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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 2

Building Your Perfectionism Profile

You may have seen yourself in some of the positive portrayals—as well as some of the negative scenarios—as you read through the definitions in Chapter 1. Or, you may recognize yourself somewhere between these two extremes. For example, concern about mistakes can make you detail-oriented and a valuable asset at work—or it can make you controlling, anxious, and a procrastinator. The way you use a particular strategy—not the strategy itself—is what results in either positive or negative outcomes. In addition, the same behavior that pays off in one context might backfire in another. This is why you should focus on continuing to do what is actually working and discontinue using tactics that are not.

In the following section, ask yourself how your perfectionism affects your behavior, feelings, thoughts, and relationships with others—and try to determine where you fall on the healthy or unhealthy end of the continuum for each. At the end of this chapter, I will ask you to locate yourself on each of these dimensions of perfectionism. In doing so, you will get a clearer sense of your own personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to perfectionism. This exercise will also help you consider which of the following chapters are relevant to you in terms of understanding what your strengths are and where you might consider making changes.

Behavior: Personal Standards

A book on perfectionism would typically begin by telling you that your personal ...

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