Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a way of life for many women. In today's world, the phrases "good enough" or "I tried my best" have been replaced by "never good enough" and "I must do better."
  • 86% of women we surveyed said they always or often feel pressure to be perfect in the role of professional.
  • 78% of women who indicated they are parents said they always or often feel pressure to be perfect in the role of parent/caregiver.
  • 67% of women said they always or often feel pressure to be fit, healthy, and attractive.
  • 51% of women who indicated they are partners or spouses said they always or often feel pressure to be perfect in that role.
According to The Supergirl Dilemma, these pressures are also an overwhelming force in the majority of girls' lives.
  • 84% of girls said they are under a lot of pressure to dress the "right" way.
  • 74% of girls said they are under a lot of pressure to please everyone.
  • 70% of girls said they worry about achievement.
  • 60% of girls believe that the most popular girls in school are very thin.
Full Circle...
We must lead by example and show future generations of professional women that strong leaders don't stand out because they are perfect--they stand out because they are risk takers and decision makers. If you are stuck in your fear of making mistakes, you won't take risks. And if you are paralyzed by your eagerness to please everyone, you can't make courageous decisions.

Quotes
:
"I want [adults] to know that it is extremely tough growing up in this world today. There are so many pressures of being a teenage girl. You never feel like you're thin enough, pretty enough, or just good enough."
-9th Grade Girl, The Supergirl Dilemma
"I am challenged when I have not mastered a situation. Until I master it, I feel pressure-- and that comes from me, not any individual. I myself, I am striving to be the best."
-Professional Woman
"My greatest challenge as a woman in the workplace today is acknowledging and accepting when I have too much on my plate to manage and feeling the need to do it all for fear of appearing inadequate or incompetent."
-Professional Woman
Tips:
  • If you have something to say in a meeting, speak up! In the time it takes to "perfectly" form an idea in your mind, there's a good chance the subject will change, or someone else will raise your point.
  • Recognize that "self-brightness" is your key to career success. Good leaders embrace the self-development process. Don't internalize constructive feedback as criticism-- welcome it as an opportunity for growth.
  • Develop crucial employees/associates. You don't have to know it all. In fact, if you are guarding information because you are afraid of others knowing more than you, you are hurting your own chances for upward mobility. Have the confidence to empower others. The result is that you will empower yourself in the process.
Girls Inc. recommends:
  • Help girls develop a healthy body image. Teach them that beauty comes in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Encourage girls to focus on health flexibility, and strength.
  • Tell a girl she is great because of what she does, not because of what she looks like.
  • Avoid rescuing girls. Encourage girls to take healthy risks, make mistakes, and get dirty or disheveled in pursuit of a goal.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a HUGE advocate of speaking up and "perfectly" form an idea. However i have been told by male executives how to "present" and what to say, so therefore, my risk taking ends..

Anonymous said...

PLEASE DISREGARD PREIVOUS COMMENT...I am a HUGE advocate of speaking up and NOT "perfectly" form an idea. However i have been told by male executives how to "present" and what to say, so therefore, my risk taking ends..

Allison K. said...

I think one way to tackle pressures of perfection is to separate the achievement of personal excellence from the achievement of perfection. Personal excellence should be a balanced set of standards set by us as individuals that healthily incorporate standards from our superiors, colleagues, family, and friends; perfection, however, is driven far more by how others perceive achievement.

I think seeking personal excellence makes taking risks a bit less daunting and also a bit more rewarding; it's far more exciting to reach for a goal that you KNOW is important to you, rather than a goal you THINK should be important to you.

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