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The Perfectionist's Handbook: Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes by Jeff Szymanski, PhD

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Chapter 4

Wanting Things to Be Perfect May Not Be the Problem

You've just picked up a new client and are excited about the project that awaits you. In addition to enjoying the topic, this initiative is likely to gain some much-needed recognition from your boss and from this client, who might also throw more work your way in the future.

Let's break this down in the following way: Your intention is to do a good job, satisfy yourself, and impress your boss and client. What do you need to bring to this project to ensure that your intention turns into your desired outcome—a job well done, compliments from your boss, and clients who are so impressed that they request to work with you on future projects? Your strategies could include devoting extra time and effort working long hours; experimenting with different and novel approaches; asking for others' input; or being very detail-oriented and thorough in an attempt to ensure a flawless project. In other words, although your intention remains consistent, there are multiple and distinct strategies you might employ to try to reach the desired outcome.

To illustrate this, in the following hypothetical scenarios let's keep the intention and desired outcome the same but use different strategies:

Intention: I want to impress my boss and my new client.

Strategy: I work long hours on the project trying to cover all of my bases and producing very detailed work.

Desired outcome: The client tells me I've done a great job, my boss is happy with ...

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