I’d Rather Be Happy Than Perfect and Generate Productivity in the Workplace

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Perfection is that ideal we all think about (some more than others), and that we try with all of our might to attain, despite knowing that it’s impossible. I’ve never thought of myself as a perfectionist – I don’t spend hours on one assignment dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” And I typically don’t overly stress about the details being perfect because I tend to be more “big-picture” focused – figuring the details will take care of themselves, or relying on others around me to help with execution. In fact, it’s fair to say that perfectionism isn’t even on my radar most of the time but I'm just focused on my productivity in the workplace. Or at least, so I thought.

Lately, I’ve had a ton on my plate – both professionally and personally. I am juggling many things, and I find it hard to live up to the expectations I’ve set for myself in the different areas of my life. I don’t want to let anyone down, and I don’t want to be judged for slipping on anything. But right now with everything, I find myself dropping a plate or two in order to satisfy another expectation or obligation. Then I feel defeated, and frustrated that I can’t just “do it all.”

It occurred to me that the scenario I am dealing with is perfectionism – or at least some version of it. I am trying to live up to an ideal that just isn’t possible and it is affecting my happiness. In reality, it’s OK if my social life is on hold a bit while I finish up a big project at work – my friends will understand. It’s OK if my work suffers slightly while I deal with a personal or family situation – I have proven myself at my job and know they are understanding when things come up. It’s OK if I have to say no to a few things in order to reduce my stress level and keep my sanity.

Realism > Happiness > Productivity in the Workplace

The bottom line – I know my true worth, and because of that it’s OK not to be perfect. I would rather be real and authentic and happy than to kill myself trying to be perfect, or pretend I have it all together. Because I don’t – and for the sake of my happiness, I am going to be OK with it.


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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