What kind of perfectionist are you? Take this 7-question quiz to find out

Psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafler believes there is more than one type of perfectionist in the world – five, to be precise.

In a book published this month, The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power, Morgan Schafler describes the different types, including the “Parisian perfectionist” – those who seek to be easygoing and uncomplicated – and the “messy perfectionist” — those who are great at starting projects but not finishing them.

Morgan Schafler developed these terms after years of working with employees at Google, where she was formerly a local therapist, then with high-profile clients in her Wall Street private practice. Many of them strived for perfection in their personal and professional lives – but often saw this as a negative quality that they needed to reduce. After all, research has linked perfectionism to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

But Morgan Schafler believes that perfectionism can also be a good thing. Perfectionists see how the world around them can be better — and when exercised in a healthy way, the trait can be a powerful vehicle for change, she says. It is “a force that can be both constructive and destructive, depending on how you manage it.”

The key, she adds, is understanding your own brand of perfectionism. Her book includes a questionnaire to help readers identify their profile, understand their pros and cons – and learn to use this quality to their advantage.

Take the quiz below and scroll down to find out what your results mean.

Understanding your perfectionist type

intense perfectionist

Seeking success at all costs

Intense perfectionists are effortlessly direct and maintain a sharp and sometimes punishing focus when it comes to achieving their goals, says Morgan Schafler.

“People like Steve Jobs or Gordon Ramsay” come to mind, she adds. “They’re great at driving results, but sometimes they value it so much that they lose the sense of relationship building in the process.”

An intense perfectionist, for example, might have a goal of getting on a flight perfectly. They arrive at the airport early with boarding pass in hand. But at the first sign of trouble — a delayed flight, a seat change — the intense perfectionist may lash out at those around them, like a flight attendant or fellow traveler.

If you scored a high percentage for this type, Morgan Schafler says to question why you’re fighting for your goals. If you’re looking for generic success markers (bigger, better, faster, more), redirect your energies toward more specific goals that align with your own personal values. If you lose sight of why, you might get to the finish line and find that it doesn’t bring you joy or satisfaction.

classic perfectionist

Highly organized and buttoned

This is who usually comes to mind when we think of a perfectionist. They’re “highly organized, buttoned up, and will do what they say they’re going to do,” says Morgan Schafler.

“The advantages of the classic perfectionist are that they are highly reliable and add structure to any environment they enter. The cons are that they can sometimes be non-spontaneous and not as collaborative” with others, she adds.

Classic perfectionists might keep an immaculately set desk or a car that they are proud to show off to the people around them. However, if someone misplaces a pen or spills coffee on the passenger seat, these types of perfectionists quickly become stressed.

For this type, Morgan Schafler says to be careful not to confuse rigidity with inner strength. An overly structured life leaves little room for discovering new lessons, people, or joys.

Parisian perfectionist

People who please the most

Named after the effortless fashion sense of Parisian women, Parisian perfectionists seek to be seen as relaxed, uncomplicated and “perfectly liked” by others, says Morgan Schafler.

Parisian perfectionists are great at making people feel seen and comfortable — but sometimes at the expense of “their own sense of self,” she adds.

In a social group setting, for example, this type will likely be the life of the party. But when it comes time to make a group decision – say, choosing a restaurant to eat or a movie to watch – a Parisian perfectionist will be quick to give in to the opinions of others to avoid conflict, even if it means giving up a food they love. they were craving or a movie they desperately wanted to watch.

This type can have a healthier relationship with their perfectionism by clearly explaining their wants and needs, even if it means asserting themselves more in their relationships. For example, instead of saying “I’ve had a rough day” to your roommate and hoping he’ll pick up on the hint that he needs help, he should say, “I’m having a rough day because I’ve taken on most of the housework. I would really appreciate your help with some of these tasks.”

perfectionist procrastinator

Always waiting for the right time

Procrastinating perfectionists “wait for conditions to be perfect before they start” working on a project, says Morgan Schafler – which doesn’t happen often. As a result, they can become trapped in their hesitation – and if left unchecked, this can result in indecision and inaction.

Procrastinating perfectionists don’t suffer from a crisis of confidence. Rather, they are great at understanding their own potential, but struggle to share their gifts, lest they fall short of their own expectations.

This type of perfectionist might spend hours crafting the perfect business proposal to present to the boss at work – but never present it for fear of rejection.

Morgan Schafler says this type should focus on accepting that now it’s as good a time as any to start something, say dating or finding a new job. And when things start rolling, they must accept that the real-life process will be different from the idealized version they were imagining.

messy perfectionist

Quick to start, slow to finish

Confused perfectionists are “in love with beginnings,” says Morgan Schafler. They are naturally enthusiastic and overcome the anxiety of starting a new project with ease. But they can often struggle with following up when the tedium of continuing a project doesn’t match the “perfectly romanticized energy towards the beginning”.

This type is usually in the middle of many uncompleted projects: an unfinished children’s book, a kitchen renovation that’s been sitting in limbo for half a year. Confused perfectionists blatantly ignore limitations and don’t buy into the notion that while they can do anything, they can’t do everything.

Morgan Schafler says confused perfectionists are powerful as champions of possibility – but none of their big ideas can come to fruition without focus. They should practice channeling their enthusiasm into unique, purposeful projects with easily achievable goals.

The audio portion of this episode was produced by Clare Marie Schneider. The digital story was edited by Malaka Gharib. We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a voice message at 202-216-9823or send us an email to [email protected].

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What kind of perfectionist are you? Take this 7-question quiz to find out

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