How to overcome the three main causes of perfectionism…

Have you ever found yourself measuring you against other people’s achievements? I’ve done that a fair few times in my own life.

I bet we both came up with less than brilliant results… Quite often those results are the very rods I use to beat myself up with: like “when (…this) happens THEN I’ll be good enough/happy/rich/successful (fill in your own!) or “not yet, I’m busy doing… first”

And then the all-time favourite: “It’s not perfect yet”, which really boils down to “I’m not perfect”.

How awful is that?

Personally, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to live up to expectations of absolute perfection. I suspect you don’t either.

Why then do we both treat ourselves that way?

Expecting perfect…

Having pondered that dilemma long and hard, I started speaking to clients, people in my networking groups and friends. Basically, anyone who would talk to me about why we tend to beat ourselves up and why we compare ourselves to others.

It became clear that we all hide our greatness behind unrealistic self-expectations.

Seriously, perfectionism is over-rated so why do we place ‘perfect’ as our number one priority for all we do?

Why is ‘I’m (or) it’s not perfect’ the single most stated reason for not doing what makes your heart sing?

Let’s cut that out now, shall we!

Three main causes and how to overcome them

Well, here are three main reasons where us recovering perfectionists* tend to slip up:

1) Fear of success

I know who’d have thought it! Yes, a lot of us are so scared of succeeding that we tend to procrastinate about getting anything done. So many of us know we give value, offer great services, yet the fear of success stops us doing anything more.

A few ladies in my networking group found this.

I started a ‘Celebration Friday’ in my facebook groups… None of us has any issues celebrating successes now. In fact, we cheer each other on and remind each other just how awesome we are!

Try practising acceptance, of yourself, others and life in general.

Acceptance of who you are means understanding you are actually perfect exactly as you are now. Yes you have quirks and oddities – who doesn’t?

It’s those weird little things about you we love most, and those very quirks will lead to your success.

So, how would you define success?

Understand that success means different things to different people.

Start small then gradually increase in baby-steps, soon you will have accepted who you are, understand those around you and will be accepting success in all its forms.

The key here is acceptance!

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone”. Reba McEntire

2) Fear of failure

Some people call this analysis paralysis. You are so busy analysing everything that you are actually stuck in a perpetual non-decision-making cycle.

Quit it! Make a decision to be successful and you will be.

Science shows us the best way through any failure is to do something about it.

How else are you going to learn what works if you haven’t even tried!

Stop thinking, waiting and holding yourself back. Put your stake in the ground and go for it.

You deserve to know just how much of a success you can be, so try, act, do. Learn your lessons and grow from them.

I see this at the start of working with a new client. The pain and struggle of making a decision to succeed… a few short weeks later, they are on fire! It is so beautiful to see that transformation.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. Winston Churchill

3) Excuses

Oh yes, perfectionism is an excuse for not wanting to move forward.

I don’t know about you, but I sure can find excuses as to why something isn’t perfect or good enough to go out into the world.

A short while back, I was trying to perfect Facebook lives. Not wanting anything to be sent live until I had rehearsed and nailed it, I first made reasons not to write scripts, then excuses to not rehearse.

Eventually, I practised in front of friends…

After a few practices, my friends pointed out my rehearsed lives were nowhere near as fun and interactive as the ‘on the fly’ lives.

Those ‘umms’ and ‘ahs’ and corrections made my ‘lives’ authentically me. Are they perfect now? NO! That makes people want to watch more.

There we go, some of my excuses backfired. I now do weekly lives!

Good enough is good enough. Result.

What I see my clients learning time and time again, is what good enough means for them. Once over the barriers to success, they too become recovering perfectionists.

Most importantly: life gets so much easier for them too!

“Once your excuses are gone, you will simply have to settle for being awesome!” Lorii Myers

Overcome these three stumbling blocks and you will have learned the art of being great! No, awesome!

Share your thoughts: Comment below, pop me an email or join my Facebook page Souls Compass

*First heard mentioned by Stella Orange on one of her workshops!


Cheryl-lya is a Soul Adventurer and Planning Queen: helping women around the globe plan launch and grow successful sustainable businesses. She runs workshops alongside one-to-one coaching. Contact her: call UK mobile 07527 303 911, or visit her website Say ‘hello’ or share your joys via email:


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