Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Has it ever taken you 4 years to start something you know would help you?
Today, I am up for a BIG perfectionism (and vulnerability) challenge. I have had starting a blog on my mental to do list since 2014 when I started my private practice, LF Counseling.
Here is it, 2018 (almost 2019), and still no blog on my counseling site. Doh! Why is that?
So, here is where my critical voice comes in and tells me how awful it is because I procrastinated so long and why even bother. I have thought all of these excuses or reasons to avoid taking a risk:
What do I write about?
Who will read it?
"I am a bad writer" belief.
I don't have anything original to say.
Everything has been said or shared already.
Who am I? Why would someone want to read MY blog over some other person.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? So, why is it so damn scary?
Really! What is so scary about picking a topic and writing my thoughts about it or sharing therapeutic information? Fear of judgement and imposer syndrome (more about this later) is my block. As my life will continue to be, forever evolving, today I am going to challenge that perfection, show up and just get started. No story has been told from my perspective unless I tell it.
I am not perfect.
I don't expect my friends to be perfect.
I don't expect my clients to be perfect.
So, why do I expect myself to be perfect?
(Here is an example of my perfectionism: I looked at 3 different articles to see if "have had" made sense in the 2nd sentence of this piece. Why? Fear of judgement? Criticism? Honestly, I want this blog to be similar to how I would talk if we were face to face. I surely wouldn't stop talking in the middle of a conversation to look up proper grammar rules. Rude! )
My goal here is to provide you with 3 things:
Valuable tools and therapeutic information for personal growth.
Business resources for therapists starting and growing a successful practice.
A few laughs here and there.
Here is a list of 8 actions that you can do to work on minimizing the perfectionism that is holding you back!! Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns!!
8 Actions That Get You Past Your Perfectionism
Perfectionism can cause paralysis. It creates fear and stops you from living your dreams. When you’re worried about making everything perfect, nothing gets done.
Try these tips to get past your perfectionism so you can move forward:
1. Pay attention to your inner thoughts. Perfectionism can sneak up on you and take over your thoughts. Listen to your self-talk.
○ Try to stop negative thoughts such as, “You’re not good enough,” or, “Not like that! It must be perfect!”
○ Substitute these negative thoughts with positive thoughts, like, “This looks great! You did a good job. It’s a fine effort.”
2. Just get things done. When you’re too focused on making everything perfect, it slows you down. Instead, remember to stick to a schedule and meet deadlines.
○ Make your standards realistic.
○ Focus on completing tasks on time instead of getting lost in the tiny details of each assignment.
○ Take action. Keep moving forward. Remember, you can improve, if you need to, as you go along.
3. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness can free you from perfectionism. Remind yourself that no one is perfect and everyone has faults. Learn to forgive yourself and others for mistakes.
○ Try to find beauty in the imperfect.
4. Keep in mind that second chances are usually available. Even if you can’t do something perfectly the first time, you may have the opportunity to fix it later.
5. Celebrate tiny wins. Instead of focusing on what still needs to be done, focus on your wins. Each time you finish something it’s a small victory. It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments - even small ones.
○ Take a moment to celebrate and say thank you. Do something special for yourself.
6. Avoid being overwhelmed by a mistake. Perfectionists can get upset when things go wrong and tend to overly blame themselves. You can take responsibility for your role in the mistake without being overwhelmed by it.
○ Learn to reframe the experience. Focus on the positive aspects, such as the lessons the mistake has taught you.
○ Keep in mind that failure is a normal part of the journey to success.
○ Avoid spending days going over the mistake in your mind. Learn to move past it.
7. Find balance in your life. Perfectionism can creep into many parts of your life. It can take over your family, relationships, and career. It’s important to strive for balance.
○ Try to avoid focusing on just one aspect of your life. Instead, keep things balanced by spending time with friends, family, and coworkers.
○ Avoid neglecting important things such as your hobbies, personal health, or children.
8. Change your mindset. Changing how you think about things can be a powerful way to combat perfectionism. The way you view the world can influence every part of your being. Learn to find the good in everything and be happy with it.
○ Do you have an all or nothing attitude that paints everything in black or white? Or can you see the gray areas?
○ The key to avoiding perfectionism is to realize that the world isn’t divided into perfect parts that can always be analyzed. Instead, it’s a complicated mix that has many moving parts. The same applies to your mind.
○ Focus on making progress. Even a failure is progress because it moves you closer to finding success.
You can learn to move past perfectionism. Try these tips and see a therapist if you need more help. Once you free your mind from perfectionism, you’ll feel happier and success will come easier to you.