Is Perfectionism Killing Your Self Confidence?
It’s the ultimate combination really… and by ultimate I mean the one that is going to tear you down faster than you can say ‘where’s my extra strength vanilla latte?’ You know how you won’t let a project go until it’s just right? Perhaps you start something, only to never finish it because you can’t get it just the way you want? I know you’re feeling some of this, you wouldn’t be reading if you weren’t. Is perfectionism killing your self confidence too?
When we talk about self confidence, we are referring to our belief in ourselves to achieve or do something in particular.
That is, I am confident in myself when it comes to my ability to write. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I believe I write quite well, I receive a lot of positive feedback about it and therefore I feel confident when it comes to writing.
Self confidence isn’t a broad term applied to your confidence in your ability to do all things, all the time. Although it is often used this way, this is more of a reference to self esteem.
Which is why perfectionism has a direct link to a lower self confidence.
Do any of these sound familiar?
“This product I’ve created isn’t good enough, I can’t release it like this.”
“Other’s have written blog posts about this same topic and they are far better and far more popular than me. I won’t write it.”
“My images aren’t light/bright/perfect enough. I won’t post to Instagram today.”
When your own self belief is so low that you hold yourself back from sharing your message, no matter how important it is, you give over your power to perfectionism.
So you end up in this downward spiral.
It’s not good enough —-> I can’t release something that’s not perfect —–> It’s not perfect —–> I’m not perfect —–> I’m not good enough.
How do you stop it?
1 – Understand Where Your Concept of Perfection Is Coming From
Is this a self imposed perfect image? Most of the time this is the case. We put far more pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to produce perfection than others would ever put on us.
Do you think the first Apple iPhone was perfect? Absolutely not! But it was still released! Do you think the next iPhone will be perfect? Not at all… but it won’t stop Apple from releasing it either.
Ask yourself – if I release this and it’s not perfect (in my own eyes), what is the worst that can happen?
And before you go down the rabbit warren of ‘people will hate it and people will hate me’, sit there and actually delve deep into your mindset around this. Will anyone actually notice if your text is slightly off centre? Is your perfectionism stopping you from sharing what’s truly important?
Understanding the source of your idea of perfection will help you reassess what is acceptable, and being able to achieve that time and time again will result in a massive boost to your self confidence.
2 – Set Realistic Expectations
Avoid the idea that you have to be ‘all or nothing’. For so long I lived in the bubble of ‘if I can’t do it all 100% perfect then what’s the point in doing it at all…’ Uh huh, seriously, I owned that bubble. But it didn’t get me anywhere.
In fact, it started sending my business backwards. I spent so much time tweaking and ‘perfecting’ the content I had already put out, I had no time to produce anything new.
I thought that if I couldn’t produce 5 blog posts a week (because apparently that’s how many someone said you should be producing at some stage and the number just stuck) then I shouldn’t bother at all. How crazy is that? Even writing it makes me feel silly.
Set yourself a realistic expectation. It might be to just post once a week. It might be to write 5 pages for your eBook. Or maybe even spend 15 minutes a day writing. Once you start consistently meeting that expectation, then increase it. Knowing you can meet the expectations you set will mean your confidence in yourself will increase.
3 – Done is Better Than Perfect
Considering ‘perfect’ doesn’t actually exist, what is left? Done! That’s it! Your project will either be done, or not done. Which one are you going to choose?
Is your half finished project that is just sitting there costing you money? Could you be making an income if you actually released it?
This is something I have sat on for way too long and has held me back in my earning potential. Now I’m kicking myself for the lost revenue because what I had wasn’t ‘perfect’.
Is your lack of confidence around your earning potential due to your perfectionism? Finish your project and release it. Before it is perfect. Because I promise you – I will never be perfect and therefore never be released. Just let it go and earn the money.
4 – Remind Yourself, Perfection is a Fairy Tale
You’ve heard it all before: perfection doesn’t exist, nothing is perfect…. But it wasn’t until I heard it said in this way that it clicked. ‘Perfect is a fairy tale’. Something that is entirely made up.
I now have this little ‘mantra’ written everywhere. The wallpaper on my phone and laptop, on my fridge, on my desk and at the top of every new page I start in my notebooks. It’s everywhere.
Do whatever you need to do each day to remind yourself that perfection is a fairy tale.
5 – Focus on Your Strengths – Outsource Your Weaknesses
This is like supercharging your perfectionism + self confidence defences. Have you ever done a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on yourself? It’s the first two that you can focus on here – your strengths and weaknesses.
Identify the areas of your business that you have strengths in and love doing. For me some of these include writing, talking and connecting with others online and creating new graphics and imagery for my site. These are all things I love doing and look forward to doing each day.
Then there’s your weaknesses and/or things you don’t like doing. For me it’s bookkeeping, editing (because once I’ve written something I don’t want to go and read it again…) and updating old blog images. <- That right there is now my list of things I need to outsource.
I don’t need to be fantastic at everything – that’s just not possible. But as solo business owners and bloggers we have this idea that we need to be the Jack of all trades. It’s just too much.
Why spend your time doing something you don’t like and that you will never feel is good enough because you’ve identified it as your weakness? Outsource it!
But don’t think outsourcing means you have to shell out a ton of money. Think about the people you have around you and the connections you have. Perhaps you can exchange with someone – maybe you could create graphics for someone else in exchange for editing your posts?
You can also ask family or friends for help too. My super amazing hubby to be is a whiz when it comes to editing so he reads everything I post. I also have a gorgeous friend who takes amazing stock photos so she lets me use them in exchange for social media coaching. Wins all round.
If you can’t find anyone close to you with the skills you need, you can also look to an online space like Fiverr or AirTasker. Or, if you’re planning on using someone regularly, why not hire a virtual assistant (VA)? What tasks do you have that you could potentially outsource?
Self confidence doesn’t always naturally happen, you need to work on it. And while you’re always chasing perfection, it is impossible to have a healthy level of self confidence. Let your need for perfection go and remember to take imperfect action.
Is perfectionism killing your self confidence? What are you holding yourself back from?