This week #gtchat welcomed back former #gtchat Advisor, Lisa Van Gemert, to chat about her new book, Perfectionism A Practical Guide to Managing “Never Good Enough”. Perfectionism is life experienced in endless attempts to do what can’t be done. Reality never measures up to perception. It is the culmination of too high expectations which ultimately affects one’s quality of life.
“I define perfectionism as the pursuit of excellence in the absence of self- love. It is also often defined as setting impossibly high standards and being unsatisfied with high quality of work.” ~ Lisa Van Gemert
Perfectionism is a coat of many colors – overachievement, aversion to risk, and procrastination. An interesting type of perfectionism is managing your self-image; what you want others to see.
There are benefits of viewing perfectionism as being on a continuum. When perfectionism is no longer one single ‘thing”, it’s not seen as something to be fixed. One must deal with it long-term. If you view perfectionism on a continuum, certain behaviors can produce achievable results such as good grades in school.
“The continuum model of anything is less rigid. It doesn’t say, “Fix this,” but rather, “Move slightly, please.” With a continuum, we can ease back to the middle, rather than saying it’s all or nothing. That idea is its own kind of perfectionism. Perfectionists will not typically become laissez-faire, Type B people, but they can move a little to the left on the Bell curve!” ~ Lisa Van Gemert
Some comorbid conditions can complicate perfectionism. It can be extremely complicated for twice-exceptional kids who already challenge society’s norms. Perfectionism paired with Executive Functioning issues or ADHD are at a disadvantage from the get-go.
How do we balance ‘do your best’ and ‘nobody’s perfect’ for young gifted children? We need to be honest with kids … especially young gifted ones who really want to be perfect but lack understanding. Too often, parents ‘expect’ way too much from gifted children; unwittingly can cause a lot of emotional damage. Adults need to see the fallacy in thinking ‘perfection’ is attainable; do a reality check.
“Not everything is worth “do your best”! Not everything worth doing IS worth doing well. Parents and Teachers can balance this by helping kids identify what is worth doing well and exactly how well. I use a 1-5 scale for deciding how well something should be done. 1 is just do it. 5 is make it as great as possible.” ~ Lisa Van Gemert
In the book, Lisa presents strategies and action steps which work best in dealing with perfectionism. The first actionable step must be to identify the fact that perfectionism may be affecting one’s life adversely. A strategy based on management rather than elimination of perfectionism will result in a more successful resolution. A transcript can be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing “Never Good Enough” (Great Potential Press)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Photos courtesy of Lisa Van Gemert and Great Potential Press.