‘Yes Syndrome’ and Perfectionism Are Deadly

I am, by nature, a people pleaser. I have spent the majority of my life being “the yes girl,” and I can honestly say that it has done far more damage than it has benefitted me. When asked if I could squeeze one more thing into my schedule, or help out with another task I politely obliged the asker. After a day of being agreeable, I would look down at the mile-long to-do list in front of me, sigh, and work until I could no longer hold my eyelids open.

Why? Because I sincerely thought that if I was helpful, agreeable, and always willing to do more than my fair share that I would get ahead. That the karma fairy would rain down beams of goodness on me, and that one day all of my hard over-working would pay off in the form of an amazing life. The truth is, the only thing it resulted in was burn-out. It also gave way to hair loss, fatigue, irritability, uncontrollable crying, and what probably seemed to those around me like a never-ending case of PMS.

To further the issue, “Yes Syndrome” is the gateway syndrome to perfectionism. Neither is pretty. They do not work well for day-to-day matters, and they will cause you to lose your mind. Wanting to turn in a perfect score on every test, make sure you meet or beat your metrics at work every week, or just simply ensure that there is not a single typo in anything that you send out, ever, will cause you to feel as though you have developed early onset Alzheimers. You will never know where you placed your keys, will accidentally burn water, and on occasion, even forget to eat.

When perfectionism is the goal, everything suffers. If you become too willing to accept the short-end-of-the-stick, too agreeable to heaping loads of crap getting placed on your plate, and too nice to say no, you are saying it is okay for others to continue taking advantage of your good nature. Perfectionism is an illness. It will consume your entire life without your realizing that it has engulfed everything that once held value.

The fear of not meeting expectations, of not being the very best at everything you do, is exhausting. The only cure is to rewire the way your brain perceives requests, criticism, and to stop worrying about who you might disappoint if you say no. Two major words need to be added to your vocabulary right now- “Who cares?”.

Once you’ve finally gotten the hang of asking yourself that question, start striving for your best work instead of worrying about producing the perfect work, and I am positive that the work you do provide will be better than you ever thought possible. Perfectionism does not discriminate against its victims. It kills creativity without a second thought and demolishes relationships faster than infidelity sometimes. If allowed, it will aim at your health and set its sights on your emotional well-being. Perfectionism will leave no survivors.

Today, rather than asking yourself if the work you have done is perfect, just shoot for the moon. Reach as high as you can by your standards, tune out the rest of the never-ending feedback, and accomplish things for you.