Are you a perfectionist? Check it out! – Article


A client story

I realized not too long ago that some of my clients weren’t really aware of their little perfectionist side. 

To tell you the whole story, I had a session with a client during which we talked about a personality test she had taken. She told me that she did indeed recognize herself in some of the negative aspects of the personality description. She listed these “negative” sides:

  • inflexible
  • reluctant to innovate or improvise
  • vulnerable to criticism
  • often too needy (fishing for compliments)
  • too selfless

She wondered what conclusion to draw from these personality traits because she saw no connection between any of them.

I suggested to her that perfectionism could be the link between each of these characteristics because controlling, needing recognition and putting others first are some aspects of perfectionism.

Indeed, it made sense as all these behaviors could be explained by an underlying perfectionism.

3 types of perfectionism!

What we often don’t know is that there are 3 types of perfectionism!

  • Self-oriented perfectionism: the person expects the best from themselves, always seeks more and better, never really satisfied with their achievements…
  • Other-oriented perfectionism: the person expects others to behave in a certain way and it bothers them when they don’t, becoming slightly intolerant and controlling
  • A socially prescribed perfectionism:  the person thinks that she needs to be perfect to be loved and accepted and therefore does a lot for others, in search of recognition

Interesting, right?

The related fears 

What is important to understand is that under every type of perfectionism hides a fear.

The self-oriented perfectionist is afraid of not being capable, competent, good enough,… So to avoid this fear, the person always does more to prove himself.

The other-oriented perfectionist is afraid of not having control, of what could happen,… So to manage this fear, she tries to control everything, her life, her schedule, the others… We never know what might happen!

The socially prescribed perfectionist is fearful of not being accepted. So she tries her best to be socially perfect and not disappoint others.

The consequences

All these fears can either push perfectionists to always do more, or lead them to procrastination or even paralysis.

And instead of taming their fears, these behaviors actually drain their energy, make them constantly anxious, and slowly sink their self-confidence.

So watch out for the signs!

Here are some additional clues to recognise perfectionism;

  • A black or white way of thinking: it’s all or nothing, it is excellent or it sucks, ..
  • An obsession with the result to be achieved with little pleasure in the process
  • The fear of being wrong
  • the need to anticipate, plan, control
  • The constant comparison with others
  • The difficulty of trying something new 
  • The need for recognition from others

This list is not exhaustive but can already give you an idea of the thoughts and behaviors of a perfectionist person.

Do you think you might have perfectionist sides?

Do they get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish professionally or personally?

If so, it’s time to deal with it!

You will find some solutions in the following videos: 

And if that’s not enough, don’t hesitate to contact me. As a former perfectionist, I’d be happy to help!

Exhaustion – Article


This is a cry from my heart.

Following two years of Covid pandemic, many people are experiencing emotional and/or physical breakdown.

They held on tight for a while in a very difficult context with a lot of fears and uncertainties, they held on and now that the pandemic is receding, they have the space to let go, to think about themselves, think about their lives…  and they start to collapse.

I see a lot of people around me who stop working, handing over medical certificates, unable to carry on because they're too exhausted.

Most of them are women.

Indeed, during this period, gender inequalities were glaring and women, much more than men, managed most of the household: home schooling, cleaning, taking care of children,... all while working at the same time.

I wonder when we will realise that gender equality is far from being achieved.

Yes, we have the right to vote, to study, to choose our career, to be free,...

Yes, but in reality, it is always up to women to take care of the household, shopping, children, family activities... And it's not just about doing it in addition to our work, but also thinking about it, organising it, coordinating it! The mental load is almost exclusively for us.

Should we talk about progress? I don’t know. I think that women are stuck for the moment.

And I think most husbands, fathers, men don't realise that.

And it's partly our fault (and at the same time it's not, because we were well educated and programmed by the system…)

We play superwomen.

We proud ourselves and we convince ourselves we can do it all.

We don't delegate because it takes time and anyway it will not be done as we want it to.

We manage everything.

We control.

And at some point, it's way too much.

Ladies, we are caregivers, it is in our nature but the problem is when we care too much about others (and what they might think of us) and too little about ourselves.

Gentlemen, open your eyes, observe your house, do the exercise of listing all the invisible and repetitive tasks that your wives, sisters, daughters do without you realising it, as if it were completely normal.

We cannot do everything.

And if we do, at some point, we will crumble.

“When I burned out…” – Article


The term "burnout" is sometimes misused, so I'm going to be careful when using it.

Nevertheless, I want to share with you my experience of burnout because it was an important period in my life that taught me a lot about myself and led me to my new career as a coach.

Here is the story of my burnout, as best as I can remember.

I hope it will be useful to you.

This article is also available in French.

It started like this: “I am feeling so cold! ”

Of course, there had been some signs that I wasn’t at my best; I was pretty tired, a bit emotional as well and I was having second thoughts about my work.

Nevertheless I kept going.

On my birthday, after a small celebration at work, I went back home and then I felt really cold.

My hands and my feet were super cold, it felt like there was no blood flowing there anymore. It was pretty strange.

So I took a warm bath, I put my pyjamas and a robe, I went to bed with the robe, under one blanket, two blankets,…

It didn’t help, I was so cold that my entire body was shaking.

It was not the first time my body was telling me to slow down. I was suffering from angina the summer before and I knew then that I had to take care of myself. 

But this time I felt something different, new, odd, definitely abnormal. I had to acknowledge what I was fighting against for weeks; something was wrong. 

 “I am not really ill…”

I called off sick for one week. The doctor said I was exhausted and I needed to rest.

Panic at the office since two persons working on the same project were already diagnosed with burnout.

I spent one week at home, going back to the basics; sleeping, eating, taking a walk, enjoying my little one (my son of 1,5 years at the time definitely helped me in this journey to take perspective on what really mattered !), and thinking about the nonsense of what was happening at work.

But during that week, I kept thinking; “I am not sure why I am at home, I am not ill, I am functioning normally”.

So I went back to work.

 “I want a coach!”

Luckily, I had the presence of mind to ask for some support. I was a bit vindictive. As the work had put me in this difficult situation, I wanted reparation and I requested to have a coach.

Of course it was absolutely necessary for me to get support as I was trying to keep it together but I was emotionally distressed (crying almost every day at work…) and my self-confidence had plunged. In a way, I had to reconstruct a part of me that was broken.

I thank myself today to have asked for a coach as it helped me beyond expectations… 

 Why did I burnout?

Looking back, I think there was a mix of contextual and personal elements that lead me to exhaustion;

  1. the superwoman syndrome
  2. a misalignment with my own values
  3. no distinction between myself, my role and the context

Let me clarify…

1. Superwoman syndrome

Just back from maternity leave, I wanted to prove myself that I could manage it all; having a baby and resuming my career where I left it. I had defined pretty clearly the rules of the game before jumping on this new project; I had to pick-up my son at the daycare everyday so my workday would be from 8am to 5pm and this was accepted. So, I thought it was going pretty well (even if I was running, running and running,…) and after 8 months back, I got promoted!

But being promoted meant more pressure; I had to be a role-model for the company and the project. And it is probably when it went sideways… I wanted to prove I had deserved the promotion (a slight imposter syndrome as well…) by being an example for the team and I started to execute what was asked from me even though I wasn’t completely in agreement with what was going on with the project…

2. Misalignment with my values

So, I knew or at least I felt something was wrong but I thought I just needed to try harder

During the coaching sessions, I realised I didn’t know myself and my values… 

So of course it was difficult for me to name and point out clearly what felt wrong to me.  Discovering my personality type and the values that were important to me helped me to understand why certain things were not acceptable to me on the project.

I realised that I had worked all this time against myself and there was no wonder it led me to self-doubt and exhaustion.

3. Me, my role and my context

I also realised during the sessions that I had made a big mixture of me (as a person), my role on the project and my work environment. 

I was constantly self-reflecting on myself and my abilities to be a project manager as those two were only one thing. And I never thought of taking some perspective on the environment I was in.

I had to learn to dissociate myself from my role and from the context I was in.

“I am leaving”

When it became clear to me that I couldn’t continue working on the project as it had became a toxic environment for myself, I took my courage and asked to leave.

Of course, it wasn’t easy, I was an important resource and I was promised things would change and I would have another role. Furthermore, I knew leaving the project was probably not a smart move career wise…

Despite this and because I couldn’t picture myself there anymore without feeling anxious, without seeing the future only in black colours, I completed my work and left quietly the project… 

Clearly, the team felt I was abandoning the ship but my decision was taken as it was a question of survival.

“I was right”

I jumped on another project where I could rebuild my confidence, take it more slowly, value myself and my expertise and be surrounded by a more positive environment.

A few months later, my previous project ended abruptly. The full team went back to the office, so disappointed of being let go after so much effort and so much energy. There was so much disappointment, anger and sadness.

I felt sorry for all of them and at the same time so relieved. After all, I had been right to follow my intuition and leave the project, It was not just my imagination, the project was a toxic place and it didn’t end well.

A strangely wrapped gift…

This was a difficult experience. A tiring one. A period with a lot of self-doubts. 

But I am truly grateful for it as it shaped me as a person and as a coach.

This experience of burnout led me to discover myself, to seek for self-development growth and to become a coach myself.

I would like to conclude with 3 pieces of advice;

1. If one day you feel something is wrong and you start doubting yourself more than usual, if you are becoming tired, emotional, having different behaviors than usual, it is probably that your mind and your body are trying to tell you something. Listen to yourself.

2. It is good to question oneself as a mean to improve but it is also important to reflect on the environment you are in; maybe you are not the issue, maybe it is the context. 

3. In doubt, seek opportunities to talk about your situation outside the system. It is only outside the system that you will be able to get perspective.

If you feel like you're burning out, don't stay alone, ask for help.