Perfectionism Kills Action

Every week I wait until the last minute to write my blog post. I have a deadline. I know when it is. But even knowing that, it seems like it isn’t until the last minute that I finally settle on the “perfect” topic. I reflect on the week and see what themes kept coming into my space time and time again. This week it was hands down perfectionism. I made a comment on Facebook yesterday about mowing the lawn in crooked rows, just to drive my husband crazy….as he likes perfect rows. By me making them not perfect I assured myself that I would not ever have to mow the lawn again. Many of my male friends commented on how this is true for them as well….they love straight lines. They like the lawn looking perfect. I tease my husband that he either does something perfect, or not at all {I am the same way, hence I will never try to ski for that reason.} There is no gray area for him. He goes to pull weeds in the garden….he pulls every last one and comes inside with a sunburned back. If he wants to build a deck on our house…it will be the best made deck you have ever seen….but it took 7 years of planning to get there and before the first nail was hit! The building of the deck was a hotspot in our marital discussions for many years! I could see his perfectionism rear its ugly head and how he wanted to get it done his way, by his way I mean perfect. But because of that there was years of no deck attached to our house.

But this week I had conversations with so many people who are stuck in inaction due to the fact that they want everything to be perfect before they take action. A friend {Oddly I have many friends in this spot right now} wants to quit her job as she is miserable in it and doesn’t feel appreciated. This friend should leave this job but will not until the next job is secured and figured out. But that next job is not even ever seriously pursued.  A friend wants to leave a mentally abusive marriage….but a meeting with an attorney is never even made to discuss options. A friend wants to start a blog for the past few years….but has yet to write a sentence. A consultant wants instant success in the direct sales industry…..but doesn’t want to put in the years of hard work to make it happen. A friend doesn’t have company over because their home isn’t “perfect”.

Believe me, there are so many areas that I am not perfect in but yet I take action in. I have learned to do this the hard way by just putting myself out there. Spelling eludes me. I often type errors because I am in a rush or I simply miss them. I often have my errors pointed out to me….in kind ways. I am ok with the fact that I am not going to master spelling and I put myself up for criticism every time I put something up for public inspection. I also have issues with how I look {I know as women we are suppose to get over that and love who we are and how we look….believe me I am working on it!!!!}, but I do not turn down opportunities to be interviewed on camera or via Skype. I am registered for something very scary in less than 30 days….I don’t think I am going to do it….but then my boys reminded me at dinner this week that I need to conquer my fears….dang kids!!!!

So if you are a perfectionist like my dear husband or many of my friends or even myself, what can you do to get over it?

1. Find one action that you can take this week that will lead you to some forward progress. Challenge yourself to make a phone call or register for a class that will teach you the skill that you are looking to perfect or be willing to focus on your “project” for 10 minutes a day.

2. Let go and just do it. Trust yourself that you are more than capable to handle it! Most people don’t start at the top of anything….they work their way up. But unless you go for it, you will never know.

3. Find someone to help you… a loving way. For our deck project….I called someone to lay the footings….I contacted the city to get the permit…..I found the money to purchase the expensive materials…I found someone to do the stairs and the railing. Yes my husband is a saint….and yes we are still married!

4. Find an accountability partner. Having someone to check in with on a weekly basis is a huge help. That is why Weight Watchers is so successful…having to be accountable week after week leads to action. We have business coaches that can help you look for a new job in privacy where nobody needs to know that you are looking. There are counselors and people in leadership at places of worship that can help you through personal struggles.  Find someone that you connect with and start taking action toward your goal.

5. Start loving yourself. I reminded a friend this week that we can’t love other people until we love ourselves first….I was using her quote back on her! We are so hard and critical of ourselves. That little negative voice in our head needs to be silent and be replaced with a voice of love and encouragement!

6. Accept the fact that mistakes will be made. There is the famous Michael Jordan quote about how many basket he missed, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost more than 300 basketball games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s precisely why I succeed.”

Just remember that taking no action is not perfect either. We need to get to the mindset that we should trust in the journey and that we will have the tools and support along the way as we work towards that goal. Doing nothing has gotten you nowhere. Set out a game plan and take action….and don’t worry about being perfect because mistakes will happen! Plus chances are you, are your worst critic!


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity


MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at

· Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately; you can email her at

· For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity Facebook business page here.

· Order featured Clever Container organizing supplies here, consultant ID #18.