Have you ever asked yourself the question; “Am I a perfectionist?”
Firstly, do any of these follow statements describe you? You;
Have an all or nothing mindset.
Have very high standards that if you’re honest, are unachievable
Often suffer from procrastination
Beat yourself up if you don’t meet a goal or expectations
Put others down or judge to make yourself feel better.
If you answered yes to any of these points, then you may be a perfectionist.
There is nothing wrong with having high standards for yourself, your life, work and business.
HOWEVER, if it begins to creep into your daily life, causing you to doubt, delay or divide yourself from others, then it needs to be addressed.
I am a recovering perfectionist. (It feels good saying it out loud.)
For years I would set unachievable expectations for myself and have my whole sense of worth tied up in accomplishing this goal.
If I did not meet these crazy expectations, I would spend weeks, sometimes months beating myself up for not reaching what I said I would achieve.
Looking back now, I realise I was setting myself up for failure; hindsight is a beautiful thing though, hey?
Over the years, I have learnt to let go of these unrealistic expectations and instead set intentions.
I still write down my goals and review them weekly, but I ensure they are challenging yet achievable.
For example, I set myself the task at the start of the year to write one blog a week. A great goal that I know I can accomplish if I schedule in the time each week to sit down and write.
I want to share with you three strategies I used to overcome perfectionism and start living a life full of freedom while letting go of fear.
1. Strive for progress, not perfection
This saying has become one of my daily mantras. Every time I sit down to write, post on social or record a podcast, I say to myself;
“Progress over perfection.”
We are our worst critics. I used to pick holes in all my work. I would say “that’s not good enough” and “I can do better”, and then doubt would kick in.
I would then procrastinate and delay the project that I desperately wanted to start as I would believe the negative thoughts that were spiralling on repeat in my mind.
When I look back, I realise just how much this held me back and delayed my dreams.
Nowadays if I hear those fearful thoughts, I smile, breath and say progress over perfection.
Next time you want to start something new, post about something you’re passionate about or do anything outside of your comfort zone, repeat this mantra to yourself, and don’t let perfectionism kill your dreams.
Thought of the day…
“We rarely regret what we did do, but often regret what we didn’t do”.
2. Set intentions, not expectations.
I love setting goals. I believe having goals keeps me motivated and striving towards my dreams daily.
They keep me focused and stop me from getting distracted.
When I was a perfectionist, the goals I would write down would be the equivalent of about ten peoples work!
These days I set 2 types of goals.
One is a future goal which is where I want to be in 5 years.
The other is a short-term goal, which I break down into this will look like on a daily/ weekly basis.
I sit down at the start of every 90 days and write down two short term goals that I want to achieve and why.
Then I review these weekly and ask myself if my schedule is moving me closer to achieving these goals.
I set intentions every morning on the energy I want to bring to each task and the people with who I meet.
I’ve come to realise that in the end, it is the journey that matters, and who you become in the process.
Setting goals this way and chunking then out into 90-day blocks, stops me from getting overwhelmed and builds momentum which boosts my self – belief.
In the process, my need for perfectionism becomes defeated as I do not let it stand in the way of who I want to become and the life I want to live.
Try this now. Ask yourself this;
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Who will you be, and how will people describe you?
- What action can you take in the next 90 days to move you closer to this goal?
- How will you stop self-doubt and perfectionism getting in the way?
One of the most profound activities I now do daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly is reflection.
Daily is simple. I ask myself three questions;
- What went well today?
- How did I grow today?
- How was my mindset today?
Weekly is a bit more in-depth;
- What is the one thing I can do next week that will move me closer towards my goals?
- What do I need to start doing/ stop doing?
- What new habit do I want to adopt?
- What has been my most significant achievement this week?
- How have I served this week?
Quarterly even more detailed;
- What goals have I completed in the past 90 days?
- How will I celebrate?
- What have I noticed about myself in the last 90 days?
- How has my mindset been?
- Am I showing up as my best self-daily?
- What value did I offer, and how did I serve others?
Yearly, (time to dig deep!!!);
- What have I achieved this year?
- How has my mindset been this year?
- Who have I helped or influenced this year?
- What new habits have I adopted?
- Am I proud of who I am becoming?
I hope this gives you an idea of how powerful reflection can be and how it can hold you accountable, without damaging your self-worth in the process.
If I look back on my life thus far, there have been two things that have held me back. Fear and perfectionism.
Ultimately, broken-down, perfectionisms derived from fear.
If I had listened to every negative thought that said “I wasn’t good enough” I would not be here today writing this blog.
I hope this article makes you rethink perfectionism. Do not let it hold you back from living the life you deserve.
Get clear on what you want and why.
Set realistic goals.
Set daily intentions.
Strive for progress, not perfection.
I hope this article has given you some great value and actionable steps to take your life to the next level.
If you enjoyed it, please share it with your network to help spread the message on overcoming perfectionism.
With love and gratitude,
Director of Innovation and Growth