Q: How can I get over my need for perfection? It seems like it freezes me!

scared

(image from: http://fermentationwineblog.com/2012/11/dont-scare-the-wine-drinkers-please/scared/)

A: Oh boy.  Good thing I don’t know ANYTHING about this. I’m being sarcastic, of course.  I suffered from perfection-itis for years. I still do around some things…my house for example.  I have lots of animals (lots!) and I get anxiety anytime I think someone might just “stop by”.  YOU CAN’T JUST STOP BY!  I need at least a two hour notice to feel ready.  Why is this? Because I have a tiny itty bitty amount of shame around how many animals I have and how much I love them. I remember telling my Mom when I was a little girl that I was pretty sure I liked animals better than people and she told me that was silly.  She doesn’t have the love of animals like I do, so she meant well but didn’t understand.

I use this as an example to illustrate that perfection-itis usually has deep roots in shame.  TED Talk phenom Brene Brown (if you haven’t watched her talks, go HERE) says this about perfection:

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

Ouch.  Perfectionism is not just icky, it’s dangerous.  So how can  you “get over it”?  It has to start deep inside.  Asking yourself questions like,”What am I afraid people will think of me if I’m not perfect?”  “What am I ashamed of that makes me want to hide who I really am?” “What if people see that I don’t really have it all together?”

Just the other day I was coaching a woman and she mentioned that her perfectionism has her frozen.  When I asked what her Core Desired Feelings were, she said that she didn’t feel ready to share them.  I asked if that was because they weren’t perfectly right yet.  She said yes.  I realized that she couldn’t live her CDF’s until she released the idea that they have to be all figured out, solid, and unchanging.

What if, as you are starting and building your business people saw the real you–not the perfectly put together, always bright and shiny–you?  What if they connected more strongly to you because of your willingness to not be perfect?  

I feel ya.  I really, really do.  One quick Google search of “Women Business Coaches” will show you lots of blow-out hair do’s, sparkly, skinny, tanned, and all put-together women.  That isn’t me.  But I am good at this.  I have a gift that if I let my need for perfection stop me from giving, I deny myself and you.  Let’s focus on how to be of service to the world, not on if you are perfect.