Stephanie MacKendrick is President of Canadian Women in Communications and a recognized thought leader on women’s advancement and board diversity. You can follow her on Twitter @SMacKendrick
The better you do something, the better the chances of success. Correct? We’ve been told that since kindergarten; do better, cross those “t”s, dot those “i”s. Few would argue that excellence brings rewards. So research that shows that girls tend to be better students than boys,that they grow up into women who are better at following the rules in business should translate into better career advancement for women compared to men.
The lamentable statistics tell us that is not so.
I’d argue that perfectionism – particularly for women – is the slippery downhill slope that presents itself when you reach “excellence” and try to push beyond it to achieve perfection. It’s the ultimate self-sabotage tool. Think about it. If perfection is your standard, what are your chances of succeeding against that benchmark? Or of being able to advance and move forward when you’re stuck trying to perfect the present? And it’s got to be a killer of job satisfaction when you can’t consistently attain your own self-imposed standards.
But worse yet is the fact that perfectionism keeps its practitioners so busy that they rarely have time to do other equally important career development tasks – networking, strategizing, building profile and communicating accomplishments.
So that’s why my career advice to women is this: “Lighten up and loosen your standards if you want to get ahead. Be part of the 80/20 world; if you can get 80 percent of the way with 20 percent of your time, shout hurray and move on.” (Unless you are a surgeon in which case this advice definitely DOES NOT apply).
Category: Career Girl