Is perfectionism strangling your bottom line?

Practice makes perfect.  It’s a phrase we’ve heard over and over again quite often held in such high regard it’s almost impossible to have it not roll off your lips from habit.  Ugh.  As an entrepreneur, however, this phrase was the cog in the wheel of serious momentum in my business.  Perfectionism held my team back and it impacted my bottom line in a not so pretty way.  Something had to change and that something was actually a someone, me.

A proud subscriber to the gold star club, I had the makings of a classic overachiever.  Problem is the perfection that came along with this game, had me constantly scrambling for the next result.  Over time, this was unsustainable in life and business.  My love affair with perfection was leaving me burnt out, spinning my wheels and pinching off the cashflow.  How did this happen? Quite easily.

When we are so deeply embroiled in perfectionism in our businesses, in our brands, damn even in our copy, it gives us a tremendously myopic view of what’s possible for us, our businesses and what we can create in our lives.  Perfectionism is one of those nasty little competitions we play with ourselves that can leave us feeling just short of the finish line.  It can start as simply as something like an email.  You set the intention to email someone to follow up about an opportunity.  Seems innocent enough, right?

You’re excited about this opportunity.  It could open doors for you, maybe lead to some additional money flowing in or a myriad of other possibilities.  You start writing your email.  It flows freely.  You’re feeling awesome.  And then the moment of truth comes – it’s time to hit send.  You position your cursor over “send.”  You stop.  Proofread.

I love me some proofreading, personally.  This is the part of the story where you could proofread, hit send and let it go, but more often than not, if you fall into the pit of perfectionism, this is where you ultimately get tripped up.  You don’t send the email.  You go beyond proofreading.  You start overanalyzing and writing and rewriting and rewriting until you’ve lost that juicy spark of motivation you began with.  Now you’re questioning everything and as you step away, you decide to think things over.  That golden opportunity is now sitting in your drafts folder collecting dust.  And it certainly won’t be making you money there.

It doesn’t stop there.  You think about that email.  You start to run various scenarios in your head.  Your mind starts to spin.  You start to question if you’ve covered all the details that you intended to and rush back to your drafts folder.  You painstakingly dissect your email again and find yourself rewriting again.  This goes on and on, until days later, you haven’t followed up and you’re wondering why you’re sitting in neutral.  Too much emphasis on unimportant details hijacked your possibility party and cut off your flow of momentum.

Perfection is dangerous.  It’s a cash flow block, it’s a connection block, it’s a visibility block and it’s a profit block and one that can keep us from attaining our big vision.  The root of perfectionism is fear.  It’s the space of not wanting to let go and see what happens.  It’s a space of trying to control a situation that may be out of your control. Perfectionism attempts to shine the light on your shortcomings, instead of showcasing the good you already have.  Perfectionism is the opposite of acceptance.  It’s a cover for unworthiness.

It can cause you to question everything you stand for, everything you’re talented at, everything you’ve ever accomplished.  It can make one idea, one campaign, one email just short of good enough and keep you hypercritically examining each and every one of your moves until you “prove” that you’ve come up short.  While perfectionism is a dead end street, acceptance is the four lane highway with no traffic.

When we can open up to our creative ideas, our insights, our possibilities without judging them in the creation process, there’s a shift that occurs.  Momentum starts to build when we’re not there trying to block it or doctor it.  When we let go of controlling outcomes and opening up to the possibility of allowing them to be more expansive than we had imagined, we are stepping away from perfectionism.  We get into the space of letting things unfold and learning to make tweaks and adjustments as we move forward.

With one step in front of the other, in a state of allowing the idea to come to fruition, we open up to receive a better solution.  It may not look like how we expect, in fact, it may be better.  In order to get there, we have to let go, not judge ourselves or the process and most importantly release attachment to things being perfect.

Humans beings in their nature aren’t perfect.  Accept, allow and watch your profits, your ideas, your business grow and thrive.

What one step are you going to take today to kick perfectionism to the curb?

Let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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