high achiever. Your motto is ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’. You’re passionate about doing a fantastic job every time. These beliefs demonstrate a high work ethic and a professional mindset.

But what if they’re actually signs of a problem caused by socialisation and pressure to excel from an early age? For example, imposter syndrome (a chronic fear of being seen as incompetent). Sadly, this could well be the case.


2. You’re an all-or-nothing thinker

If your work isn’t 120% brilliant, you believe you’ve failed. You don’t just want to pass the exam, you’re not satisfied with anything less than 9/10 – even though your final results will classify you as ‘competent’ or ‘not yet competent’.

This is a classic example of what Carol Dweck calls a ‘fixed mindset’. Sadly, this type of mindset often makes people successful. But not happy. And not authentically happy.


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3. You never feel comfortable in your own shoes. (Plus, the shoes aren’t up to scratch, either.)

Let’s face it: Perfectionists are never satisfied with themselves. They harshly criticise every aspect of their physical, emotional and behavioural lives. They set ambitious goals for self-improvement and never rest.

Does this sound like you? If so, you might benefit from learning to accept yourself as you are. (What a great excuse to skip that gym visit).


In 2016, Srini Pillay published an interesting article on how to do exactly that. He explained that self-acceptance involves appreciating your body, protecting yourself from negative criticism and believing in your own capabilities. For more details on this model and my thoughts on how you can use it to boost your confidence, read my recent blog on self-acceptance and self-compassion.