Do you let perfectionism paralyze you from sharing your projects, ideas, products or courses with the world? In this article and video, you’ll learn how to quit stalling and start making progress in your creative business.
Have you ever created a piece of really great content? A blog entry, a new product, a design, or maybe a social post— or maybe something big like a course, or a website?
You poured lots of love into this thing, you gave it your all, yet when it comes time to press that publish button, and you’re about to share that content with the world you’re met with resistance.
We’re suddenly flooded with thoughts of doubt, fear, and sometimes panic. And we refuse to move forward until we know that it is 100% perfect. Because otherwise, everyone will hate it. And we’ll feel terrible about ourselves.
Here’s usually how it goes for me:
Did I remember to spell check after that last edit? Maybe I should run it more time. Should $500 be displayed numerically or should I spell the words out?
Is this really what I decided to charge for this? Maybe I should lower it. Actually— there is so much value in this thing. I think I should double the prices. Let me go update that.
Oh wait. Now I have to update all of those promos I already created. But I’m a designer, I have all of those files. That won’t take too long.
You know what would make these promos look better? Different stock images. I saw that my stock photo subscription just released some new ones, and those are going to make these look even better. And when people see them, this will definitely make them buy my course.
You know what, I need a little breather, I’m just going to open up Instagram for a minute. Ohh, cute shoes.
Are you kidding me? She is launching the exact same course as me? I know I came up with this idea first. Ugh, and everything looks so perfect. Her sales page is amazing. Oh! And she already has all of these comments from people who are signing up?
Well, I can’t do this now. I’m going to have to come up with a better idea.
Guys, this has actually happened to me. Two years ago, I created a course. I spent six months working on it. I wrote great content, I paid a professional to edit it. Designed the slides. Recorded videos. I even signed up for a platform where I was planning to host the course and paid membership to them for an entire year.
But I never launched it. Because I am a perfectionist.
I got to keep my pride, I never had to be scared that someone wouldn’t like it. And I took that great information that could have helped someone and kept it to myself.
There are people who may have bought my course and decided that they wanted a refund. But I know that there are a lot more people who would have gone through the program, followed the steps I provided, and launched their own businesses that were profitable, and that would have brought positive change to their life.
WHY BEING A PERFECTIONIST IS SELFISH
And this what happens when we decide to stay stuck in our little perfectionist worlds. We keep most everything to ourselves because putting something out there that’s not the best, means that we have to be vulnerable and show the world that we’re human and that we make mistakes.
It wasn’t until I realized how selfish this sounded, that I made a mindset shift and decided to start shedding these tendencies. And I’m still working on it.
It’s not easy to undo years of bad habits. And let’s admit it. That’s what this is. But when we become aware that a change needs to happen, we can start working towards it.
So if you are like me, and you’ve let perfectionism paralyze you from sharing your awesome, valuable content with the world, you can return to these tricks to help you push past that self-doubt.
THREE TACTICS TO COMBAT PERFECTIONISM
We are in this together. Here are the three tricks I’m using and continuously reminding myself of to get over these tendencies.
PERFECTIONIST TACTIC 1 – MAKE A “TO DON’T” LIST
We’re all familiar with the to-do list. Make a “don’t do” list. We perfectionists don’t just attempt to make something the best. We think we can make everything the best. Instead of trying to solve a single problem, that can help a small group of people, we don’t stop until we’ve found the answers to all of the problems, and try to save the whole world. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t made too much progress here.
There’s a saying that Pat Flynn, one of my favorite online entrepreneurs says, that I have been trying to own: “If you want to change someone’s life, change their day first.”
We can keep trying to change the world, and we should. But if we’re afraid to take that first step, it’ll never happen.
So I encourage you to make a list of all the things that you aren’t going to attempt to do so that you can focus on making your one piece of content, stellar.
Maybe this is the perfectionist still talking, I’m never going to tell you to put out a subpar piece of work. Make it awesome. But let other parts of your life slide, while you’re doing so.
This doesn’t just mean other projects, but the stuff in your personal life. Be okay with leaving laundry to sit in the dryer for a week, or skipping that lunch you planned or getting behind on your favorite tv show.
By admitting that you’re not the best, and you don’t have it all together, you’re letting yourself off the hook and you can move forward.
PERFECTIONIST TACTIC 2 – STOP LOOKING FOR PROBLEMS
This is one of the sneakiest ways that our perfectionist minds work. We create obstacles for ourselves, that make us slow down, second guess ourselves, and prevent us from ever finishing anything.
Everyone encounters these. Even that seemingly perfect girl on Instagram who has scores of adoring fans. The difference is, she is the one who decided to launch her course, despite her problems.
Next time you come across an issue, find the quickest, simplest way to get over it, or just let it the flaws be. Adopt the mentality that if problems arise after you launch— and they will, that you are smart enough and resourceful enough to get through it. #nbd
PERFECTIONIST TACTIC 3 – PRACTICE HUMILITY
The moment you decide that you have something cool to share, you’ve got to check that ego at the door.
We have to make a choice: do we want to serve people, or serve ourselves?
When we put our work out there, we’re opening ourselves up for criticism, we’re admitting that we’re not perfect, and we’re taking one for the team. I decided that if I have to sacrifice a teeny tiny part of my pride to help lots of other people, then it’s worth it. Every time.
Put your audience at the center of your mission. Stop worrying about how launching will make you feel, and focus on how awesome it’s going to make them feel when they find your solution.
DON’T MISS OUT ON WHAT COULD BE
Yesterday, I shared a link to the latest episode of our podcast with someone who I really respect. Instead of listening to the latest, she told me that she listened to Episode 1, and when I heard that, I cringed.
I was embarrassed by the poor audio quality, how many times I said “um” and how I kept knocking into my mic. And a had a moment of realization.
We launched. Even though that first episode wasn’t perfect, we released it anyway.
What would have happened if we perfected it before publishing the first episode? I think we’d still be on Episode 1. That is if we even launched it at all. And we wouldn’t have grown our community, or made new friends, or gotten better at speaking and editing, and learning to stay still and not knock into the mic.
We need to be willing to grow by learning. To have fun watching our progress, and celebrating milestones, instead of trying to cross that one grand finish line that we keep moving on ourselves.
Choose to see the beauty in the journey and in yourself as you grow and help others along the way.
If you identify as a perfectionist, it’s likely that you have lots of perfectionist friends and family members like I do. Overcoming these tendencies won’t just help us grow successful businesses, but will make us happier in our lives.
If you’ve found value in this post, return to it, read it again when you catch yourself slipping back into your old ways and definitely share it with those fellow perfectionists so we can all work on this together.
Leave me a comment below to let me know when you’ve launched something awesome, despite your old perfectionist ways.
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