Perfectionism is one of the main killers of business growth. It’s like Kryptonite for your goals. The minute perfectionism shows up, your goals start to shrivel and die.
Here are 4 ways perfectionism kills your dreams.
1. Perfectionism turns your inspired idea into a giant project, leaving you overwhelmed. Say you want to write a newsletter. You’ve got a number of topics that you care deeply about and you want to share your ideas with other people. Great! Then you start thinking about how you don’t have a newsletter template. And worse, you don’t have a BRAND. Where’s your logo? What’s your business name? What about a tag line?!
In less than 5 minutes, you’ve gone from an inspired idea to a huge project. You feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks to be done. Worse, you have no idea which one needs to come first. So you keep obsessively thinking about this problem, to try to figure out the answer.
2. You can’t start your projects until you have the perfect amount (and quality) of time to start, plus the right supplies. Which means you never start. Let’s say you decide you want to create a newsletter template. To do that, you’ll want to research what templates are out there. That’s going to take some free time so you can really focus in on it. And you’ll have to figure out how to get it into your email system. That’s going to take some more focused time. Plus you might have to contact customer support, which means more time.
You look at your schedule and realize you don’t have a big open chunk this week. Or next week or anytime soon. So you decide to wait until the “perfect” time arrives. Magically.
3. Perfectionism prevents you from practicing your skills and getting better. It says that your action was not perfect and you are a failure.
You write your newsletter or you have a sales conversation. You evaluate how well it went and think “I did OK, but it wasn’t great. My newsletter kind of rambled. I wasn’t as clear as I wanted to be.” Or “My prospect said No. Looking back, there are so MANY things I should have said but I couldn’t think of them in the moment!”
Your next thought: “I don’t know what I’m doing. I shouldn’t do this again. I’m a loser.”
Perfectionism will tell you that trying and doing anything less-than-perfectly equals failing. When in fact, trying and being less than perfect is actually PRACTICING. And practicing is the only way you can improve!
Perfectionists undercut their confidence and their abilities by not giving themselves permission to practice. Because practice is messy; it’s imperfect; and therefore it feels like failure. Yet messy imperfect practice is the only way to improve and get to success!
Feeling like you’re a failure immediately creates shame. Not only will you feel terrible, shame will shrivel up anything it touches: your self-esteem, your passion for your work, your desire to move forward, etc.
4. Perfectionism defines the “right way” as something so big and exhausting that it’s not sustainable. So you quit, fast. I have done this many times with going to the gym. For years, the only way my workout could be right was if I did at least 20 min of aerobic activity, then did 3 sets of all the weights on my list, then stretched all body parts. Which took well over an hour, plus travel time to/from the gym. No wonder I dreaded going to the gym and often chose to drive home and relax instead! The option of going to the gym and just doing one activity for 20 min total – that option was always present but I never seriously considered it.
What’s so hard about being a perfectionist is that you’re hardest on yourself. You judge yourself as a failure for NOT doing everything exactly the right way. You give yourself an F a lot. So you stop doing things at which you don’t excel. Or you stop doing things because, like my definition of the “right” workout, those activities are so demanding of your time and energy.
As a recovering perfectionist, I now see this as a kind of self-abuse. You hurt yourself. I’m confident you already know it’s not in your best interest to spend 5 hours looking at newsletter templates; or to harshly criticize yourself for not excelling at sales conversations. And I know it’s hard to stop. You probably feel like you’re at the mercy of some inner force that’s compelling you to do things in a way that objectively you KNOW is not good for you.
Breaking free of perfectionism absolutely is possible. I’ve spent the last 11 years dismantling my own perfectionism! I sense it’s like recovering from an addiction, in that it’s one day at a time. I have to be conscious of my thoughts because it’s easy for me to slip back into making overwhelming demands on myself.
If you find that the way you’re setting up your goals and tasks is taking so much out of you, that you’re often delaying taking action on income-producing areas that you KNOW are important, and you want to have an easier more relaxed and more productive experience in 2018, then I invite you to join me and other like-minded women in my workshop value-packed F.REE 2-hr workshop Generate Income & Growth in 2018.
To grow your business, you don’t have to learn and implement complicated strategies, and you don’t have to struggle. You just need to take RIGHT ACTION.
In this virtual workshop, I’ll help you figure out what right action is for YOU, based on your past successes.
On this call, you’ll
- Analyze what is working WELL in your marketing and client attraction, and what’s working NOT so well.
- Recognize and celebrate your top 2017 accomplishments
- Identify your biggest lesson learned from 2017
- Consciously choose your desired experience for 2018
- Create ALIGNED 2018 goals from a place of inner confidence vs. intellect only
You’ll end up feeling much more proud of your 2017; you’ll have more clarity on what you TRULY want to experience in 2018; and you’ll have goals that feel authentic and aligned.