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June 23, 2021

Episode 12: Understanding Perfectionism and how it affects your business

by Kristy Pask

About this episode.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what Perfectionism truly is and isn't. Being a perfectionist doesn't mean you're perfect, generally it means you feel shame because you are not perfect. 

Perfectionism doesn't necessarily mean you're highly detail oriented, that you're constantly striving for excellence and you're willing to give it a shot. 

Perfectionism likely means you have unrealistically high standards, you're likely self critical and you probably don't think the work you're doing it good enough. 

In this episode I not only want to uncover what perfectionism can look like but also leave you with some strategies, tools and ideas on how you can overcome it so you can go on to build a thriving business, one where you show up daily, take consistent action and finally get out of your own way. 

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Hello and welcome back to another episode of The Business of Perfectionism.

My name is Kristy and I am a mindset and marketing coach helping creative entrepreneurs build businesses that feel good for them so they can create impact and income doing what they love.

I wanted to speak about what perfectionism is and what it isn’t so that you have a better understanding.

Not only for yourself, but if you’re working with someone who is dealing with a perfectionist mindset that you’re able to recognise it and this will really help you in also understanding whats going on for them when you are working with them.

So to start, lets dive into what perfectionism is…

And let me just start by saying perfectionists are not perfect people, perfectionists are people who feel an immense amount of shame because they are not perfect. 

Not only are they not perfect, they also do not think they are.

Most of the time they actually think they aren’t good enough and for some people it can be all consuming. 

Some people tend to think perfectionism means having a really high attention to detail, doing things really well, achieving perfect grades, staying late night after night working or studying and constantly striving to achieve really big goals, being promoted, a thriving business and always producing content to a REALLY high standard.

And thats kind of what prompted todays episode, it was a bit of a lack of understanding of what perfectionism actually is. 

So all those things, high attention to detail, doing thing really well, achieving amazing goals, taking big bold actions...

Most of these traits could be identified more with someone who is more so a high achiever, someone who sets goals and works towards them, who wants to learn, focuses on their future and their goals and knows what they want and is actively working towards it. 

Where a perfectionist might not actually work towards their goals, they give up on them before they’ve even really had a chance to start building momentum because they’re afraid of what it will mean about them (or what they will make it mean about them)  if they strive for a goal and don’t reach it. 

They might procrastinate when they should be working or studying or when they should be creating something. So if you’re running your own business you could spend a lot of time procrastinating when you should be content creating… Doing more research, laying out the artwork differently, playing with your branding and colours, editing and editing, spending far too much time on a task that really shouldn’t be given that much air time to complete at all. 

And to be clear, procrastinating doesn’t mean you won’t be doing anything, perfectionists love to feel busy and productive so you’ll likely be busy procrastinating, researching, tinkering with things that don’t need to be touched at all today, scrolling instagram and telling yourself this is your engagement time, planning, planning what the next step is - or it could be something completely unrelated to you work or your business - maybe you’re planning a weekend with some friends or you’re booking a holiday or you’re researching something you need for home.

Perfectionists tend to fill their plates so they’ve got so much to do and then they have this busi-ness as a way of avoiding the things that really need to be done...

If you’re a perfectionist you might not actually be constantly striving for perfect, you might have never uttered the words ‘this needs to be perfect’ or ‘I can’t release this until it’s perfect’..

Perhaps for you it’s just the constant feeling of everything that your saying or creating just isn’t good enough, it doesn’t reach your expectations of high standards and you cannot possibly release it because what will people think of you when they see this. 

You think you’ll be judged and it’s likely you’ll feel some level of shame even before you’ve hit publish or you’ve got on the stage or you’ve made the presentation because you’ve just dug yourself this great big hole and now you’re deep in it wondering why 

Perfectionism is not only self-destructive, it can also be debilitating for some. 

If this is you there is nothing wrong with you, it just means your mindset isn’t set up to help you achieve success, some things will feel really hard, impossible even until you’ve begun to overcome perfectionism. 

And this is really one of the reasons I wanted to address this with you today. 

I was listening to a Podcast the other day and they were talking about how they let go of perfectionism so they could grow their business and they made it sound so EASY.

And for some people it’s just not that easy, 

Some of us don’t wake up and go ‘you know what, my goals are more important than my fear and so from today everything changes’ and then start taking steps towards doing all of the things you’ve been putting off or jumping on an Instagram live - whatever that looks like for you. 

For some people it’s actually debilitating. 

I know I’ve spoken about it a few times, when I first started my marketing consulting business and I had to do video it was the worst.

I would try just sucking it up and hitting record but I always hated the result, I was so hard on myself, I told myself I sucked and I’d never make it, that I wasn’t cut out for this and it was absolutely devastating because I knew this was what I wanted but I just didn’t think it would happen for me, I wasn’t good enough, or I kept telling myself I wasn’t good enough. 

I wanted to be able to do video, to speak on camera, to feel confident building my own brand but I just didn’t.

And I’d see all these people just dishing out advice like just put a filter on and get it done, once you do it the first time you’ll feel so much better and it will become so easy’

But that just wants the case for me or for so many other people that I know. 

Changing from a perfectionist mindset to a growth mindset can take time, it’s normal for it to take time. 

Interestingly also, you might find that you’re quite a perfectionist in one area of your life but not in another, or it might present itself differently in different areas. 

When I was employed, so when I had a more corporate career perfectionism was kind of there but also not really in a lot of ways…

Things like I was also really shy to speak up in meetings, I hated being put on the spot incase my ideas were shut down, criticised or if someone challenged me, but I was really good at just getting shit done, I was really confident in managing projects and people, at creating content, I did all sorts of amazing things and I did them easily.

But when it came to me, Kristy the business owner, things were different. 

All of a sudden it was on me. 

They were my ideas,

This is my story,

This is the branding I chose,

The topics I chose,

I think it was not having anyone else to hide behind that really got me 

When i was working for someone else I didn’t have to get on camera.

I could put an idea forward and the company would either say no or take it on and together we’d execute, the decision wasn’t mine, ultimately it came down to someone else, someone had to give me sign off, the go ahead - and it was no longer ‘mine’ like I guess it is when you’;re running your own business and I think that’s part of what hid the perfectionism from me. 

One of the ways it was present though was I was always afraid to ask for help. 

I thought I had to do everything myself, and asking for help meant I didn’t know what I was doing and I was afraid of what that would mean for my career. 

And that also came through in my business. When I first started I just thought I had to work it out myself, I did some courses however I never really spoke about my business to anyone, I pretended for a really long time that I just had my shit together when I didn’t because I was afraid if I opened up and told people what was really going on for me, they’d think less of me, I was waiting for the ‘I knew she’d never make it remarks’... 

And I won’t lie, it was hard, it was so hard. 

And we know all of the sayings and we’ve heard them all before too..

Done is better than perfect,

Taking imperfect action is better than no action at all.

Progress over perfection.

We know them all but hearing them and simply being told them doesn’t actually really help, I think for some of us it’s just frustrating - you like yeah I fucking know but I still haven’t published a post, recorded a podcast, taken the picture, shared my work - it just stops you still and it takes over. 

The good news, or the great news is that this feeling, it doesn't have to be permanent, and if you don’t want it to be and if you’re willing to do the work it definitely won’t be permanent. 

So what are some of the things that you can do to help you overcome perfectionism?

Now that we’ve really dived into what it can look like, lets look at what you can do to help you move past this feeling. 

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One of the first things I suggest is getting really clear on your goals and what it is that you’re working towards and ultimate want to to achieve. 

What is it specifically that you want to achieve? And the key here is getting really specific.

If we’re talking about your business, what does that look like? If you have a image in your minds eye, what does that look like. Where are you? Whats around you? Who are you with? What are the sounds that a present, the smells.

What are you doing? How are you behaving? What are you producing? Are you thriving on Instagram? Running live events? Working with high profile clients? Changing lives and making a difference. 

Build a really strong vision for what you want to achieve. 

Take all of that information, especially the part about you the information that forms your identity - what you’re doing, or saying, the way you;are behaving, the confidence you have..

Take it all and embody it, every single day - as best you can.

I’ve also spoken about mental rehearsal before too… 

It’s based on the theory that your subconscious mind, where our automatic thoughts, actions and feelings live that doesn’t know the difference between reality and whatever we tell it. 

So to do this, we build an image of the thing that we desire, the business or the life we want, maybe it’s specific to taking a certain action such as taking the stage in front of 100 people, or going live on Instagram or being confident on video…

We take that image and we quite literally mentally practice the thing without actually every having to do the thing and each time we do this it tells us subconscious that this is a task we’re able to do, we make this our reality..

And when it comes time to taking more of those actions, because we’ve been mentally rehearsing it our subconscious already thinks we can and it can make you feel more confident, more self assured - it will help you actually take the action. 

Now I know this is not for everyone however I really urge you to give it a try, you can also do this using meditation and hypnosis, journaling is also a really good place to practice this technique. 

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Another thing you can do is really work towards building yourself a bit of a runway with whatever it is you’re putting off.

So lets use instagram as as example, it could be becoming more consistent with your content, or maybe you want to do video…

Make this your goal and write down all of the small steps you could do that will lead you to that end goal.

For this example maybe it’s video, perhaps you really want to be the type of person that is on your stories, confidently shows up, speaks to camera when you feel like it but at the moment you just feel like it’s not something you could ever do..

If we’re working backwards...

The goal is to be on camera,

One step down from that could be to film something else while doing a voice over,

One step down from that could be doing a reel,

One small step backwards from here could be doing a reel when you don’t speak at all, it’s just video of you to music with words popping up on the screen,

A step down could be a boomerang,

All the way down to something as simple as just posting to your feed and getting comfortable with that for a little bit before jumping into the next thing. 

So we’re building up, getting comfortable with the app, sharing our thoughts, our knowledge, our opinion and then taking one small step up from here.

One quote I love is

What single brave decision do you need to make today.

So maybe today you just do 5% more than you did yesterday. 

And they key here is following through, when you say you’re going to do something you do it, you find the time, you commit and you make it happen,

You begin building that self trust and start proving to yourself that you can do this, you are capable and you’re going to do this!

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The big one here, that what all of these last few point lead to is taking action. 

Knowledge is nothing without action. 

You cannot meditate or visualise to success - yes they can and will help you, however without the action nothing actually changes. 

It doesn’t matter how big or small those moves are to begin, what matters most is that you;re actually making them.

You’re taking steps every single day that are going to build your confidence and get you to where you want to be. 

Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time..

I can’t remember what podcast I heard this on last week however the thing that was said was ‘one of the hardest thing you can do is keep going when the motivation is gone and the results are not yet there’ 

But keeping going when you’re at this point is exactly what you need to do for the results to come, and they will come. 

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And another one that I want to add and this is something I myself and really focused on learning more on at the moment

And that is to trust the process and to release control.

Trust that with every small step you take you are getting one step closer,

Trust that every time you close your eyes and imagine yourself running this thriving business it’s going to get easier

Trust yourself, as a business owner and as an incredibly capable human. 

And releasing control, control of the outcome

Loosening the grip and allowing yourself to learn, and to grow and to become the next level version of yourself. 

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If content creation and using Instagram feels like an ongoing battle I also cover a lot on making content for the platform in a few other episodes too, head back and check out

Episode 2 - Instagram and You

and

Episode 10 - You marketing strategy won’t work without this 

But of course if you would like me to dive into this further please let me know and I will make sure I do that in a future episode. 

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I am going to wrap up this episode here, I really do hope this has helped you to identify who perfectionism might be present for you but more importantly some of the tools and the things you can do that will help you move forward so that you can build the business that you want and you do begin to feel more confident in showing up online, sharing your work, your voice, your opinion. 

If you did like this episode I would love for you to please take a screenshot and share it to Instagram, please tag me - it’s just @ kristy pask 

And if course if you are enjoying this podcast I would be so forever grateful if you could please leave me a review, please let me know what you’re enjoying most about it so I can continue to make more of the content I know you want to hear. 

If you have any questions at all, any feedback or would like to get in touch the best place to find me is either over on Instagram, or head to my website - kristy pask . com and get in touch with me there. 

Thank you once again for joining me today, I look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Links and resources:

Learn more about my 12 week, 1:1 coaching program: The Holistic Marketing Method

Connect with me on Instagram: @kristypask

Book in a 1:1 single session with me here.

Find me on social media

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@KristyPask

We acknowledge the Wiradjuri, Waveroo and Dhudhuroa people as the traditional owners of the land where we live, learn, create and work. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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