How Stimulus Saved a Perfectionist

How Stimulus Saved a Perfectionist

  • It’s important to let go of perfectionism if you want to innovate
  • Rapidly working with different forms of stimulus can push you out of your comfort zone
  • If you have trust in a system, you can have confidence you’ll get to the ideal outcome

Admitting to a control problem isn’t easy. Humbly saying “I don’t know the answer to this problem” is a significant moment in the growth journey of a perfectionist. I would know, this is my journey.

The Challenges of Perfectionism

Being identified as a perfectionist could mean you have a handle on the details or deliver a quality product every time,  but being a perfectionist is not always a positive thing. It’s more like an internal wrestling match with no evident winner. Often the obsession with details that comes with this analytical style presents challenges for an individual to move forward. One can spend too much time obsessing over the details of a problem and never arrive at a point of satisfaction. When action is taken and failure is the result, their inward unmet standard haunts them with thoughts of insufficiency and unhealthy comparisons.

Another challenge with perfectionism is the tendency to come across as critical and skeptical. In their pursuit of definitive answers, these folks tend to question everything. They are often very verbal and express whatever comes to mind, often without considering how it impacts others. What feels like investigative prudence to a perfectionist looks like untrusting skepticism to others.

Finally, being a perfectionist can slow your ability to innovate. You get stuck studying challenges or opportunities for far longer than you should, slowing you down and neutralizing your ability to make real progress. Don’t despair, there is a process to help!

Using Stimulus to Move Past Perfectionism

When we work with innovation clients, stimulus mining is a process we use to help individuals generate ideas. It’s the input side of the brain in the idea equation. If we just sit down and start trying to squeeze out ideas, we just end up regurgitating previous ideas and dump out what is already in our minds. But if we add in stimulus first, we fill the mind and allow it to work through information, often sparking a new, original or unexpected concept.

In the process of “stimulus mining,” familiar, unfamiliar and unrelated topics are introduced and researched in short bursts. These bursts help to broaden our perspectives, opening our minds and creating sparks that would otherwise never occur. While this process is extremely helpful and effective, it can seem like a nightmare to the perfectionist who may depend highly on traditional, linear learning structures to acquire information. 

My experience working with stimulus has been powerful; the process of stimulus mining challenged me to let go and work without having a predetermined outcome in mind. I’ve learned that I don’t need to have the right answer; I just need to trust the process. It is actually quite liberating to know that the answer comes from outside of you and that you just play a part in seeking and interpreting it.

Wrapping Up

Want to move past your perfectionism when it comes to innovation? Engage with a proven system you can trust to guide you to an outcome that’s better than anything you could have generated on your own. You’ll feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when you look back at how far you’ve come. 

-Ryan Ramsdale

Want to learn more about our proven process for innovation and how to implement it within your organization? Download our free guide “Innovate with Confidence” to get all the details.


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