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Perfectionist anxiety feeds our fears and stops us from getting started and following through on the things we really want to do in our lives. If that’s something you struggle with, then keep reading to understand what’s holding you back and how you can get around it.
Last week I was having a conversation with a new client. She was talking about a new business that she wants to launch, but she was struggling to get started.
She’s just finished a certification, launched a shiny new website, and she was all set to go, but she was terrified to move forward. As a result, she wasn’t doing anything.
When we dug beneath the surface a little bit, what we learned is that she has a huge fear of not being good enough. And I think that’s something that’s very common amongst all of us who are big dreamers that want to do great things, but we just can’t take the first step.
Perfectionism and the Anxiety of Fear of Not Being Good Enough
The term for this fear or anxiety is perfectionism, but often we dismiss it because we think – I’m not a perfectionist because nothing I do is perfect. And that’s part of the problem!
Perfectionism isn’t about being perfect, it’s a fear of not being good enough. Simply put, you’ve got an idea in your head of how you want things to be, but you know that you don’t yet have the skill and ability to execute the way you want it to be and because you know it’s not going to be perfect, you don’t do it at all.
Your fear of failure, of not being good enough, of being laughed at, or just an overwhelming fear of sucking is preventing you from even starting.
BTW, it’s totally natural to fear all of that, and you want to know what? You are going to suck, and there’s no getting around it, so you might as well just start now, so that you can get through the suck-phase faster and move on with your goals.
As an example, I’ve been posting videos for three months consistently every Friday, and I know the large majority of them suck. It’s totally fine! Because I know, with every video I put out, I’m getting a little bit better.
This fear of sucking is where my client was getting hung up. Her anxiety about everything being perfect was keeping her stuck. So I shared with her, a story about how I figured this out and actually got past it.
My Personal Story of Perfectionistic Anxiety
I’ve had several businesses in my past, and I wouldn’t say any of them were huge successes.
One had moderate success until I sold it. The other one I still have and the last one was a flop.
I would say with each of them, my biggest struggle was that I had that feeling of perfectionism. With every step I took, I was terrified that my expectations would never match reality.
That anxiety robbed me of the joy of entrepreneurship and going after my dream. The ongoing fear drained my energy, and as a result, I would get stuck in perfectionistic anxiety and sabotage myself.
How to get past Perfectionist Anxiety
If I could go back in time, I would have hired a coach to support me through all the head trash associated with my perfectionistic anxiety. I would have asked for support to push through the hard part and stay focused on what mattered – growing my business and building my dream.
Knowing what I know now, I started my current business with a MUCH different attitude.
- I got the support I needed to help me stay accountable to my goals and not get swallowed up by my fears of not being good enough.
- I created a safe space to practice my craft and build confidence. So before I started charging clients full rate, I did 100 hours of coaching at the rate of $1. That eliminated any fears I had of not being “worth” the money I was charging.
- I also got very clear on what mattered most in my business. We can’t expect to have everything perfect in our business (or any endeavor) right out the gate. We have to be okay with starting where we are and building as we go. That can only happen when you know what matters most in your business.
So with that, let me leave you with a little sage advice from someone who has lived with this fear many times…
The key to success is to accept that there will be many failures and flops along your journey, and when perfectionism starts causing you anxiety, make sure you have the support you need to help you through it.
Good luck, and keep on sucking.