I’m not a perfectionist. I’m not driven by perfection. I’m driven by integrity.
Perfectionist: a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. Source: Oxford online
I searched for the origin of the word “perfectionist” and found nothing. Since psychologists are so into labeling, often normal human behavior, I suspect it came from them.
I have found that the word perfectionist has a negative connotation, meaning, and implication for many people. As if it’s some kind of affliction or psychological disorder. I find the word “disorder” absurd and grossly over-applied by, you guessed it, psychologists.
I have observed that people who are lazy, mistake-prone, and unwilling to work hard like to ridicule those who are the opposite by saying, “You’re too much of a perfectionist.” They see using the word as a derogatory remark. They may go on to say, “You’re taking this too far.” “You’re overthinking this.” Then when you look at their shoddy work you understand why. They don’t take it far enough. And they underthink it.
I’ve run into this repeatedly when working with a person who is unwilling to do the work in order to produce excellent, error-free results.
The other day I reviewed Living Trust documents for a family member. I found a serious error in the first document I looked at – Power of Attorney. So I carefully looked through the rest of them and found more serious mistakes. At the direction of this family member, I called the maker, an independent paralegal.
She immediately became defensive. As found more errors later, her defensiveness grew into nastiness. She told me, “You’re overthinking this.” I said, “I don’t think so. These are important documents.” Things went downhill from there. Based on this experience, I do not recommend using a paralegal. They do not have the same legal accountabilities that a lawyer does. Use an attorney who specializes in Wills and Trusts instead.
If you’re often called a perfectionist, reject that label and take pride in the excellent work you do. You’ll come out ahead. I have. Or maybe you are already experiencing this.