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March 11, 2021

Episode 7: How your perfectionist mindset is working against you

by Kristy Pask

About this episode.

Today we're getting right back into Perfectionism, what it looks like, how you're getting in your own way and why your perfectionist mindset is stopping you from building your dream business. 

For focusing on that small stuff, undercharging, undervaluing your expertise and the experience you bring to your clients to saying yes, or no, when you really want to say the opposite. 


Hello and welcome! This is episode number 7 of The Business of Perfectionism and today I am switching it back up a little and we are getting right back into the nitty gritty of perfectionism, what it can look like, ways it can hold you back, the reasons and some of the ways it’s actually stopping you from building the business or living the life you want. 

Some of these things you might already see yourself doing or maybe once we start chatting about them it will be become clear to you that you are, or maybe you’ve done some of these things in past, and very hopefully, by us chatting about them today I am really hoping it will help prevent you from doing them in the future or just make you much more aware of the ways you might be self sabotaging or getting in your own way and just to help you recognise when you’re having these thoughts so that you can really look at them and look to change some of them right then and there. 

Before we jump into it, for those of you that are new around here, welcome, my name is Kristy - I am a marketing and mindset coach and I help creative business owners overcome perfectionism so they can build their dream business. 

As a recovering perfectionist myself I am so incredibly passionate about this work, I have done and continue to do so much of the personal and professional development on all of this myself, I most definitely still find myself from time to time slipping into that perfectionist mindset and really just end up getting in my own way, I end up frustrated because I think ‘I know better than this’ which also really doesn’t help but it really highlights just how hard some of this work can be to do, especially by yourself and so it’s nice to find other people that think the same way you do, just know that you are not alone and perfectionism is very common, especially in women, the growth is hard and messy and sometimes the work can feel harder than just living with that perfectionist mindset but I promise you the breakthroughs and the growth are so worth it. 

And so today, I wanted to get right back into perfectionism and really discuss 6 ways your perfectionist mindset might be working against you, ways it might be holding you back and ways you can begin to overcome that perfectionist or fixed mindset and really start working towards that growth mindset. 

So lets jump into it, I have here 6 ways your perfectionist mindset might be working against you.

Number one, is you spend too much time focusing on the small stuff, the things you feel really comfortable and confident in doing and you become so busy that you’re never actually getting to the needle moving tasks.

This is a great example of a perfectionist in procrastination, we like to feel busy and productive and like we’re always doing something, and being super busy with all these other little small things means that we have an excuse for not getting to the things that we actually need to be doing. So you can say things like ‘Oh i haven’t received any enquiries yet, but that’s because I’ve been focused on working on XYZ, rather than going out and actually getting the clients or spreading the word about your product. 

So depending on where you feel comfortable it could be spending hours trying to find the perfect shade of dusty pink for your branding instead of actually just writing a really great blog post, or showing up on online and actually selling your offer.

Instead of actually making your website live, you’re spending all this extra time finessing your about me page or obsessing over having the right copy on your services page when really all you need to do is launch the website, probably knowing that at this stage it’s an MVP - if you don’t know that is an MVP is  just a ‘Minimal Viable Product’ which is really just like a basic working version of what you ideally want to create but it’s enough to just get out there, start testing your offer, service or product and then you build up from there. 

Perhaps you’re spending hours on Instagram, just scrolling, engaging with others accounts because no doubt you’ve heard you need to engage with others to grow your own account, but what you also REALLY need to be doing is creating your own content, building your own brand, sharing your voice, putting yourself out there and attracting the right people to you and your content and what you do and what you’re all about. 

This is one I am guilty of at times also, and honestly sometimes I don’t even realise I’m doing it I just get so wrapped up and carried away and immersed and sometimes I really have to catch myself out. 

I called myself out this morning on this one actually…. I got a notification from Google about my Google My Business Listing and it was telling me how many people had seen the listing and clicked through to the website and it promoted me to look at the listing because I haven’t updated it in a while and before I knew it I’m changing cover photos and updating my photos, I used to publish a preview of all of the blog posts and things there which I haven’t done for a while so I went to my last podcast episode and got the link to that a published a link to it there and then all of a sudden I just had this thought like ‘this is so not important right now, I have a podcast episode I really need to and want to record this morning’ something that is actually really important for me and my business at the moment so I put it to the side, put a note on my to-do list to take a better look at it another time and actually got back to what I really needed to do. 

So really take a look at where you’re spending your time, what are you always working on, how much time do you spend on that a day, a week a month and actually deciding if that’s actually a good use of your time, is it necessary and is it actually bringing you any closer to your goals or are you ust busy for the sake of being busy. 

Number 2 is saying yes, when you really want to say no.

Urgh, I think we’ve all been here, saying yes to something that you really want to say no to effects so many people, as perfectionists we’re people pleasers, we don’t want to upset anyone, or let them down, we want to make them happy, we want acceptance and ultimately we just want to be liked, the thought of rejection or having someone annoyed or disappointed in us can be really hard to think about and so to avoid that feeling we generally go out of our way to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

Not only does this mean you’ll end up committing to doing a bunch of things you don’t really want to do, it also leads to stress, it can make us feel even more overwhelmed and ultimately leads to burn out and depending on the situation, sometimes a little bit of resentment and frustration. 

It could come up for you in so many different ways, in your business it could be taking on a client or some work or a new supplier that you don’t really want to work with or that doesn’t fit your brand, and ideally you would just love to say no but you’re feeling that real sense of ‘I don’t want to disappoint this person, or I don’t want to be rude and say no even though you’re not rude at all for saying no, other people say no all the time, it’s just that real internal feeling of not wanting to disappoint and really putting the happiness of others above your own which is a truly noble thing to do, but sometimes we really do just have to say no when we really want to say no. 

It could also be a real scarcity mindset thing, so are you saying yes to something that you want to say no to because you’re afraid if you don’t say yes to this there won’t be another opportunity for you and so you have to take this or you’ll be left with nothing? 

I have honestly done this one a lot too - taking on clients that ultimately didn’t fit me because I was afraid that if I said no to this client then I wouldn’t have any clients and I wouldn’t make any money…

I had a whole lot of limiting beliefs swirling around too about not being good enough for my ideal client and just having to take what I could just so I could survive and make some money - but honestly, it just lead to me being really unhappy with what I was doing, I wasn’t feeling motivated, I didn’t have that fire in my belly and I was just going through the motions, just doing what I needed to to get through and just praying that one day, my ideal client would find me.

It’s why it’s so important to get clear on what you want, the type of people you want to work with, the type of work you ultimately want to do. Understanding what you’re available for, what you’re not available for and really sticking to your guns on that one, trusting that if you’re doing the work the right clients will find you and just becoming the type of person that says no when they want to say no and really focussing on what you ultimately want. 

Number 3 is saying no, when you really want to say yes

This one is actually a horrible feeling because it’s based around a lot of limiting beliefs, you could be really doubting yourself, maybe you don’t think you’re good enough, thoughts like who am I to be doing this, fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, fear of being visible, of sharing your voice or your opinion. 

Saying no when you really want to say yes could come in so many different forms….

I could be saying no to someone else, so maybe someone has approached you for a Podcast Interview or they want you to present a masterclass to a group they host for example and you say no because you freak out and tell yourself you’re not ready, you convince yourself you can’t do it, you don’t want to put yourself out there, you’re afraid you’ll look like a fool or you’re afraid you won’t be able to provide any real value which is insane because this person has presented this opportunity to you because they believe in you, they know you’ve got what it takes, they see the value you add and they want to you bring it to their audience and if its the right fit, something like this is so hugely beneficial for your brand too. 

Saying no when you want to say yes could also be you saying no to yourself, when what you really want to say is yes. 

You say no by not taking the action, you say no by telling yourself you’re not ready, you say no by procrastinating and avoiding the thing that’s maybe going to make you feel a little uncomfortable…

Saying no when you want to say yes is your brains way of keeping you safe, it tried to tell you that because you’re feeling fear around this that the right thing to do is to say no, when in a lot of instances the right thing to do is to say yes….

Take a chance,to take a chance on yourself, to back yourself and to just freaking go for it. 

Have you ever seen someone else present a masterclass or maybe you’ve listened in on a podcast and you think ‘oh awesome, I’m going to listen in because this person is an expert’ and you can see the impact that they’re having and maybe they speak about the incredible amount of money they make, and you jump on thinking this is just going to blow your mind because they’re so much further ahead than you….

And then you get off and you think, yeah well I knew that - I’ve done this one! This is just proof that you are ready, you know what you need to know, you have so much value to share and so much information you could provide people with, there really is no such thing as ready, your brain is lying to you when it tries to tell you, you aren’t ready.

It’s time to say yes, to go all in, to say YES. 

The 4th reason your perfectionist mindset is getting in your way, is you’re undercharging. 

This is a BIG one for perfectionists… Because we’re doubting if we’re good enough and if we really can help people and we have these insanely high expectations of ourselves, we generally undercharge for our services, or if you’re working for someone else, you might accept a lower salary and not really ever fight for more…

There is no one size fits all for pricing and of course the advice out there is to look at your offer or your services and put a dollar value on it based on the outcomes, the transformation for the value it brings to the other party, however as perfectionists we tend to undervalue what we do and therefore we end up charging less.

It’s also really common for perfectionists to suffer with a lot of imposter syndrome, we think things like ‘who I am to be doing this’ , sometimes you might even feel uncomfortable or guilty about your prices and speaking about them if someone asks might make you feel a bit awkward - it’s all very common for perfectionists. 

You might even feel like you’re working and working and working but you’re just never getting to the income level that you really want and it just becomes a cycle where you end up attracting more of these same clients that only want to pay you that lower rate and it becomes really hard to break away from. 

Depending on your industry I am a huge fan of pricing your services as packages, so moving away from that hourly rate and giving a cost per project, remembering that people aren’t paying you for your time, they are paying you for the value and experience and expertise that you bring, but of course this is just generic advice and if you would like something more specific to your business it’s best discussed separately with someone that can help you specifically. 

Number 5 is you’re focusing solely on strategy and then changing that strategy as soon as it doesn’t appear to be working

As perfectionists we love to do things quote unquote - the right way, or what we think is the right way, we have a hard time when we feel like we’re doing something and it’s not working or we’re not getting the results that we want right now.

We tend not to enjoy the journey and we just want to make it to the destination, so when we’re working towards things using one strategy and it’s been a few weeks and we haven’t yet got the results we can tend to jump ship and want to try something new and when that doesn't work we try something new again.

And yes, trying new strategies and approaches to things can actually be good, but when you haven’t really given something a real red hot crack you aren’t even giving it time to start working. 

It could be something like saying you’re going to go live on Instagram every week and then you do it once or twice but no one shows up and so you think ‘we’ll that doesn’t work’ and you throw in the towel on that - but really, depending on the size of your audience, it can be quite hard to pull a crowd to start, but eventually they will start to come, and the views after the live are generally more than that of the live no matter how many people you have there live with you, so maybe it’s actually a great strategy, maybe you just need to give it time. 

And maybe that wasn’t the best example for perfectionists because I know so many of us don’t love doing video just yet, but I’m sure you know what I mean anyway. 

Strategy is important yes, but when you’re a perfectionist there is also so much mindset work that needs to be done too. 

And often it’s not the strategy that’s not working, really take a look at if you’ve really gone all in. 

You mapped out your strategy, said you were going to do XYZ weekly, but are you, are you showing up for yourself and your business daily, or are you procrastinating, spending heaps of time on the small stuff and not ever getting to the needle moving stuff, are you spending hours and hours on instagram but never actually creating the content yourself. 

Are you selling? This is a big one I see all the time too and I’m guilty of it also - are you selling? Telling people about your offer? How can they work with you? Book you? Engage you? Or are you just providing them with a really aesthetically beautiful instagram feed that doesn't really show who you are or what you do.

So before you jump into rewriting your strategy, really take a look at if you’ve actually gone all in on your current one and if not, do that before you decide to try something new. 

Learn to enjoy the journey, reflect on what you’ve achieved, what you’ve completed, become the type of person that follows through when you say you’re going to do something. And never forget the mindset work. 

And lastly, number 6 is you’re  not showing up as yourself or a watered down version of yourself, perhaps the version of you that you think people want so you’ll fit in or so they have more chance of liking you. 

And let's be honest, most people don’t love to feel rejected by others and perfectionists are not only no exception, in a lot of instances without even realising, we take it to a whole new level.

I know a lot of perfectionists have trouble showing up online at all, especially in video, we feel like because we’re not naturals in front of the camera it’ll be seen as a weakness and so we decide until we’re really good at it we avoid it all together, the problem with that of course though is to be really good at something you generally have to practice or do it so you just keep putting it off and putting it off. 

You might have even noticed it in the workplace or with certain people in your social circle, do you act differently around some people and without even realising your behaviour starts to change or the way you speak changes… 

If you’re running an online business perhaps there is someone that you really look up to, you admire them, you see all the amazing things their doing and so you think, consciously or unconsciously that to have that same success you need to be more like them and you begin to take that on and project that online in hopes of building that same success. 

The problem with this, is not only is it exhausting, energetically, it doesn't fit you, and whether we know it or not, I think most people will probably unconsciously see, hear and feel it.

We can feel when someone is being authentic, when we’re getting the most real, vibrant version of that person and honestly, you’ll start to gain more momentum and build a stronger audience when you truly step into showing up as yourself. 

It’s so easy to be influenced by what others are doing, especially by those you love and admire, but now, more than ever, people just want you to be you. 

This all fits right back into that people pleasing, that fear of judgement and rejection and the shame we allow ourselves to feel if we for whatever reason think that someone doesn’t like us, we make it mean something about us, when in fact it has nothing to do with us!

And most of the time we don’t even really know if someone actually does like us or not, we’re just making assumptions based on our own limiting beliefs and thinking about ourselves the way we view ourselves which is not a true reflection at all on what others think, and what others think of us doesn't matter anyway!

Actually that reminds me of the opening line in Jay Shetty’s Book, Think like a Monk, I’m pretty sure I have mentioned it on here before but it starts…

I am not what I think I am, I am not what you think I am, I am what I think that you think I am - it was something close to that anyway but it was all around how our identities are wrapped up in what we think others think of us but we really have no way of knowing..

And anyway, I won’t go on about this but the point it, a watered down or altered version of you is not going to see you through, it’s exhausting and it probably won’t work, the best thing you can do is just be yourself and attract the right people to you. 

OK, wow that was a lot, I know, to recap.

1 You spend too much time focusing on the small stuff

2 saying yes, when you really want to say no

3 saying no, when you really want to say yes

4 undercharging

5 you’re focusing solely on strategy and then changing that strategy as soon as it doesn’t appear to be working

6 you’re not showing up as yourself 

There are obviously so many more ways perfectionism is likely getting in your way of your achieving your dream and there are so many more examples I could give.

I think I mentioned at the start I am guilty of each and every one of these in the past, some I still fall into here and there and others I feel like I am really aware of and am quite good at avoiding now. 

But it’s certainly a constant journey, i love personal development and I know this is a lifelong commitment so I love all of this stuff, I love speaking about it, learning about and putting it all into practice too. 

If you did enjoy todays episode I would be so forever grateful if you could please head into the apple podcast app and please do leave me a review, please let me know what you love most so I can really focus on bringing you the content that you really want to hear in upcoming episodes. 

And of course, if you are on Instagram please come over and connect with me, it’s just kristy pask, I would love to hear from you. 

Thank you so much for joining me again today, I look forward to chatting with you again next week. 

Links and resources:

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

Connect with me on Instagram: @kristypask

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