Whats surprising is a lot of people have this inner drive and desire to do something bigger with their life… yet NEVER do it! I bet if you and I sat down and talked, you would have a deep passion for something, and if I asked you “why haven’t you moved forward and turned that passion into a business?” … you’d probably respond with, “well, because I can’t” or “I don’t know how” or “I’m not smart enough”. Blah, blah, blah!!! First I want to say, ANYTHING someone else has done, you can do it too!!! Typically the doubt and the fear stems from the overwhelming feeling of potential failure. You might not directly relate it to that, but most likely, if you’ve talked yourself out of something, that probably why.
So, today I want to dive in to what I call, “Perfection Paralysis”. Perfection paralysis is the idea that because you want something to be perfect, if there’s the potential that it’s not going to be, you don’t even try. I’m sure you’ve been there before, whether it’s wanting to submit a proposal at work or create a business for yourself. There are times when we are so fearful that the thing we want to do will get criticized or won’t be perfect, so we don’t even attempt to do it. This can apply to things like writing a book, launching a podcast, or starting your own business. If you want to do something great but something else is holding you back, chances are part of that is perfection paralysis. So what do you do?
A big part of perfection paralysis is the fear of judgment. I know you don’t want to be told something you did isn’t good enough, you don’t want to get a bad review or hear a bad comment about something you’re proud of. Because you don’t want to be judged, you may not even attempt that goal. Fear of judgment, being told we aren’t good enough, usually stems from childhood. If you had a parent tell you that you weren’t good enough or you could have done that better, that criticism stayed with you all the way to adulthood. When you were told those things you were robbed of your courage, and courage is what gets us through fear and failure.
Now that we know where fear of judgment comes from we can recognize that how we were treated in the past doesn’t have to be how we see ourselves now and in the future. Hearing those comments repeated in your head from your past has to stop now. The first step to overcoming this paralysis is to mute those voices. They are the echoing of your past and they are no longer nor were they ever true. Don’t allow the judgement of someone years ago effect how your life progresses now. You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to.
Some of my first steps towards overcoming thoughts of perfection and judgment were that I had to mute that voice from the past, and create a new goal for myself. Every time I’d think of doing something new I’d hear “do better” in my head. It was something that deterred me from even thinking that my thought was valuable.
Now I have to remind myself that that little voice isn’t coming from me at all, it’s coming from my past. I have to put it on mute and remember that I don’t deserve to think that way and that it’s okay to have new thoughts in unknown territory.
Along with that I had to set a new goal for myself that wasn’t about perfection. I no longer have to be perfect and that’s great. My new goal is to just get myself out there and try it, I can always fix it later; meaning I just need to try something whether it’s putting my thought and ideas on paper or signing up for that new class. Once I get started I can make adjustments but I can’t fix anything if I haven’t made an attempt.
From Paralegal to Public Speaker
Around 1999 I had been working part time as a personal trainer, which allowed me to phase out of my paralegal job and focus on fitness and being a stay at home mom. I’d been a stay at home mom for about a year and thought that other mothers would want to hear and learn from my story. I thought that the best way to do this was through a seminar in a hotel conference room with flyers, the whole deal. I was going to get contact information from a parenting magazine subscription list, and spend a lot of money to get this venture on its feet.
In the end put in a ton of effort, I spent a ton of money and had my first seminar. A total of six people came, four of which were former co-workers from my paralegal job. I wanted to share this with you because it was how I learned that the first attempt is not a failure; it’s just a starting point. I would have never known that my system for running this seminar wouldn’t work until I tried it. After that first one I got much better at giving the second and third because I learned from my first attempt. You have to suck at something in order to be able to fix it, and you can’t do that if you’re afraid to try or are afraid of what people may say. So put yourself out there and see what happens. Worst case is you’ll suck, but the second attempt will be infinitely better because the first is out of the way.
Take away… the take away is that I don’t want your fears to hold you back from moving forward with something that could change the course of your life. Figure out what’s causing you to be stuck. Overcome that, whether its with therapy or willpower, but move forward. You deserve to live a life fueled with passion!
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Henry Killingsworth says
I like how you explained that it is important to set goals that aren’t about perfection when starting a business. I would think that it would be a good idea to work with a project management company when in this situation. That way you can go through the process of starting a business with someone who has done it before and has experience.