The Problem of Perfection

Katty Kay

We wonder if Hillary Clinton has been secretly reading The Confidence Code! At an event at the Clinton Foundation on Thursday the now grandmother-to-be and possibly Presidential candidate-to-be, said women are getting held back because we are trying to be too perfect. She is right.

“Too many young women get stopped by the perfectionist gene. You think you have to be perfect instead of good enough,” Clinton said. “And believe me, there are so many young woman that artificially stop themselves from progressing because they’re not perfect. And I have rarely met a young man who doesn’t think he is already, if not perfect, darn close to it. So why do we impose these types of burdens on ourselves?”

Mrs Clinton is getting at one of the biggest drivers of the confidence gap between men and women. This is why, according to research at Hewlett Packard, women apply for promotions if they have 100% of the job’s requirements, whereas men are happy to go for that step up if they have only 60% of the skills required. They just assume they can learn the other 40% on the job.

Women are more prone to perfectionism than men and it kills our confidence. As professionals, as mothers, as students, even in our yoga class, we want to get everything perfectly right. But think about it for a moment, perfect is an impossible standard, you can never get there, and if you keep trying you will never be fully confident.

Thank you Mrs Clinton for pointing this out.

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