Ep. 3: Beating Perfectionism & Starting Before You're "Ready" · Blog

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Ep. 3: Beating Perfectionism & Starting Before You’re “Ready”

September 17, 2020

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Perfectionism

Hey girl, today’s topic has me on fire because I know that it’s something that we both struggle with. And that’s perfectionism. I remember being in high school and preparing for my first couple of job interviews. More specifically, I remember thinking about the potential questions that they might ask me and how I would hypothetically answer them. The inevitable question that I always came up with that would be asked was — what are your flaws?

And if you’ve been through a job interview, or if you even have been prepping for a job interview, you’ve probably come across this question in your preparation. And the first thing that I think comes to most people’s minds is this idea that, well, my biggest flaw is that I tend to be a perfectionist and I don’t like submitting things or finishing things. If they’re not perfect, like, can he raise your hand with me if you’ve also said that at some point in your life, I can tell you right now, I have said that in at least one of my job interviews earlier in my career, and for a long time, I kind of looked at perfectionism as this like surface level thing.

And like, what I mean by that is I never really took the time to figure out the deeper emotions and the feelings that I was covering up by being what I thought was a perfectionist. Because when you really stop to think about it, perfectionism, isn’t actually about striving for excellence or having really high standards for yourself. Both of those things are perfectly fine to do. It’s absolutely okay to want to excel at something and to have the desire to set, you know, a really high standard for how something gets done.

Perfectionism is really just a nice and fluffy way that we hide

It’s this acceptable way that community, or, that people in the community have found of stopping themselves from playing a bigger game. If you’re always striving for something that’s perfect, you’re basically striving for something that is more or less unreachable. And so it’s this way and this excuse that we can put on something as to why we haven’t finished it because it’s not perfect.

So in this episode, we’re going to talk through what perfectionism really is, where it comes from. And we’re going to get real with ourselves in learning to accept that life is just beautifully imperfect. And of course, we’re going to talk through some ways that we can start to beat perfectionism starting today, because girl, I want you to play big. I want you to move mountains — I want you to take on projects and new pieces of work and new opportunities that are going to move you forward in your life and in your career. And I hope you’re ready. Let’s dive in.

What exactly IS perfectionism?

So the first thing I want to talk about is really calling out perfectionism and identifying what it really is. An at its core. Perfectionism is really just a way of experiencing shame and fear. I was listening to a talk recently by dr. Sasha Heinz.

And if you haven’t heard about her, she’s absolutely incredible. She’s a positive psychologist and honestly, her presence and her voice is just so calming. And her nature is just so wonderful to listen to and to be around. So if you haven’t heard of her before, I highly recommend looking into her, her name is dr. Sasha Heinz. And in this talk that I heard of her, she explained how perfectionism at its core is really deeply rooted in shame.

And it’s this belief and this feeling that we need to come across. Like we have everything together. And I know that we hear about this, right? Like we talk about this, this, this perceived reality that we see on social media, on Facebook, on Instagram, we see everybody’s highlight reel and everything comes across. Everything that we consume feels like it’s this perfect product within someone’s life, but we all know the reality, right?

We all know the behind the scenes is messy.

Someone’s highlight reel is not the thing that’s actually happening in real life of super perfect and really relevant example of this in my own life recently was when I decided to create this podcast, the old me would have spent weeks or months just researching topics. Like not even figuring out ways that I could move forward. I would have gone down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how I could create all of my content ahead of time. I’d have thought that I needed to be an expert in all of the topics that I’d cover. But really, all of those thoughts stem from shame and fear.

So you need to go and educate yourself more. You need to research more topics. You need to be an expert. Like you’re not good enough for who you are right now in order to make this goal, you need to be better when in reality, what I chose to do and what I’m, I am quite frankly proud of for doing, because I don’t normally enable myself to do these types of things is I just gave myself permission to learn.

I gave myself permission to be a beginner

I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to have it all together. My first couple of episodes, you know, might feel clunky and my intro and my outro may not be perfect. And I may not choose the perfect song to lean into my podcasts. I mean, there’s so many things that I could have spent hours or days obsessing over, but instead I just let myself start.

And I think for so many of us that that’s something that we need to start being comfortable with doing, right? Like, even if we think about this logically for a second, even if I had spent weeks researching, even if I just spent weeks researching one topic, would that have really made me an expert in that topic. Like I still would have felt even after weeks of research that I had more to learn because the truth is we’re never going to like feel ready or never going to get to that place where we feel like we know all of the things and we can plan for all of the potential things that might go wrong.

There’s always going to be that voice in our head that tells us that we need to learn more.

We need to practice more. We need to put in more time and ever researching and planning and perfecting the right thing to do in the best way to move forward.

But in reality, the best way to move forward is just to take the first step. And there’s always going to be opportunities for growth, right? More importantly, you have to be able to accept that you are going to try and you’re going to fail and you’re going to grow. And every time you do something scary, that’s moving that needle forward. And that’s bringing you one step closer to your goal. You’re choosing to look at perfectionism straight in the face and say, I am overcoming you today.

Truth be told every time I hit record on an episode, I am always nervous.

I say, always, this is my third episode, right? I’m still sitting here in my chair, in my dining room and I’m all sweaty. You know, like it’s nerve wracking thinking when you’re doing something that you’re not an expert at, and that you’re not good at yet, but I’m still choosing to show up because I know that every time I hit record, every time I, you know, record an episode, I release an episode I’m growing and I’m learning.

And more importantly, even if there’s one person out there that takes away one thing and can grow and can learn from it, for me, that’s a win. So number one, recap, remember that perfectionism at its core, it’s not striving for excellence. It’s not this belief that we have high standards. What it really is, is this way of hiding and this way of expressing a sh like a shame and a fear that we have about ourselves.

Sometimes perfectionism feels like a necessary requirement in life.

So point number two, I think that we need to get really real with, because sometimes perfectionism feels like a necessary requirement in life. And what I mean by that is we paint a picture that by getting that degree or by taking that course, or by reading that book, we’re going to be more prepared to start doing that thing that we want to do. And of course, for some things in life, you may actually need to get a degree, right?

Like if you’re going to school, I mean, you know, to be, if you want to be a nurse, like, yes, you are going to need to go to nursing school and you’re going to need to get a nursing degree or to be a doctor or to be a lawyer or any, you know, career that actually does require certain schooling. But girl, if you want to start a business, if you want to learn photography to become a photographer, if you want to be a wedding coordinator, if you want to learn how to do floral arrangements, you do not need to keep learning and learning and learning.

Perfectionists LOVE to START new things.

And so maybe you can relate to this. I know that this rings very true for me. So those of us with very like perfectionism tendencies, we love to start new things. We love new projects. We love working on something new, but when push comes to shove, we have a really hard time finishing them and seeing them all the way through. And so maybe you can relate to this too, but I like to think of it as you know, that feeling when you’re starting a new class or a new project and you buy new cute notebooks, new pens and a wall calendar so we can track all of our goals and our progress. And we get so dang excited, we literally feel like we’re going to explode.

Like, can you relate to that at all? In all honesty, I love nothing more than shopping at target. I mean, raise your hand if you’re with me – the target notebook and planner and like office decor section is literally my downfall. I could spend all of my money on one aisle in that store. Right?

We get sooo excited in new possibilities.

And we get so excited about this possibility of this new planner and how it’s going to be dedicated to this dream – we plan on how to map out everything that we’re going to do. But then inevitably what happens, you know, there’s going to be a day where our notebooks become a little messy. You know, we started to scribble out some things that didn’t work, or we skip a few days in our planner or some of the goals that we wrote down on our wall calendar we’ve already missed.

And so we have to cross them off or, you know, if you’re super OCD like me, white them out with white outs. So it doesn’t like mess up the planner. But all of a sudden the shininess of that new project now feels messy and an organized, and we lose all of the motivation that came with it in order to see it through to the end, right? Like, like who can relate to that?

Perfectionists struggle when that new project turns messy.

I know that for me, you know, this planner and then all of a sudden I’ve written four pages worth in it. And then I don’t touch the planner again or the notebook, like whatever it might be. And then all of a sudden, I want to reuse that notebook for a new project, because let’s be real as much as I want to buy a new notebook, there’s no real need to buy a new notebook.

So I either have to like rip out those pages or just cross them off, pretend like they don’t exist and just start using the planner or the journal for something else. And there’s so many times in life where we set these expectations for ourselves on how something’s gonna look or how it’s gonna work. And then when it doesn’t happen, the way that we hoped it would we just kind of throw out all the plans.

So I think that what we really need to focus on doing, and what I have to remind myself to do is as excited as I get about a new project and a new planner, I equally need to spend time planning for the curve balls planning for the messiness. That’s naturally going to come with starting something new. Sometimes it really takes stepping out of your comfort zone in the beginning, when you have all of this energy and excitement and really being real and crystal clear with ourselves on how can I set myself up for success when inevitably something doesn’t go the way I planned, because let’s be real.

Embracing the MESSY.

Our house gets messy — our journals get messy — our brain gets messy, right? Like everything gets messy and we have to be able to learn to work through it. So just to recap, just taking some time to planning ahead for the times when things are, I’m gonna go a little off course and making peace with the fact that our notebook might have pages worked out and we, you know, set an expectation upfront with ourselves. That’s going to be more realistic.

There might be days where we don’t show up exactly how we had hoped that we would, but we choose to keep showing up because we know that it’s worth it. And we know that we’re committed seeing it all the way through. And so lastly, how can we truly beat perfectionism? Right? Like, let’s talk about four things we can start doing today to empower ourselves, to take more risks and to also just enable us and empower us to work towards our goals.

We’re never going to feel “ready”

So, first off, let’s just agree to accept that we are never going to feel ready for our next step. We’re never going to feel ready. And just by acknowledging that by, by letting ourselves, except that we just, we take off some of that pressure, that things have to be perfect. Again, even relating to these podcasts episodes, each episode, you know, I have to push past this, this idea that it’s going to be perfect because it’s so easy for me to get in my head and think that, you know, someone’s going to listen to this and maybe it’s not going to resonate with them, or maybe my points not going to come across the way that I want it to.

And it would be so easy for me to just be like, well, you know what? That seems risky. And I’m just not going to show up, but we’re all growing with each episode that I record with each step that you take towards your goal, you’re getting one step closer and you’re building that muscle of repetition.

the more authentically that you can show up, the more relatable you’re going to be to other people. So embrace that sometimes, you know, my, my words sometimes get jumbled and I say the wrong thing, or, you know, I sometimes can ramble on a little bit on a thought, because no matter how much effort or time or energy, and we invest in something, there’s always going to be ways to improve.

The benefit of growth is that you always have somewhere to go.

You have so much potential ahead of you and thank goodness life isn’t structured in a way where we hit a milestone, a milestone or a goal. And then all of a sudden we think to ourselves, well, I, you know, I guess I don’t have anywhere else to go from here. Like that would be so boring. Right? Like, so let’s just start accepting that perfectionism is an impossible goal. And just choose to just let it go.

Also, something that I want you to start doing today and start thinking about is accepting this idea that when you start something new, we’re likely gonna kind of suck at first. Right? And I like to use the analogy of running because I feel like it’s something that we can all relate to. So if you’re a beginner runner, you’re not going to assume that just because you bought really great running shoes and got new workout clothes, that all of a sudden, now that you have the things you need, you must already BE a great runner. Right?!

Like we don’t expect to sign up for a half marathon method within the first month of becoming a runner. We understand that it’s all about pace. We build up a maintainable pace every day, little by little and every day we might go a little bit further and we might hit a little bit smaller of a goal every single day.

It’s the small goals that you tackle everyday that add up to BIG things.

And eventually after many months, we might finally feel ready to take the leap and to sign up for the race. But we know that it takes time. And if we rush ourselves or we try to push ourselves too quickly, we risk getting injured. We have to push, push, pause on our progress until we can, our bodies can heal. And the same rules apply with any of our goals.

We can’t expect within the first week of doing something that we’re all of a sudden going to be amazing at it. So why do we put that pressure on ourselves? If something doesn’t feel right at first? And I don’t mean if it doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do, but if it doesn’t feel like you’re great at it at first, that’s okay. Like you’re in good company.

You’re never going to feel like you know what you’re doing.

Here I am on episode three, still feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m stumbling over my words, but you know what we’re showing up and we’re building that muscle and we are making an impact, making an impact on our lives and we’re making an impact on other’s lives.

So just remember to keep showing up and it’s okay to be a beginner. And just quickly along those same lines, I think that sometimes we will put this pressure on ourselves to be good at something. If it’s something that we were good at in the past, right?

So, I mean, going back to running, I used to run cross country in high school and I used to play soccer in high school. I did track in high school. Even though I ran a lot, I also ate a lot of pizza. Ironically, that hasn’t changed very much in life. But when I was in high school, I ran a lot. And then after I graduated high school, I went to college and you know, for the first couple of months, my running was not top of mind for me to do. And all of a sudden I went out one day and I just expected that I was going to be able to run like three miles.

Just because you did something well in the past doesn’t mean you’ll still be an expert now.

Like in my head, I was like, Oh, I used to run this all the time. This should be easy. I had to realize that I was starting from the beginning again, even though I had spent years of my life waking up at like 5:30 AM and going out for a run, all of a sudden, now I’m a beginner again. So, it’s important we remember that we all go through seasons of life where some muscles might be stronger than others.

And we might be focusing on something more than we have in the past. But, but giving ourselves grace to know that when you’re starting on something new or you’re starting on something, again, that feels new. It’s going to take up time again, to build up that muscle. And lastly, before starting anything, we have to have a strong why? Because the reality is that there are going to be days that don’t feel fun.

And there’s going to be days where we don’t want to show up. We don’t want to put in the work. We just don’t feel motivated. And it’s on those days when we’re going to want to hide and we’re gonna want to let perfectionism win. And we’re going to want to hold ourselves back from progress because we forgotten the deeper reason of why we need to show up because honestly, having an internal motivator for a goal, sometimes isn’t enough, right?

We have to find more than just motivation.

Like, just because all of a sudden, one day you decide that you want to work out every day and eat healthier. You know, after a week when your motivation is gone, you then need something deeper. That’s going to actually like get you up and working towards that goal because let’s be real, right? Like motivate motivation is fleeting. Sometimes in a moment, we’ll feel, you know, this excitement and this energy around it.

But I mean, how often has that energy lasted, like throughout the completion of an entire project? Like for me, I know that that’s never happened. So we have to really figure out that deep. Why of why are we showing up? Who are we showing up for? Who needs us to serve them well today? And it may not even be, you know, for some people, I think they, they get caught in this idea of like, you know, for this podcast, for example, it’s easy for someone to say, well, yeah, you have a desire to show up because you’re, you know, you’re speaking to people and if you’re not showing up, they’re not going to hear you.

But even if you’re, you know, in a relationship or you have kids or you, you know, are really close with your family, or, you know, you work on a really tight knit team at work, whatever it might be, there are still people in your life that need you to show up and to show up as the best version of yourself.

So what can you do that will help enable you to show up as the best version of yourself?

Even if it means pushing past that fear and showing up in perfectly. So just as a recap from today, some points to take away some points that I hope that will hit home for you is a remembering that when you start to feel that perfectionism, to identify it as what it really is, and that shame and fear, because I think when we can identify it and label it as that, we start to realize that that’s not a place of positivity.

That’s not something that we want to lean into. So taking time to identify that and choosing to move past it. Secondly, we have to get real with ourselves that as much as we might want to spend time and energy on planning for the excitement and the goal that we have going on — we have to EQUALLY spend time planning for the curve balls and the roadblocks and the things that are never inevitably going to happen.

Lastly, we have to ditch the idea that we’re going to feel “ready”. And that’s totally okay! Remember that even if we’re starting something that we’ve done before, we’re still going to need some time to rebuild that muscle. We just need to make sure that we have a really strong why to help us keep going on the days when it feels tough to show up.

And perfectionism can sometimes feel like it has a really strong hold on our lives.

And if we give into it even a little bit, it can sometimes get to feeling like it’s almost paralyzing, but there are ways that we can overcome it and you are completely capable of living past it. We just have to accept that showing up in perfectly is so much better than not showing up at all. You have got this girl and I am so happy that we were able to chat about this. And I hope that, you know, today that I am so dang proud of you. And as always, I am so incredibly grateful that I get to go along with you on this journey. I’ll talk to you soon.


Meet your coach!

I’m Krista, your own personal cheerleader & business bestie.

As your coach, I’m here to help you turn your wildest dreams into reality. Imagine waking up everyday feeling inspired, joyful, confident, and as if you were actively pursuing your life’s purpose — living a life where you not only feel excited about your business, but you feel optimistic about your life and your goals. A life where you are thriving, your clients love working with you, and you’re on track to hit your goals for the year…. let’s work together to help you ditch the overwhelm and create a thriving, profitable business!

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