Are you a perfectionist? A majority of you will say no. But do you have any of these signs of perfectionism? Are you super critical of other people’s mistakes? Do you aim to be the absolute best at everything? Do you set absolute ideals—meaning everything is in black and white, there is no gray? Are you the harshest critic of yourself? Do you mull over outcomes? And do you only have the end goal in mind? If you can answer yes to any of these then you, my friend, are a perfectionist.
I am not a perfectionist at all. I am a procrastinator through and through, which means I wait until the very last second to get anything done, and then ship it out the door and hope for the best. But I see people every day who never live up to their potential because they are waiting on the perfect situation before they ever start anything.
We are going to go over the four ways perfectionism is killing your business—and your income—and what you can do to correct them.
1: You never start because you are waiting on perfect conditions.
2: You never grow and improve your skill set.
3: You focus on how people view you instead of providing real value.
4: You never finish anything.
Do not take these things as negative, even great people who are known the world over have been perfectionists.
Leonardo Da Vinci is a perfect example. He is recognized as a very well-known painter, but in his years leading up to what is considered his two masterpieces; Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, he spent most of his time sketching. So much so that there are 13,000 pages of sketches for paintings that he wanted to complete, but in his lifetime he only completed thirty works of art.
On the other hand, we have Pablo Picasso. Picasso completed 147,800 works of art.
Of the top fifty paintings sold at auction, Picasso’s works were ten of those fifty. Both of these men do great work that is known around the world. But just think of the things that Da Vinci could have accomplished if he could have put his perfectionism to the side and just created amazing art.
Okay, so this intro will never be perfect. Let’s just move on and get to how to start correcting these perfectionism tendencies.
1. You never start anything because you are waiting on perfect conditions
Are you the type of person who will work on the smaller stuff because you are waiting for everything to be perfect before you start on the big stuff? You know what I am talking about. You have to write content for your product, but you are waiting for the perfect environment, like you clean your desk, over and over and over again, to make it just right so you can write. Or you get a great idea for another project due in a month, instead of working on the project due at the moment. You then look up and realize that it is later in the day than you thought, and you decide to start it tomorrow, and tomorrow that vicious cycle starts all over again.
Want to know how to stop the cycle? Just start!
Focus on starting one small task, then another, and then another. This will build your momentum of working toward the harder stuff that you are waiting on to be perfect before you start. For people who are action takers, they focus on the action. So what you need to do is focus, for now, on the task at hand—not the end goal. Stop focusing on making things perfect. I have news for you, you are not perfect. I am not perfect. No one is perfect, so stop trying to achieve perfection.
People who want to tackle a marathon do not try to do it all in one day. They train, right? They start out walking. Then they progress to a light jog. This is followed by running a few miles at a time, until they can build up the endurance to run the marathon. Those first small steps are monumental, because the repetition leads to consistency, and consistency is what makes the difference. Take the first step toward your marathon! You can do this!
A perfect way to get you into the habit of doing those first steps is to set a deadline for yourself.
Deadlines give you a road map to achieving those crazy, perfect-looking goals that you have. The Syndicate Momentum helps you to focus on the daily steps to get you to your finish line. If you need the motivation to make that first step, our Syndicate Momentum group is there to cheer you on, or kick your butt if that is what you need. All you have to do is set the first deadline.
Another way to get started is to practice effective time management.
This means something different to each person, because each person has a different sweet spot. What I mean by ‘sweet spot’ is that time of the day when you hit your stride and are working at your productivity peak. For me, that is about 2:00 in the afternoon. My mornings are for my routine things that don’t take much thought. My afternoons are for my creative thinking and completion of important projects.
Lastly, establish a daily routine.
If you are like me and you work from home, it means literally having a routine. Every single day I get up and get dressed like I would if I were going into an office building. I take my children to school and grab some breakfast and by 9:00 am I am sitting in my office.
I find it very important to have a specific area that you go to complete your work. This can be an actual office, a corner of your living room, or any area in your home that you go to focus on work. I typically work in that area, focused until lunchtime. Then I leave my desk for a brain break. When I come back, I am refreshed and ready to rock out the rest of my day.
Working from home is a privilege, but it is not easy! It takes discipline. Being at home, there are a billion more distractions than if you were working from an office space. There are all of the chores around the house, the televisions, endless food options, and then, of course, all of your friends and family that think since you work from home you can have company at any time and that you are not busy.
Having a specific work area and working times sets boundaries for myself and for my family. They know when I am in my area that I am working and don’t need to be disturbed. By going to my office, I have mentally told myself that I am ready to work.
If you are waiting on everything to be perfect, you are wasting precious time waiting on perfection. Perfection does not really exist, does it? It is merely our expectation of what we would like. Things could always be better or worse than they actually are.
Now that you know to first get past your perfectionism, you just need to start. Begin with a small step, and build your progress toward completion. Now, let’s address another setback of perfectionism and how to overcome it.
You never grow and improve your skill set
We learn from our mistakes and, therefore, consider them part of the journey. Risk and uncertainty are part of the journey to success. If you are expecting perfection at all times, your journey to success is going to be short and uneventful.
A question that you must ask yourself, “Am I willing to be uncomfortable to have the results that I want? “
Read that part again, and out loud. “Am I willing to be uncomfortable to have the results that I want? “ If you said no, you need to re-evaluate why you are doing what you are doing. Most anything we have a passion for and want to see succeed, we are willing to be uncomfortable to achieve.
But being uncomfortable is not easy, especially if you have a fear of failure. You know what standards you hold for yourself, and you are scared that what you produce won’t be perfect. Unless you are performing brain surgery, you do not have to be perfect! That is worth repeating. You do not have to be perfect! I promise you, the most successful people in the world are not perfect.
Fail and failing often.
It is when we fail that we learn and grow. I mean, look at Thomas Edison. He failed one thousand times before inventing the light bulb. One thousand times! That’s a lot. But he also learned a lot along the way, and his work eventually yielded an incredible invention that we still use today.
If you have a fear of failure, one way to overcome it is to test early and test often. Whatever product you are creating or selling, make sure that you are testing it as much as possible before taking it to the general public.
When planning for your product or service release, think through every scenario, even the ones we don’t want to think about. This allows us to consider the possible outcomes of anything thrown our way. If something were to go wrong, think through the countermeasures to overcome the obstacle. Allowing yourself to think through every situation will help you focus not on perfection, but reality. And it could help you overcome a situation before it is even a situation.
So now that we know how to focus on possible outcomes before we release something to the public, let’s review how to provide real value.
You focus on how people view you instead of providing real value.
If you have a tendency of being terrified of making bad impressions on others, you are a perfectionist.
Are you the person who edits your Facebook post for thirty minutes before you finally post? Or worse, delete it altogether, for fear that someone will not approve of your post?
Do you have a belief that if you do not match someone superior to you that your success will not happen?
Do you worry that you will get negative feedback online, and worry about how it will affect your business?
Proudly show early concepts to those you trust.
Sometimes a critique can feel like a character attack, but critiques are less likely to feel that way coming from someone you trust and respect. Having someone review and critique your work early will only make your product or service better when you do put it out to the public.
If you still have worries of how people will view you, go back to your ‘why.’
Why are you in business? Why do you provide a product or service for your customers? Maintain a focus on why you are in business, and why you are doing what you do. You will find that what people say about you or your business will not matter nearly as much.
In a presentation by Brian Sullivan, Manager of Usability and UX Evangelism, he talks about what he calls the ‘Smash and Grab.’
“The smash and grab occurs when someone smashes through people’s social boundaries with intimate information, then grabs whatever attention and energy you can get your hands on…in our social media world, it’s increasingly difficult to determine what’s a real attempt to connect and what’s performance.” – Dr. Brene Brown
According to Sullivan, 90% of social sharing is about sharing relevant information with your connections, and 10% of social sharing is a form of smash-and-grab (showing off, getting a reaction).
Dr. Brown went on to say, “With smash and grab, perfectionists use vulnerability to connect with people. It is a way to fast-forward intimacy.”
Make certain that, when connecting with people via social media, you are being real with them and giving them real value. If you are focused on your “why,” instead of how they will see you, you will accomplish this.
Dr. Ben Adkins has faced this situation before when he vouched for someone who had a clear track record with us in our industry. They were selling a piece of software, and then turned around and screwed all of the people who bought from them, including our customers. We did a few things to make the negative feedback better.
- We addressed the issue right away with customers who were complaining by commenting on their post about the software.
- We let them know that this action wasn’t something that we would stand for.
- When we couldn’t get the vendor to make it right, we invested around $5,000 into providing an alternative to the software that they had ducked out on.
- We also gave our customers access to a private course as an apology for backing the wrong guy.
If you do happen to get negative feedback, there are ways to handle the criticism with class.
First, listen to your customers. Most people just want to be heard. When you listen, and I mean really listen—treating them like valued friends—you will find that they can be long-term customers.
Second, realize that there are many reasons you can receive negative comments. Some are not valid at all and are not worth the time to discuss, while others could be bringing an issue to you that you need to address in your business.
Lastly, know that you can’t please everyone all of the time. You will, from time to time, have some negative feedback. Know that you are doing what you are doing for a reason and that it is important. Just keep going!
Now that we have gone through how to focus on your why, instead of how people view you, let’s go over how to finish anything.
4. You never finish anything
Are you the type of person who has amazing ideas, but they never see the light of day? Or do you work and work (and work and work and…) on your project, trying to make it perfect, when you could have released your product weeks before? By doing this, you have kept money out of your account for weeks.
Or you may be like many who feel that you work best under pressure. According to research conducted by Joseph Ferrari, author of Still Procrastinating: The No-Regrets Guide to Getting it Done, when people are placed under time restraints to complete a task, he found that those claiming to work better under pressure actually produced worse results. Which, for some, results in never putting their work out there, because they are too conscious of the fact that it is not perfect, or even close to perfect.
While at a conference a few weeks ago, Tiffany Peterson, an international coach who guides individuals and teams in creating thriving lives and business results, gave us the acronym SW-SW-SW-SW. That stands for ‘Some Will, Some Won’t, So What, Someone is Waiting.’ What a perfect way to look at everything that we put out for public consumption. Not everyone will love what we have to offer. Others, however, will love it. And those who don’t love us, well, who cares. There are others who are waiting on us! Go out and tackle it.
We have discussed four ways your perfectionism kills your success, and ways to overcome them. I need for you to stop being a perfectionist, and be okay with being great! Most of our perfection tendencies are rooted in fear. Fear can stand for two things: forget everything and run, or face everything and rise. You get to make the choice as to which one you will lead you!
- How to become your own boss in less than 365 days - February 9, 2016
- How I was Able to Create a $10k a Month Revenue Stream and Still be a Rock Star Mom and Employee - February 1, 2016
- The 4 Pieces you Must Have to Reach $10k per Month Working from Home - January 22, 2016
- Getting More Organized: 4 Ways to Triple Your 2016 Income - January 11, 2016
- How your procrastination is keeping you from earning 5 figures a month (and the 5 ways to fix it) - January 1, 2016
- 4 Steps to an Elevator Speech that will Increase Your Leads in a Week - December 18, 2015
- 4 Ways Your Perfectionism Kills Your Success and How to Correct Them - December 2, 2015
- 6 Steps to a Creative Employee Handbook (While Keeping you Legally Protected) - November 16, 2015
- How To Cut Your Work Week In Half By Using Procrastination Killers - November 4, 2015
- How to Make Your New Employee Fall in Love with Your Company from Day One - October 28, 2015