Perfectionism. A word that for some might mean high standards and for others, an unending cycle of self-imposed pressure. Personally I’ve been there more times than I can count, grappling with the desire to have everything perfectly lined up before taking that leap: starting a business (or two), becoming a father, starting a new hobby, or that big project around the house I’ve been putting off. But time and experience have shown me one undeniable truth: perfectionism CAN BE a roadblock.
The Paralysis of Perfectionism
How many times have you delayed starting something because conditions weren't "perfect"? Maybe you're waiting for the right mood, the right time, or the right set of circumstances. While ensuring quality is essential and you should absolutely hold yourself to a high standard, constantly seeking the ideal scenario can paralyze us, causing delays, indecision, and missed opportunities. My favorite term for this is “Paralysis by Analysis.” Don’t worry about how it is starting out. The only thing that matters is that you start.
Vulnerability alert: Like just about everyone, I am acutely aware of my shortcomings. They often cloud my confidence, my belief in what I do, and fuel the “imposter syndrome” everyone talks about these days. However, in my quest to push the needle, I’ve learned 5 action steps to help push the gas a bit.
Actionable Steps to Break Free From Perfectionism:
- Reflect without Judgment:Every one of us has shortcomings. Rather than dwell on them, take a moment to reflect. Recognize these imperfections without resorting to self-criticism. Turn them into a learning experience. Ask yourself, "How can I grow from this?"
- Visualize Your Best Self: Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine a version of yourself that embodies all the traits and behaviors you aspire to have. This visualization isn’t about creating unrealistic standards but about setting a clear vision of who you aim to be.
- Identify Daily Steps: Big goals can often feel overwhelming. So, break them down. What are the small, daily actions you can take today, tomorrow, and the day after? These manageable steps, done consistently, compound over time leading to massive change.
- Follow Your Road Map: Life isn't without its challenges. You'll face setbacks, distractions, and days when the last thing you want to do is stay on course. This is where your daily steps become crucial. They are your roadmap. Persist through the tough times, keeping that visualization of your best self as your North Star.
- Celebrate the Wins:Did you stick to your daily steps for a week? That's a win. Did you rebound quickly from a setback? Another win. Every step forward, no matter how minor it might seem, deserves recognition. These celebrations keep you motivated, pushing you closer to your envisioned self.
If I've learned anything from my struggles with perfectionism, it's this: progress is always better than stagnation. Taking action, even imperfectly, trumps waiting endlessly for that elusive "perfect" moment.
So, start today. Embrace the imperfections, learn from them, and remember – every step you take brings you closer to the best version of yourself. The journey to perfection is perfection itself.
If you want help making that first step, and getting started towards anything, we’re always available for a meeting. Book a meeting with a Coach today to take action.