5 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

By Kimberley Borgens

What perfectionist tendencies do you have?

Are they holding you back from achieving the income you want coming into your business?

Have you ever wondered how to overcome procrastination in your business?

Overcoming perfectionism or the perfectionist tendencies many entrepreneurs have is a must if you want to create the kind of income you want in your business. These may show up looking like you are procrastinating, must do it all on your own, and even isolating yourself from others because they may see a flaw in you. You cannot present your products or services until they are perfect. Always working to improve without getting it out there to the people who need your knowledge and expertise.

Perfectionism is a belief that perfection can be and should be attained.

Perfectionists believe that the work or output of anything less than perfect is unacceptable.  A person who is not content with anything that is not perfect, or nearly perfect. A perfectionist will continuously look for flaws in everything they do and in those around them. This causes unnecessary stress and can often lead to loss of connections and people withdrawing from their communities because they feel they can never live up to a perfectionist’s level of standards. Which can create loneliness and increase anxiety in the perfectionists.

Let’s take a look at what perfectionism really is. Perfectionism is an irrational belief that you and/or your environment must be perfect in striving to be the best to reach the ideal result and to never make a mistake. The attitude that whatever you attempt in life must be done letter perfect with no deviation, mistakes, slip-ups or inconsistencies! That everything in life must be done to a level of perfection, which is often higher than anyone else’s standard. It is unacceptable to make a mistake! “I have no value in life unless I am successful”. Most often it is about what you achieve rather than who you are that is important.

There is no sense in trying to do something unless it can be done perfectly.  So I don’t attend things that I can’t do well.  

Perfectionism is about driving toward something that is almost unattainable.

Perfectionism versus perfect.

Accuracy can be achieved whereas perfection cannot.

As human beings, we are perfectly made. Whole, powerful, perfect, and complete just as we are. This is not what we are referring to in this topic.  We are perfectly made human beings and have great value in life. When we are talking about being perfect, we are referencing to seeing people as perfect and complete is important in our coaching business.  Perfectionism is more about unreal expectations of yourself or others, as outlined previously.

Have you heard of Kaizen?

Kaizen is Japanese for improvement. It is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. The Kaizen methodology includes making changes and monitoring results then adjusting so you can achieve your goals. Kaizen is about looking at where you are, monitoring your results, and then making changes as needed to adjust to create the results you want.

When working with clients I will use something similar to the Kaizen method by asking them what worked in this process, what didn’t work in this process, and what needs to happen next.  Consistently monitoring your results on a regular basis keeps you moving forward and moving forward in business is what builds success.

Perfectionism versus excellence.

There is a difference between excellence and perfection. Let’s take a look at just a few of the differences between perfectionism and perfectionist versus coming from excellence and being an achiever.

Perfectionism and PerfectionistsExcellence and Achievers
Perfection involves feeling bad about getting a 98% out of one hundred and always finding mistakes no matter how well you’re doing. Excellence involves enjoying what you’re doing, feeling good about what you are learning, and developing confidence as you go along.
Perfectionists will set high goals and work towards them, excepting nothing less than perfection. Anything less than is considered a failure.Achievers coming from excellence will set high goals and work hard towards them. They can be satisfied with doing a great job in achieving excellence and can celebrate how far they have come.
Perfectionists tend to be pushed towards their goals by a fear of not reaching them.  And they see anything less than a perfectly met goal and failure. Which creates anxiety and stress for themselves and those around them.People coming from excellence are often pulled forwards their goals by a desire to achieve them.  And they are happy with any steps that are made in the right direction. They create an environment that others want to participate in.
Perfectionists see the goal and nothing else.  And they are so caught up in meeting the goal, but they do not enjoy the process of growing in striving to reach the goal.People coming from excellence, enjoy the process of going after the goal more than the actual reaching of the goal itself.
Perfectionism will hold people back from delegating and getting support because “no one can do it as well as I can”!Achievers will seek out support because they see the benefit of working towards the goal and utilizing their time to serve the bigger picture.
Perfectionists are far more critical of themselves. They tend to spot tiny mistakes and imperfections in their work and in themselves as well as others they might work with. They will often hone in on these imperfections and have trouble seeing anything else. They often are more judgmental of themselves when failure does occur than anyone else will be on them.Achievers will be critical of themselves and then they will shift their attention on what do they need to do differently to make it work out better next time. They want to find solutions sot they do not make the same mistake twice.

Signs of perfectionism


  • Are usually self-critical, tense, tedious, rigid, may even be seen as pessimistic. 
  • They speak with absolutes like must, should, supposed to, need to and have to.
  • There are often recurring themes or patterns where they will get in the same cycles which could be self-defeating, high-pressure and hold them back from doing what they set out to do.
  • Are often holding themselves up against someone else, measuring against somebody else’s yardstick.
  • Are often called procrastinators by themselves and by others because they cannot see how to create the perfect scenario and until they do they will not move forward.
  • Have their performance equal their self-worth.  It is what you achieve rather than who you are that it’s important.  Or I have no value in life and left my unsuccessful. 

Think about yourself.  Do you have any perfectionist tendencies?  If so, which ones?

What are some perfectionist tendencies that you have observed in others? Have you seen how they might have been held back by them?

Maya Angelo said, “When I knew better, I did better.”

When you can recognize your perfectionist tendencies you can make a choice to do something different.

5 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism:

  1. Accept yourself as a human being.  And understand that we all make mistakes while growing up. You are growing your business up and you will make mistakes along the way. Do research and get support from coaches, consultants and mentors to minimize the mistakes you have to correct.
  2. Forgive yourself for making mistakes or perceived failures. A one-time error is a mistake and you want to learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. Pick yourself up, shake it off and forgive yourself for the errors you made and keep moving.
  3. Set realistic goals and flexible time frames for achieving of the goals. Using SMART goals, reminding yourself that the “R” is for realistic. So often people underestimate the time it will take to achieve something and that causes stress and mistakes. Create some room for unforeseen circumstances by setting realistic goals and deadlines.
  4. Developing a technique of stopping the inner critic by thanking it and letting it know that you’re okay and you are enough. Your inner critic plays a big role in perfectionism. Quiet it down by letting it know that you are safe and you can handle what is in front of you. If you are feeling anxious then it is likely you let the inner child (critic) get scared and it needs you to remind it that you have the skills and resources necessary to get you through the uncertainty.
  5. Find ways to enjoy success and achievement in the little things. Without second-guessing your ability to obtain achievement. What went well today? What was something I saw beauty in today? What did you complete today? Ask questions of yourself to find what you can celebrate and be grateful for.

Remember that the important thing is to be going in a positive direction on a regular basis. As a recovering perfectionist myself I have learned how to let others help me in the journey’s let go of unrealistic expectations that I put on myself or that I let others put on me and I find ways to be in gratitude for what I do, what my clients achieve and what else I have yet to learn. It is a day-by-day process. You catch yourself in a perfectionist moment and then you chose out of it and do something different. It is another journey to celebrate each time you let go of perfection and step into excellence for yourself, your company, and your clients. It can become a fun game to catch yourself in and will be worth the new connections you make. Come visit me over in LinkedIn and stay updated when I am posting hints, tips, ideas, and thoughts on my blog.





Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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