Does it take you forever to see an idea through to its realization? Are you always in a crippling state of analysis paralysis?
Perfectionism gets the best of every ambitious business owner. With its “all or nothing thinking,” it leaves no wiggle room for error or inevitable life circumstances. Entrepreneurs with an “all or nothing mindset” always want their ducks in a row before making a move. This causes a crippling fear that their new idea will never amount to the high standard they uphold in their head. Perfectionists are always overwhelmed by the gap between their present abilities and their immaculate taste levels. But we have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the fashion powerhouses that you aspire to be like! You can’t let the fear of not measuring up stop you in your tracks any longer! Resisting perfectionism starts with continuous, imperfect ACTION. You’ll never reach mastery level until you’ve patiently put in the years to get there. So be kind to yourself!
Resisting Perfectionism starts with changing your thinking.
At its core, perfectionism is a fear of failure. When left unchecked, perfectionism births a sneaky form of procrastination and stagnancy. The goal is to build momentum through imperfect action; our next 4 steps will help you get there!
Step 1: Learn to Separate Your Identity from Your Work
As a young professional in the fashion industry, I used to merge my job performance with my identity so seamlessly. It was a toxic habit that left me in a perpetual state of work anxiety. Being a perfectionist is a restless questioning of your “enough-ness.” Give yourself a break. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to think of your business as your baby – but they aren’t! Know that you are fundamentally enough whether your business is having a good day or a bad day. Resisting perfectionism takes accepting your strengths as well as your flaws and shortcomings. Allowing yourself to ruminate and replay “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” in your head gets you NOWHERE. It only drains you of the mental energy you need for creative, innovative thinking.
Remember failure is needed for success. If you’ve made a mistake recently and believe you’ve failed than that means you’re taking ACTION! Every Elon Musk and Bill Gates in the world knows you can’t take effective action without failing sometimes!
Step 2: Challenge critical, “all or nothing” thinking!
There’s enough haters and critics out there so why do you think it’s okay to ridicule yourself? You’re either your biggest supporter or your worst enemy. Your thoughts determine your actions, so let your thoughts work for you not against you!
Take a moment and think about where your critical thoughts are stemming from. Why are you so critical of yourself? What’s the logic behind these high standards you’ve set for yourself? Are the companies you compare yourself with at your same level or have they put in 20-30+ years to get where they are now? Stop comparing yourself with others in their “peak season” and start to study how they started. This will keep you motivated instead of intimidated. Remember perfection doesn’t exist. Mastery is what you’re striving for and that can only be reached by being patient with your journey. Beating yourself up because that will only slow you down!
Next, write down what your critical thoughts are. Once you can see them on paper, you’ll understand how toxic, and limiting they are. Finally, write a “counter-thought” underneath each one and REPLACE that mindset.
- Toxic Thought Ex. I’m bad at graphic design and digital marketing. My website will draw as much web traffic as ___.
- Courter-Thought Ex. I can hire a consultant to help me build up this skill. Building a profitable online store isn’t as hard as it seems. If they can do it, I can do it!
Step 3: Stop Planning and Just Do It. Seriously, You’re Sucking the Fun Out of Everything!
Are you a professional class-taker and seminar go-er? Do you have to map out a thorough outline before taking any action on a new business idea?
Sounds like you’re an over-planner. Nothing is wrong with having to draft out an entire scope of a project before beginning. As a big-picture thinker, outlines and blueprints are really important to my creative process- so I get it. But It’s impossible to know all of the proper steps to take before you start. It’s also irrational to believe that you can bullet-proof your plan against every happen-stance. Every successful entrepreneur I know puts out their ideas fast as possible. After the first trial, they can assess what worked and what didn’t and improve incrementally from there. If they spent weeks and months over planning and perfecting, than they would never get anything done. And if you never complete an idea you can never get feedback needed to improve it and see it progress towards excellence!
Moving from step A to B is all that matters. Only after arriving at step B can you find C. Aim to spend 5% of your time planning and 95% of your time DOING. And you can’t build momentum if your head is always in the details. Hire other people for that.
Step 4: Work smart not hard. Do the minimum amount necessary to get a task done.
“Perfection is achieved not when there’s nothing more to add but when there’s nothing more to eliminate.”Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Do you work the most efficiently when you’re pressed for time? That’s probably because those are the only times you must intentionally STOP yourself from overthinking! But imagine if all of your work got done this efficiently. Resisting perfectionism requires you to embrace simplicity.
As a beginner fashion student, I’d always find myself designing garments with a super complicated construction. On a subconscious level, I thought if my work wasn’t complex enough then its wasn’t cutting edge enough. I thought of simplicity as the bare minimum and this mindset put unneeded pressure on my creative process. As ambitious, successful people, society trains us to believe that if we are not “grinding” and overcome with effort than we are slackers. But that isn’t the case. Perfection makes our projects arduous and overwhelming when they don’t have to be.
Resisting perfectionism requires us to acknowledge that our work habits are a CHOICE.
If you find yourself procrastinating in your business ideas- think, what can I do to simplify this project? What would this look like if it were easy and I only had a week to do it? Asking yourself this question forces you to prioritize effectiveness over perfection!
When you choose to chase perfection, you are ironically choosing to keep your dreams small and restricted. Perfectionism limits your success to what your mind can fathom. Only after acknowledging this, can you loosen the grip of control and welcome limitless growth in your life.
What if your wildest success story lies outside your mind’s limitations?
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