Ever felt completely overwhelmed by the feeling of needing to make something ‘right’ so much so that it stopped you from completing a task, entering an event, or offering your services? You are not alone! Did you know that an estimated 30% of adults wrestle with perfectionism? Yep! Perfectionism can be debilitating; and if you let it take over, it can ruin many opportunities! Overcoming perfectionism isn’t easy but it is essential if you want to grow.
As with anything you cannot start to solve a problem that you don’t recognise as a problem. Acknowledging perfectionism and how it impacts your business is the first step. Start to take notice of where you feel the impacts. Are you prone to procrastination and distraction when you sit down to write quotes or do invoices? What are you struggling with consistently? Perfectionism often rears its head when you try to ‘show up’ in the spaces that don’t come naturally to you like when you are trying to write a social media post or record a video and suddenly feel overwhelmed.
There is no shame or judgment here, Overcoming perfectionism starts with simply acknowledging that perfectionism has been sabotaging your efforts and seeing where it has been showing up.
Seek professional help and see that professional as often as needed
When a car starts making a strange sound or feels ‘odd’ going around a corner you take the car to a mechanic. You are an incredible, unique, creative human being with goals and dreams. You are here for a reason! Your mental health is such an important part of your well-being. To make the impact that you are working towards you may need some support. There is no shame in seeking help and it is NOT a sign of weakness!
Your mental health is an ongoing journey. Typically, working through any mental health challenges including perfectionism won’t be a single session, and then it is all good! It is time to form the beliefs you have and it can take time to work through why and form new strategies.
Work through your thoughts and actions
Ready to make a plan to help with overcoming perfectionism? Grab out a journal (or video yourself) and work through your thoughts. Often perfectionism is related to a fear! Maybe a fear of failure. Or of rejection. Or disappointment. When you noticed that perfectionism was popping up for you what was the thought process associated with that?
If perfectionism held you back from writing a piece of content this week what was the catalyst? Were you worried that someone might be triggered or offended by the content? Maybe you just couldn’t get the image or graphic to look ‘right’ in your feed and the subliminal thoughts tangled with your feelings of worth. As you work through your thoughts start to notice what action you take in response to those thoughts.
Put down your phone, get off social media
One of the best things I have done is stop going on my phone and social media first thing in the morning (read more about that journey here). Simply put – social media isn’t real. It is a curated feed of the brightest days, best results, and highest achievements. but real life isn’t like this is it? It is messy and loud. Some days feel like a total write-off with nothing ‘productive’ to show for it. But our brains sometimes miss this memo! As we scroll through the feed your brain starts taking note of the images and words you see. Subconsciously you may start to wonder what you are doing wrong because life and business don’t look the same for you.
The BEST thing you can do is remove the comparison! Now I’m not saying don’t use social media. But I am saying breathe energy into your own projects and practices, find your own voice and show up in your own unique, authentic way! Unfollow any accounts that consistently leave you feeling belittled or inferior, and if perfectionism does rise up and you are tempted to procrastinate you have already removed one of the biggest distractions.
Enjoy more time outside
You might be wondering what going outside has to do with overcoming perfectionism. It is actually helpful in more than a few ways! Time spent in the outdoors is beneficial for your mental health. The positive shifts in your mindset help boost your confidence and limit how much perfectionism pops up. Spending time outdoors is also a great way to have fun and create memories. With this new sense of playfulness and joy in life, you will find things start shifting mentally, physically, and within your business. Somehow things just start to ‘click’.
Say no to things that don’t align with your priorities
Ever noticed how much you drag your feet when you are working on a household task you really don’t want to do? We do the same in life and business too when we are faced with projects that just don’t fit our values, passions and/or priorities. With this natural resistance comes more room for perfectionism to rear its head. Saying no may feel uncomfortable at first; especially if you are a people pleaser. But it is a really important skill to learn. Trust your gut. It is usually right when you have a gut feeling that you really ‘should’ say no.
The beautiful thing here is that when you say no to the commitments that are not a priority, you suddenly start living a more intentional life. Saying no to the clients that don’t fit your brand values and the projects that you just don’t want to take on actually creates more space for the opportunities that you will get excited about! This alignment and passion really help to remove perfection!
Get a mentor
Lastly; getting a coach or a mentor (like my amazing coach Jodie from The Seven Effect) can really help you get out of your head! How many times have you and your perfectionism talked yourself out of an idea before you even started! Find someone who can help you tackle your projects or your business objectively. A good coach or mentor can help you wade through the ideas and your objections to find the best way forward.
Perfectionism squashes many businesses. It can stop you from putting your offers out into the world and getting started on a project that may just change everything! And typically perfectionism doesn’t actually yield better results anyway! Overcoming perfectionism isn’t an overnight process. It has probably been a mindset that has been with you for a long time. Slowly you can find better ways of coping with it pops up and build the confidence to push those thoughts to the side.