Welcome back Hustler. So let’s cut to the chase. Who’s a perfectionist? Who redoes things again and again because perfectionism won’t let them do it any other way?
I know I use to be. I wasn’t this overachiever but I just had this quirk of wanting things neat, tidy and perfect. This meant, when other kids were crossing out mistakes or using whiteout, I was starting all over again to make it perfect. Great for your grades, but absolutely rubbish in real life. And it didn’t take me long to figure this out. (Thankfully)
I would hustle long hours when I first started doing business, but my progress was slow and I found myself wondering why I felt so stagnant while feeling so overwhelmed at the same time. I felt like I was getting nowhere fast, but I was working my socks off everyday. It was frustrating and definitely not great on the morale and it was all due to my perfectionism. My need for things to be “perfect” before I did anything meant I would delay projects, launches and critical business actions. I would be delaying things on multiple occasions because I would find new flaws and small imperfections to fix. You end up having a never ending list of things to do.
Perfectionism is not what you want.
And the funny thing about all of this is, most people who suffer from perfectionism are not perfectionists. They don’t feel the need to be perfect. They just think they need to be perfect in order to succeed. I wasn’t going over things a hundred times because I enjoyed it. I was doing it because I thought the whole thing would fail if I didn’t. And that’s the main point of this post guys. Perfectionism is the last thing you need if you want to succeed in entrepreneurship, or in life in general.
There’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is subjective. As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Which means your perfectionism is also very subjection. All those standards and ideas you have are entirely self-inflicted and they’re hurting you in very objective ways.
Here’s a video I love that explains what the problem with perfectionism is in very simple terms.
Perfectionism is making you fail
Delays in business cost you money, opportunities and exposure. Delays in regard to passive income is even worse because it hampers momentum. (Which I already went over on how vital momentum is to creating passive income)
It’s so easy to overload yourself with the details and get tunnel vision. This tunnel vision is going to make you fail before you even get started properly. You’re going to fail to start your business, post that photo, publish that article, send that sales pitch out or create that video. etc etc
Perfectionism is the worse trait a person can have if they want to get anything done when they need it done. You end up running on what feels like a treadmill. You’re going nowhere, but you’re definitely doing something and that’s what it does to you. It wares you down after awhile and your motivation goes down. You’re less resilient and you’re less motivated.
It’s hard to stay motivated if you’re doing so much, but feel like you’re going nowhere.
It’s also the peak of irony life. The fear or failure drives most perfectionist tendencies and yet it’s one of the most critical traits to identify a person who is going to fail.
Perfectionism ruins your health
Have you ever stressed over details for a project? The same details no one else is bothered with. You’re thinking about it constantly and it gives you restless nights. You put so much thought into things that the project is no longer just a project. It’s personal, and you feel like you have to be “perfect” before showing the world what you’ve done. God forbid if you receive any negative criticism whatsoever. That would feel like a personal attack!
Yeah, most of us have reached the dangerous levels of perfectionism before. Just don’t stay there.
Perfectionism has a big impact on your health if you’re constantly trying to achieve it. It causes unnecessary stress, which if experienced over a long period of time can develop into anxiety. It chips away at your self-esteem and confidence which is the worse thing you can ever do to yourself. Not the objective delays. Not the potentially lost of business. That’s nothing compared to the sever consequences of lowered self-esteem and self confidence has.
That spreads to all areas of your life and not just that one project you’re working on.
One study found that the higher degree of perfectionism found in individuals is also correlated to the higher chance of psychological disorder. The most common being general anxiety.
Perfectionism steals your achievements
Any person who suffers from perfectionism, and I am going to use the word suffer to describe it. Will tell you they never feel satisfied or happy about what they do. It could always be better and this feeling eats away all the amazing amounts of effort they put in.
All the creativity, the hustling and brilliance is never celebrated. Perfectionism steals it away from the person and all you’re left with is thinking how bad of a job you’ve done. How that date could have been better. How that conversation could have been better. How that launch could have been better. better, better, better.
All this focus about being better makes life feel incredibly heavy. It’s horrible to never acknowledge your achievements. You don’t have to throw a party for every small achievement you make, but a moment of pride makes life happier. And that’s the ultimate goal in life.
Trying to reach a state of happiness more times than not.
It’s hard being happy when you’re constantly not satisfied with what you have.
How to stop your perfectionist ways
I don’t think I was ever on the extreme end of perfectionism but I did experience the negative impacts from it, and I’ve learnt to curb my perfectionism in a few simple ways.
I spent a stupid amount of time to write my first few blog posts for this site and it was just not sustainable. I was typing, stoping, reading what I had thus far and then editing it. This process would go on and on until I was happy with the finished product. This made creating this blog a lot slower than I had liked and a lot harder than it should have been.
If you were here since day one, you’ll know what I mean with slow progress on posts and pages being built. But once I stopped myself from proofreading my progress skyrocketed. It wasn’t just writing more posts, it was also getting more peripheral tasks done too. The layout, the menu bars, the e-mail forms etc. I increased my productivity by simply not needing everything to be perfect.
The only time I proofread a post now is if it has a track record of success and I want to optimise it. That means if it’s not my top 10 traffic gainers this month, I don’t bother going back to it. Because why should I? It goes back to the 80/20 rule. The top 10 posts on my site brings just about 60% of all traffic. Why would I slave away for hours on posts that aren’t the core parts of my blog? It simply doesn’t make sense in a productivity point of view.
Don’t hyper focus on one task for too long
This is a little tricky to explain, because I’ve spent the last 6 years of my life trying to do one task at a time and not to multi-task. Well, I can’t multi-task even if I wanted to, but this idea of solo task focusing started in university when I had to find a way to beat my racing thoughts from my bipolar.
I started training myself to clear my head and only focus on one task at a time, but over time that meant I was finding myself obsessing over each task until it was perfect. Not exactly what I was going for, so I had to figure a way to find my balance. I did this by breaking tasks down into micro-tasks. For example, a blog post would typically have about 4 segments of work I need to complete.
- First draft
- Tidy up the structure and basic SEO
- In post images
- Feature image and Pinterest images
I don’t try to finish a post in one go, but instead finish one segment of work in one go and then direct my focus onto something else before doing another segment. This way I prevent myself from going over the whole post too many times and falling into the trap of never ending editing.
Give yourself reasonable deadlines and stick to them
Sticking to deadlines is the single most effective way to keep your perfectionism in control. You only have 24 hours in a day and there is only so much work you can possibly do. By giving yourself reasonable deadlines and sticking to them no matter what, you are limiting the chance for your perfectionism to get in the way of you making progress.
I tell myself that I want x amount of posts to be completed for a given month and I go about creating a rough schedule on when these posts need to be published. I stick to it no matter what, which forces me to keep progress on track. I have no choice but to publish, but to release, but to send out whatever it is, instead of keeping it in permanent editing mode.
I had to deal with my perfectionism when I started blogging, but this also applies to every other aspect of life.
Success and failure is not defined by every single detail being exactly the way you want. You will not fail if you overlook the small details now and again. Nor will you definitely succeed in life if you do everything “perfectly”.
If you find yourself progressing slowly or not getting as much done as you want, but you can honestly say you’re working hard. Perfectionism maybe the reason.
You need to stop looking for perfection and accept that getting 100 things done is better than 1 thing perfect. It’s not a lesson we teach people enough and many have the misconception that quality is better than quantity ALL the time.
It’s wrong. It’s not true and you’re failing yourself for believing it.
Other resources you should check out:
- Learn why you fail to reach your goals and a simple brain hack to help you reach them
- Understand the importance of self-belief and how it influences your success
- Simple tricks to make your to do list more effective and your days more productive
- Discover how I manage my bipolar with passive income and how I’ve created the perfect life for myself