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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 8

Even Jesus Needed Disciples

The Value of Others

The Seduction: Always be Seen Achieving Your Potential

How do you want others to see you? How do you try to present yourself to them? When I ask perfectionists this question, I get common responses that cite the desire to be known as someone who is competent, intelligent, independent, and autonomous. In addition, perfectionists always want people to see their potential and recognize what they are capable of doing. It is very frustrating for a perfectionist to receive an “unfair” evaluation of their skills and talents because they had an off day or didn't spend enough time on a given project. They want others to “see (and evaluate) me only when I'm at my best.” However, part of this desire to be seen only at one's best means that no one else can witness rough drafts or any part of your process of getting to the final outcome. In addition, you have to make everything you do appear effortless, right? You want to be “Martha Stewart” calm as you complete a task; it is supposed to look like nothing to put together a dinner party for 18 coworkers.

Then there are those tasks on which you have to work collaboratively with others, relying on them to do part of the work with their own set of skills, talents, and effort. Do you ever hear yourself saying in situations like these: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”? You likely feel that others don't share your standards. Sometimes it's because you actually ...

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