On some level, every entrepreneur struggles with some form of perfectionism. This is because as an entrepreneur, we’re not working just another job. What we’re creating is something often representative of ourselves and something we love. This puts us in a more vulnerable position with whatever it is we’re selling, offering, or creating. When something is born from the heart, it’s more raw and more vulnerable to judgment, therefore, we desire what it is to be perfect. To overcome perfectionism, we have to challenge the fears we face as an entrepreneur. Most commonly, these are fears around failure, success, judgment, and criticism. When these fears manifest in the form of delay—delaying your business, delaying putting content or product out—we call it perfectionism. We want something to be as perfect as possible to remedy the fears as best we can.
Often, the reality of perfectionism in entrepreneurship is to validate our fear and hold us back from success. We utilize our desire for something to be perfect as a tactic to not publish or launch something. It’s natural to have these fears, but we can’t let them hold us back from doing what we love. So instead, we must face them and heal them. Nothing will ever be “perfect” to the standard we set because we have higher than normal expectations for ourselves. We pour hours of work, thought, and intention into the products and services we build as entrepreneurs. To not share them is a detriment to yourself and to those who would benefit from your service. When we don’t show up for ourselves, we’re also not showing up for all of the people who need to hear what we have to say.
Perfectionism Functions as Control Over Fear
Here’s the thing about being a perfectionist: striving for perfection allows us to maintain control over whatever it is we’re offering. And we use this control as a way to cover up the fear we face over actually sharing our creations. We can make a laundry list of things that need to get changed or re-done, do them, and still come up with ten more things before it’s published. The perfectionist mindset thrives off of the “one more thing” mindset. “Let’s fix this then it will be perfect. Let me do that, then we can publish it. Usually, the ‘this or that,’ was already perfectly fine to begin with. But the harsh judgments we push on ourselves lets us believe they still need improvement. This lets us, the creator, believe we are still in control of our fears.
Do we fear judgment or lack of control?
So is it actually the judgment we fear, or is it the lack of control we maintain on something after it’s been shared with the world? There is a mindset in entrepreneurship that believes in a finality after something has been shared with the world. Once the blogger hits publish or the baker puts out her cupcakes for the day, it’s like “that’s it,” as if the progress of entrepreneurship were one flat line. We forget that, as a blogger, I can go back and edit something, or write a second notation on a subject if I decide my opinion has changed. A baker can receive positive feedback and change her cupcake recipe after 6 months. Perfection adopts the mindset that whatever your work is a final draft that can never be improved upon.
Almost like it’s your one shot to make your stamp as an entrepreneur. But the reality is, we have infinite chances to make hundreds of stamps on the world as entrepreneurs. But to take advantage of those opportunities, we have to first put something out there. We cannot improve upon something that doesn’t exist. So what if your first draft of your business isn’t the best? As long as it’s out there and serving a purpose, the knowledge will always come on how to continue improving it.
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How to Overcome Perfectionism
In my own experience, specifically, as someone who is now a mindset and manifestation coach, I see how perfectionism is rooted in our fears. To overcome perfectionism, we must first accept that nothing will ever be perfect. We have to figure out where this desire for perfection allows us to maintain control over a certain fear. Do you want something to be perfect out of the fear of failure?—fear of success?—fear of judgment? What fear do you maintain control over by arguing to yourself, that this needs to be perfect? Once you can identify the fear, you can focus your work on healing that fear through Emotional Freedom Tapping, rather than striving for an idealized perfection that doesn’t exist.
Simple Tactics to Overcoming Perfectionism
There are a few simple approaches you can also take to remedy a bit of fear personified as perfectionism. Try taking a step back from your work and getting opinions on it from people you trust. Let someone else tell you how amazing your work actually is and improve upon the details that actually need it. You can also try giving yourself hard deadlines to meet. Instead of letting the idea of perfection put off the launch of your work, give yourself a hard deadline to meet. This way, your subconscious will recognize the more important improvements to make for the launch to be the best it can be, rather than “perfect.”
Finally, as you reach your launch date, if you find yourself frustrated over the final project, still desiring to make improvements, take a step back. First, look at all of the ways your product/launch adds value to the world. When you work on something for days on end, picking it apart piece by piece, you’re likely to see all the ways it can “still improve.” But, what we forget as creators is that we’re not the consumer. What I mean is we’re not getting the product/offer on the day of launch with fresh eyes. The consumer isn’t usually exposed to the hundreds of drafts that came before launch day. So what they’re getting (if it is right for them), is in fact, perfect.
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Head over to the Do the Damn Thing Podcast on Apple or Spotify and listen to the conversation on this week’s topic! The podcast is an open forum conversation where we dive even deeper into all that is intentional living.