Everyone knows a perfectionist; in fact, that perfectionist might even be you. Perfectionism, no matter who it is attached to, has a couple of well-defined features. Perfectionists want every little detail to be just right; anything short of perfect is unacceptable. There are certain situations in which perfectionism can be good.
For instance, when you are working on a big project or applying for an internship. But when it comes to planning events, perfectionism is often more of a burden than a benefit. Here are 4 ways that perfectionism can actually hinder your event planning:
1. Perfectionists often set unrealistic goals for themselves.
Goals are an important part of the planning process. But you should always set goals that are attainable and realistic, not ones that are far beyond your reach. This isn’t to say that you should never challenge yourselves; sometimes the best results come from stepping outside your comfort zone. But to put it simply, perfectionists are never comfortable with the comfortable. They always want to roll out the red carpet, and that can be a dangerous thing.
Ultimately, we need to realize that the success of an event does not depend on how much money we spend, how good the speakers are, or even how many people show up. It’s okay to be mindful of these things, but our event should not revolve around these things.
As long as we devote the event to God and follow His will, everything will turn out just as it was meant to. The goal should not be to put on the most glamorous, exciting event ever; our goal should simply be to bring people closer to Jesus and each other. The relationships and memories made will far outweigh the decorations, the food, or logistics of any kind.
2. Perfectionism is paralyzing.
When most people think of perfectionists, they think of people who are always on the go and can’t stop being productive. And while this is mostly true, there can be a point where perfectionism becomes paralyzing. During an event, there are a million things that could go wrong. You could end up not having enough materials. You could have a low turnout.
Any member of your staff could get sick at the last minute. And although some of these things are within our control, many of them are not. If we stress ourselves out over every single area of the event, we will simply shut down – overwhelmed by anxiety, unable to do anything.
Instead, we should put our energy into the things that matter. If you are passionate or gifted in a specific area, you should focus on that area and encourage others to do the same. If there is a glaring flaw in your plan and it can easily be fixed, fix it.
There is a fine line between taking action and being a busybody. There are simply too many aspects to address all of them at once; we have to prioritize which ones are most important if we are to be productive at all.
3. Perfectionism decreases confidence.
It’s no secret that striving to be perfect can deal a blow to your confidence in the long run. And the reason is this: failure is bound to happen. Everyone is bound to make mistakes, no matter how much you prepare to prevent them. Although it may sound ridiculous, perfectionists essentially want to ensure that the failure rate is roughly 0%.
And so, when they do run into a setback, it can be devastating. They can begin to think that the failure was their own fault, a result of poor planning – when in reality, some failures just can’t be prevented.
If you want to plan a successful event, you have to be confident in what you’re doing. If not, the difference will be evident. Your staff, your guests, and all in attendance will be able to recognize a halfhearted attempt to throw something together. Even if you’re not 100% certain that your plan will be a success, own up to it.
Be unafraid to make mistakes, because what matters is that you tried your best. Be confident that God can use anything to accomplish His will, even if it’s not perfect.
4. Perfectionists aren’t flexible with new ideas.
New ideas are crucial to the success of your event – especially if it’s your first time planning it. Perfectionists often come in with their own ideas and preconceived notions about how the event should go. And when new suggestions come up, or their current plan is criticized, it usually does not go over very well. Flexibility, though, is one of the most important qualities you can have as an event planner.
It’s also likely that, from year to year, you’ll need to make changes to your event according to its success. If you received a lot of complaints about the food, strive to do better next time.
If you didn’t get a great turnout, you might want to try some new advertising strategies next time. Maybe pick up a retreat planning book to gain insights from others who’ve planned fantastic retreats. Perfectionism is often not based on evidence, but on ideals. The ability to change and deviate from tradition is what will define the life of your event for years to come.
Your event doesn’t have to be perfect. And it certainly doesn’t have to be comparable to any other event you’ve attended. Your event needs only to be significant in its own right – and that is decided by God, not us.
When we learn to let go of control and focus on the bigger picture rather than each minute detail, God will take care of the rest.
Special thanks to WOL Camps for making this Perfectionism Hinders Planning post possible.