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What is perfectionism costing you?

I often hear people tell me that they struggle with perfectionism. Whether I’m working with clients or chatting to colleagues and friends, it’s a term that comes up a lot. An awful lot. Think about it. Go back to those conversations you’ve had with your business besties, how often have you heard them say: ‘Ah but I’m a perfectionist’ or ‘Oh but I couldn’t possibly put that new /product/service/course out just yet, it’s not quite perfect.’ Ring any bells? Have you ever found yourself wondering how to deal with perfectionism and stop it holding you back?

Perfectionism is an odd one. It’s often engrained in us to wear it as a badge of honour, it’s seen by many of us as a positive personality trait to have. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to strive for excellence in our business and personal lives but that’s not what perfectionism is. 
Truth bomb: perfectionism is something that can actually stop us from achieving our goals AND it’s often used as an excuse for procrastination. Have you ever heard yourself say: ‘That’s why I can’t do … xyz … it’s because I’m a perfectionist.’ Perfectionism really can be the perfect excuse to hide behind when we’re afraid to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and do something that’s new and challenging.
If you’re looking for strategies to help you overcome perfectionism, you’re in the right place!

What are you really procrastinating about?

Procrastination is often rooted in fear. We’ve been conditioned to think anything that isn’t perfect isn’t good enough. But good enough for who? Who says so? Who sets this standard of what is or isn’t good enough? Us? Others? Perfectionism is closely linked to imposter syndrome, which is something that often rears its head for business owners during their careers. If you want to find out more about imposter syndrome, have a read of my previous blog post on the subject ‘Can I overcome imposter syndrome?’

Part of the problem is that we think we are seeing perfection all around us. Look at social media for example, you only need to scroll through your feed for a few seconds to see that we’re constantly bombarded with ‘perfect’ images of branding shoots, family life and people smashing their business goals.
Reality check: social media isn’t real life and people are only showing you what they want you to see. You see an image of someone running the ‘perfect’ business, all smiles as they tell you about their latest launch. What you don’t see is the possible panic before they jumped on that live or the self-doubt and anxiety they experienced beforehand.

What is perfectionism costing your business?

Just think about it for a moment … what are you not even doing in your business because you’re stuck waiting to be perfect? What is that costing you? Stopping you from achieving? It can be quite a sobering realisation when you pause to reflect. Perhaps there’s a new product or service you haven’t yet launched or a course/workshop you’ve stopped yourself from delivering because it isn’t ‘quite’ there yet?

Constantly striving for perfection can also stop us from being authentic in our business. You’re not being true to yourself if you’re constantly trying to convey some version of you or your business that you think is perfect. Business is all about being authentic and, if you’re not showing everyone the real you, you’re probably not connecting with your audience as well as you could.

Being perfectly imperfect

Done is good enough.
Believe me when I say that as it really is true. In order to be able to kick perfectionism to the kerb for good you need to embrace change. Let me get you started. I want you to try an experiment for me. Allow something to go out in your business that you don’t think is perfect yet and see what happens. It could be a new blog post/course/workshop/product/ email newsletter, absolutely anything you like. When nothing negative happens (and I guarantee you that it won’t) you’ll gradually start to realise that, actually, everything is fine. The world didn’t implode, your inbox didn’t fill with messages saying you’ve got it wrong/not done enough, there were no negative consequences for you or your business at all. You need to be able to experience that feeling of imperfection for yourself, learn to sit with it and be okay with it.

Realise the myth of perfection is hurting you and probably others too

We are surrounded by the myth of perfection. From the films we watch, to the songs we listen to, and then our good friend social media. We are constantly taking in what the world is planting as seeds, but are equally dreams of perfection.
Of course we all want the movie story life! Of course we all want to look and feel wonderful, achieve all our goals, be perfect like the messages we are absorbing.

But there is this thing called real life! And real life doesn’t have to be a terrible compromise but it does have to be real!

When our expectations are perfection … that can be so much for those around us to live up to. Such pressure not just on ourselves to be perfect but on those in our lives too can be damaging.

I’ve known people and we’ve certainly all seen, heard, read about people who have made huge decisions about others, about their lives all based on the desire to achieve perfection.

Relationships ended because the partner didn’t match the ‘idea’ of perfect , jobs left because they didn’t tick every box, projects turned down…
All because expectations of not just themselves but of others are out of this world, most probably unattainable

I’m all for stretching, aspiring for more, dreaming of better and doing something about it. But when our expectations of the world around us are perfection, who really stands a chance?

Tell yourself a different story

Remember, change won’t happen overnight but with practice and repetition you can provide yourself with factual evidence that perfectionism just isn’t necessary. Once you start to realise that nothing negative happens when you don’t get wrapped up in the idea of trying to be perfect, you’ll find change starts to occur.
Perfectionism is a waste of your time and energy. We all learn from our mistakes and getting things wrong, just think of all those valuable life lessons you’d be missing out on if everything you did was perfect! Don’t find yourself hiding behind perfectionism and using it as an excuse for not moving forwards and, remember, being perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway.

If you need some help moving forwards and breaking away from perfectionism for good, I’m here to help.
Working with a coach helps you to identify and tackle the sticking points that are holding you back and stopping you from smashing your goals.

If you’d like to have a free, no obligation chat to see how I can help, just drop me an email or hit the Book A Discovery Call button below and we’ll book something in the diary.

I’d love to hear from you!

For now, just remember done really is good enough x

Shelley Iife coach offering discovery calls

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