2 answers

How can I unlearn perfectionism or use it for good in the career field of event planning?

Asked Aurora, Illinois

I need to unlearn my perfectionism. From my career path in the event planning field, I have lived by the mundane details and the desires to deliver flawless projects, proposals, and ideas. I always carry away deep into my projects and tasks by using all my energy and motivation which drains myself. I continually feel collapsed in exhaustion. I hope to lose my perfectionism traits and in turn the idea and my efforts to relearn to focus on the process instead of the product. I hope to gain satisfaction through living in the moment instead of seeing the end goal. I tend to be my harshest critic over the small things that go wrong. I am attached to the strive for perfectionism; this stems from my sense of self-worth with living on the expectations of others. However, I need to shift this perception. I need to get in touch with the value of what I am doing and look forward. I need to break out of unrealistic expectations and feeling less compelled to do things perfectly and make mistakes. My mistakes won’t matter to anyone else nor will they be impressed. My performance needs to be unattached from myself. There is a difference between excellence and perfectionism. Excellence stems from enjoying an learning from an experience and developing confidence from within it. #perfectionism #event #planning #career #betteroneself

2 answers

George’s Answer


You don't need to "unlearn", what you do need is to "learn" how to focus that perfectionism in the right direction, and when to turn it off.  For instance, you better be LASER focused on the details of an event -- when it comes to the Emergency Preparedness of the event execution team.    When a fire breaks out at a 1,000 person event - THAT is not when you "think" about how to get them ALL out of there - you plan, you practice, and you are ready.

But, lets take table clothes.   You ordered the Pearl White gorgeous table clothes, they sent the so-so regular white... do you freak? You shouldn't.  It isn't important.

Do SWEAT the details when it matters --> not sure if it matters?

  1. Will the customer cancel the event if the white isn't pearl?  Nope.
  2. Will the customer sue you out of business if people die at their even because your team was running for the door?  Yeap.

Event Planning is a great career with rewarding benefits of seeing what you did.. but don't roll in thinking it is all puppy dogs and kittens, there are some real challenges in pulling off any event with more than 2 people in it... which makes it that much more fun, engaging, and rewarding.

Good Luck

Spruce’s Answer


Hey Kaylee,

Thank you for asking this question. It’s clear that you’ve been dealing with this for some time. If I did not understand you correctly, or you find this a bit blunt, please do not take offense for none was intended.

This paragraph is my summary of your question and proposed course of action. You say you define your self-worth by your success at achieving perfection in the tasks of impressing other people and living up to their expectations. But, because this level of perfection is wiping you out, you’re intending to lower your own standards and thereby your own self-worth by easing off of perfection and purposely allowing a few mistakes to slip in. In addition, you’re disassociating yourself personally from your work performance. As a result, there will be a slight reduction the quality of your work that your customers will have to live with, but your stress level will be reduced and you will enjoy life a little more.

My response is as follows. I don’t think you have an issue with perfectionism. If you have an issue, I think it’s more likely that you’ve allowed your self-worth to be defined by how well you live up to other people’s expectations. That may have worked so far, but it will not work in the long run because you have no control over what other people want and therefore you have no control over your own happiness. Criteria for your self-worth has to come from inside you. In your event planning career for example, you could do the exact same things you do now, but if the reason you work so hard is to reach goals that you set for yourself, then you can have little victories all the time and enjoy the process. Problems will still pop up, but you’re in control.

I went to a dentist for a while who openly told me that the only reason he’s doing dental work is to pay for his fancy cars. Does that sound like someone who is unattached to their work performance? Wouldn’t you rather have a dentist who did dental work because he loved it? Would you eat a meal made by someone who purposely makes mistakes, like needing 10 eggs but having only nine in the fridge so takes one already cooked off an unused plate left over from the previous meal?

Best of luck.