The Paralysis of Perfection

We all want to put our best foot forward, but sometimes it can go too far. At some point you’re going to have to move on to another project or assignment. What do you do when your desire to have everything perfect is paralyzing you?

I have definitely suffered from this: the Paralysis of Perfection. It really can be paralyzing  – to the point that you end up getting nothing done because it will never be perfect enough. And that’s the problem: NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT! As painful as that is to admit, it’s the truth. And the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you’ll be able to get some real work done.

It can be difficult because your business is your baby and you want to do your best and have everything come together the way you imagined it in your head. Sometimes you can do that, and sometimes it doesn’t quite make the mark. Either way, you have to move on or your business will suffer. I realized this when I would sit on ideas and projects FOREVER and never get to them because I was just stuck. I couldn’t execute it EXACTLY the way I wanted, or I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was, but it just wasn’t quite right.

In the end, they were excuses. Then, I started to look around and realize that other people are out here going for it! They’re making mistakes and learning from them – and they’re still thriving! They still have clients even though their book had a typo in it! They still have a growing social media following even though their hair and makeup aren’t on point. They are doing what they love even though they’re not perfect.

So, instead of sitting on anything else, I decided to go for it. Do my best, and then let it go. Here are some of my personal tips for overcoming perfectionism: 

  1. Do your best. If you feel like you’ve really put your best into a project, then that’s all you can ask of yourself. Your best won’t always be good enough, but that’s all you can do. If you’ve really done your best, then let that be good enough for you.
  2. Set a deadline. If you have a deadline, you know that your project has to be finished NO MATTER WHAT. This can be hard for entrepreneurs. If you don’t have a boss that’s breathing down your neck waiting for an assignment to be finished, then you don’t really have any accountability. So, be accountable to yourself.
  3. Ask for a second opinion. If you’re really struggling with letting go of a project, ask a friend for their opinion. Sometimes you’re too close to it and all you can see are the perceived flaws. Ask for their candid opinion – and truly accept their answer!
  4. Learn from your mistakes. You’re going to mess up. When you do, learn from your mistakes and figure out how to avoid them in the future. Don’t dwell on them or beat yourself up. It will only inhibit your growth and slow progress.
  5. Keep going. Don’t let the setbacks keep you stuck. Forgive yourself and keep going.

The point of having a business is to do what you love, help others and support yourself. You can’t do any of those things if you’re stuck because of perfectionism. Give yourself permission to be human and share your gift with the world 🙂

How do you get over the paralysis of perfection?

Best wishes to you + your business,