Is perfectionism stopping your progress?

This week I was lucky enough to attend a number of Business Chicks events here in Melbourne. The first was an intimate dinner with a group of Melbourne based Business Women in fields ranging from Finance to Photography. The second was a lunch and lecture with deep thinking man of action, Sir Bob Geldof and finally lunch and a chat with the incredibly approachable and down to earth Super Woman, Zoë Foster Blake, previously beauty editor, now mother, writer and and Founder and CEO of Go-To Skin Care.

The main thought that kept occurring to me while sharing time with so many inspirational people and listening to their stories was this:

  If  you wait until you are perfect to make a move, you will be waiting forever. 

I often work with clients experiencing performance anxiety. Many elements of our lives require us to perform so this anxiety hounds people from all professions and walks of life, from Artists and students to Step-mums, Salespeople, Politicians, Lawyers, CEO’s and CFO’s.

At the heart of the anxiety seems to be fear, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of making a fool of themselves, and these fears stem from an expectation that unless we can deliver perfection we will in some way have failed. So often the expectation that we need to deliver perfection stops us from ever starting, we sabotage ourselves through self criticism that leads to procrastination and robs us of the self affirmation gained from getting the job done.

Fear serves an important role in our lives, it stops us from stepping in front of buses or elephants and making bad life decisions or getting ill-advised tattoos, but we need to keep our fear in perspective. Fear need not be insurmountable, a blocker, the end of the line. If we allow ourselves to feel the fear without recrimination, step back from the fear and objectively acknowledge it as part of the process, part of being human, then choose to carry on despite it, we provide ourselves with an opportunity to overcome those fears. The time spent indulging our fear, and procrastinating is time that could be used to rehearse, practice, prepare so that when it is time to perform we are giving ourselves the best possible chance to succeed.

If we allow ourselves to feel the fear without recrimination, step back and objectively acknowledge it as part of the process, part of being human, then choose to carry on despite it, we provide ourselves with an opportunity to overcome those fears.

When addressing perfectionism with my clients I often use the example of Technology giant Apple. When they release a new Iphone there are inevitably flaws in the product, bugs and little things that will need tweaking but they don’t wait until the product is 100% perfect to release it, they’ve developed the product to a standard that is good enough for 294 million people world wide to use a phone running Apple’s iOS by the end of 2015. The less than perfect product standard does not stop us buying and appreciating the technology. I find it unlikely that the good people at Apple  go home and cry into their pillows because the newly released piece of tech has a bug, they just get on with making a better product for the next release. It will never be perfect but it is definitely good enough.

It’s not bravery if you’re are not scared.

Find your voice. And as always, feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments. Emmanuella

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By |2018-02-21T05:45:59+00:00July 9th, 2016|Creative Identity|Comments Off on Is perfectionism stopping your progress?

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