The Tyranny of Perfectionism (And Why It's Jacking Your Business Results)Jan 28, 2020
Ever hold off on launching your website because you are just not crazy about the font size or accent colors that your graphic designer has selected for you?
Have you paused on hitting publish on a blog post because you just need one more person to reassure you it is good?
Have you ever avoided a networking event because you haven't gotten your business cards printed yet or had time to craft a killer "what I do" statement?
If so, my friend, you might be struggling with perfectionism - the killer of entrepreneurial dreams and potential.
What is Perfectionism?
It is NOT:
- High quality standards. If you're a high-achiever with a long track record of creating results - you deserve a world-class website that reflects the depth of what you bring to the table. That's personal power.
- Longing for living in an ideal world of truth, justice and moral order. That's a desire for peace that we all share.
- A condition that results from a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors aimed at achieving excessively high and unrealistic goals.
- It's a strategy that masks one's fear of failure or rejection using a core myth or story that says, "If I'm not perfect, I will fail and/or I will be rejected by others."
How Perfectionism Shows Up
There's lots of ways that perfectionism shows up:
- Difficulty in dealing with one's own flaws or imperfections: To a perfectionist, public enemy #1 is flaws. They hate flaws, especially in themselves. They can’t stand making a mistake and thus will avoid opportunities that might put them into a position to make mistakes.
- "All or Nothing" Thinking: This inability to deal with mistakes can lead to all-or-nothing thinking, which means “If my accomplishments are not perfect, I am worthless”. Perfectionists have difficulty seeing situations in perspective. For example, a straight “A" student who receives “B" might believe, “I am a total failure."
- Inaccurate understanding of the flaws and imperfections in others: Perfectionists are idealists and can visualize in their minds the way that something should be done. In fact, they guide their lives around the “should to’s” and “ought to’s” and put those types of expectations on other people. Thus, perfectionists can easily be let down and disappointed when others do not act according to their standards.
- Repressed anger turned inward: Since it is not ideal to express anger directly - they turn it inward. The result can be a bit of passive aggression and a whole lot of brutal self-talk.
How to Overcome Perfectionism
1. Embrace This Standard: Progress IS Perfection
The root word for perfect is actually from the Latin 'perfectus' - meaning completed.
When it comes to business, perfection isn't as important as progress. You'll never know exactly what your ideal clients want until you show up at the networking events (with or without your business card) or hit publish on your website and analyze your results.
So if you really want to be perfect - just do it and get it done. And then let the market inform you of what they like and don't like. Make the statement, "Success not perfection" a mantra that you repeat over and over again until you believe it.
2. Don't Compare Yourself to Anyone Else
There are people who have been in business longer than you have and are more successful. You may look at their websites, podcast or YouTube channels and following and feel shame that you're not where they are.
But you are missing out on all the years it took them to get to where they are. You weren't in their offices as they struggled to figure out how to grow their list and what it took for them to get to the point where they can hire experts to help them with all the facets of their business.
You will not achieve what you want with your business if you don't invest the hours, time and sweat equity into growing your marketing and business development skillsets and tools. You're building a consulting and coaching practice - not a perfect. So you gotta take the time and get the courage to grow some skills that you might have gone to school for or have a lot of experience in.
3. Make Growing Your Business an Adventure
Being in your head is the opposite of the peace you are looking for with your business. It may be challenging to dig deep to discover your purpose and your marketable expertise and learn how to language all of this on a website and in marketing copy. But it is also fun.
It's validating and exciting to get an idea out of your head and manifested in a way that attracts and serves the people you are on this earth to help. While writing blog posts or doing videos might be out of your comfort zone, it is also a way to express the ideas you have had for years.
You can look at all of this as a chore of something you have to get through in order to do the work you want - or you can find the joy in the creative endeavor. It's up to you to decide what you want and as importantly, how you go about creating it.
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