“I didn’t do it perfectly and they know it. They’re judging me but aren’t saying it out loud.”

“I could have responded in a much better way.”

“People who can’t parent well shouldn’t have kids.”

“He’s great when doing this but really comes up short when doing that.”

These thoughts frequently pop into my mind on a daily basis. They might seem all too familiar to you, or perhaps excessively judgemental. Out of the 34 talent themes in StrengthsFinder, one may tend to experience such thoughts more frequently than the rest.

The Major Challenge Faced by Maximizers

Judging Ourselves & OthersIf you have Maximizer as a dominant theme, a common line of thought you might have is: “I don’t just want to be mediocre. I want to excel in what I’m doing.” Besides finding yourself working excessively on a single task in your bid to bring it to excellence, you may experience numerous thoughts like, “That wasn’t good enough”.

As mentioned in my previous article, a perfectionistic thread commonly runs through the thought processes and behaviours of Maximizers, who wear lens with sharp filters discerning levels of quality – lens through which they judge themselves and other people.

For this reason, judging ourselves or others comes very naturally to Maximizers. Recurring thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that occur inherently with each talent theme may – in this instance – lead to unproductive outcomes.

With Maximizers, the natural tendency to evaluate people and things brings with it constant dissatisfaction and a seeming lack of acceptance towards the self and others – a Basement, in StrengthsFinder lingo. Not having the ‘I accept you no matter how you do’ mentality may create tension in personal and working relationships.

3 Ways to Reframe Judging Thoughts

Striving for excellence is a motivating force; however, when this tendency grips you in overly destructive criticism toward other people or yourself, it might be useful to:

  • Focus on observable behaviours (eg. I didn’t send that reminder email 3 days ago) instead of inferences about those behaviours (eg. I can’t do my job properly).
  • Clarify external expectations. Have you aligned your own expectations of your work standards with your supervisor and/or team? If less effort is sufficient for meeting the stakeholders’ expectations of the quality of work, you don’t have to burden yourself with your perfectionistic streak at work.
  • Re-evaluate how you define your worth as a person. Being excellent in terms of character, work, and school don’t define your value as an individual. Mistakes serve as learning points for future action, and you’re likely beating yourself up over something that others are no longer thinking about

Mitigate Self-Judgment

How can you tap on your other top talent themes to mitigate judgements against yourself and others?

About Clare Sim

Clare is a strengths advocate and writer in positive psychology who strongly believes in maximizing the human potential. Her passion is in empowering and inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves both in and out of work. In her spare time, Clare enjoys baking, reading about relationship and leadership development, and tranquil moments with nature. Top 5 StrengthsFinder 2.0 Themes: Connectedness, Responsibility, Input, Harmony, Maximizer.