Perfectionism: ‘You could be winning an Oscar and still feel that you are imperfect’

The Women’s Podcast on why aiming for perfection could be holding you back

Listen | 53:20

Being a perfectionist may sound like a positive personality trait, but don’t let the name fool you.

A perfectionist’s life is far from perfect. If you are one, or you know one well, you’ll likely know of the debilitating effects that can come with a perfectionist’s constant quest for excellence.

According to clinical hypnotherapist Fiona Brennan, perfectionism ultimately stems from a “feeling of not being good enough”. “You could be winning an Oscar and you will still feel that you are imperfect,” she explains on the latest episode of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast.

So why does it manifest and who is more likely to struggle with it? To explore this world of impossibly high standards, Brennan talks to podcast presenter Kathy Sheridan about what causes perfectionism, why more women than men are likely to suffer from it and the ways to overcome it.


We also hear from author Edel Coffey, who despite publishing two best-selling books and enjoying a successful career as a writer and broadcaster, has battled with perfectionism throughout her life.

You can listen back to this episode in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan is an audio producer at The Irish Times