The Paralyzing Effect of Perfectionism

Do you know it took me 1 week to write this post? 1 week.


Because I wanted it to be perfect. So I thought about it. A LOT. And then I realized what a hypocrite I was being. So let’s jump in. Let’s do this people.

But first, I’d like to point out that I am VERY AWARE this is not a new topic! (Really, are there any new topics anymore?)

You can read some pretty great insights into fear, procrastination and perfectionism HERE, HERE and HERE to name just a few.

One great thinker on this is Michael Hyatt (his podcast “This Is Your Life” has been life changing for me). In one of his podcast episodes, he offers 3 steps to escaping the perfectionist habit. I’d like to go into those a bit and hope you can find a way to apply them to your life.

  1. Change your Paradigm.

Shift your perspective. What you’re creating isn’t permanent. You can change it if you don’t like it or if it doesn’t have the outcome you were hoping for. This is true for so many thing in life. Many times we are paralyzed with fear of beginning because we tell ourselves that when we do begin, it needs to be perfect. It’s not true!!! What really needs to happen is your talent, your idea….YOU need to get out there. The world needs YOU, in all your imperfect glory. So shift that paradigm, relax!

2. Narrow your Focus.

Don’t get stuck in the big, huge picture. This is me. 100%. I don’t start because it seems SO BIG…and I don’t know how to make something SO BIG, well…perfect. So I don’t begin. But if you can narrow your focus, really get it down to what is the smallest thing you can do to begin, what is the smallest area you can focus on…then that’s good enough! Start there! Narrow that focus, get out some of that spark inside of you, and move forward! This also means learning how to say “no,” or rather, really knowing what you will say “yes” to in life. If your energy is going every-which-way, you’re productivity goes down. If you’re trying to be successful in MANY things, you’re successful in NOTHING. Great book about this by the way, check out “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown. Amazing stuff right there. I could go on and on about Narrowing Your Focus, so I think I will….in another post!


from “Essentialism” The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

3. Don’t Confuse Perfection With Excellence

If you’re waiting for perfection, excellence will never happen. Why? Because if you think something has to be perfect to be excellent, you’ll never begin! I love why Michael Hyatt says about this:

“Perfectionism is an ideal. It doesn’t exist in the real world.Everything we publish, everything we create, everything we manufacture, everything we build, could be improved.”
“Is it excellent?” is REALLY the question you need to ask yourself. Not is it perfect. At some point you have to get your ideas, your thoughts, YOU, out into the world…or else you become stagnant. You no longer create. You cannot move on. You’re stuck. Be excellent. (Hint: You already ARE excellent)
So to close this up, don’t aim for perfection. In fact, let’s remove that word from our vocabulary today. There’s an action step for you! Stop saying “perfect” stop thinking the word “perfect.” Let’s switch to Excellence. We avoid the paralyzing effect of perfection by shifting our paradigm to one of excellence.
So today, let’s be excellent. Or should I say, let’s continue to be excellent.
I’d like to close my very first blog post (and every one hereafter) with a powerful quote from one of my most favorite people, Dr. Stephen Covey:
“Live Life in Crescendo! Your Most Important Work Is Always Ahead of You.”

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