Do You Have Perfectionist Traits? Here’s How they May Not Be Serving You

By Kimberley Borgens

Many women entrepreneurs constantly strive for perfection, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Overcoming perfectionism is essential for achieving greater success and fulfillment in your entrepreneurial journey. If you can relate to constantly feeling like your work is never quite good enough, know that you’re not alone.

Perfectionism is a common problem and can be incredibly harmful to our businesses. In fact, I believe that, in one way or another, we all have perfectionist tendencies. So, today, I’ll explore how these habits can hold us back by fueling our fears and leaving us stagnant. I’ll also make sure to leave you with some concrete strategies for overcoming perfectionism and achieving greater success and fulfillment in your entrepreneurial journey.

Perfectionism and Fear of Failure

Perfectionism can often be traced back to a deep-seated fear of failure. When we set impossibly high standards for ourselves, we’re really just trying to avoid the pain and embarrassment of falling short. Unfortunately, this fear of failure can prevent us from taking risks and trying new things that are essential for growth and innovation in our businesses.

Perceived comfort

The problem is that perfectionism creates a “safe” bubble around us, where we can hide from criticism and protect ourselves from disappointment. But in reality, this bubble is holding us back from reaching our true potential. By avoiding risks and clinging to our comfort zones, we’re missing out on the chance to learn, grow, and achieve amazing things.

The comparison trap

What’s worse is the harmful habit of comparing ourselves to others can fuel perfectionism and exacerbate our fear of failure. When we constantly attempt to measure ourselves against other entrepreneurs who seem to have it all together, we start to feel like we’re not measuring up. We begin to believe that we’ll never be as successful or talented as they are, so why even bother trying? But the truth is, these comparisons are often based on incomplete information, and we’re not seeing the behind-the-scenes struggles and failures that every entrepreneur experiences.

In the words of Maya Angelou – “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

So, if you find yourself feeling stuck, it’s important to remember that failure is not the end of the story. In fact, it’s often the first step on the road to success. By overcoming perfectionism, taking risks, making mistakes, and learning from them, we can build resilience, confidence, and a stronger foundation for our businesses.

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Have you ever found yourself procrastinating on an important task because you can’t seem to get it just right? It’s a common experience for many of us. Perfectionism can often lead to procrastination as we struggle to meet our impossibly high standards, so we try to avoid the possibility of failure.

But here’s the thing: procrastination due to perfectionism can be just as damaging to our businesses as not trying at all. When we put off important tasks or delay making important decisions, we’re essentially putting our businesses on hold. We’re missing out on opportunities, losing momentum, and setting ourselves up for even more stress and pressure down the road.

The root cause of this procrastination is often a fear of failure and an unwillingness to try something new. We convince ourselves we’re not ready yet or need more time to get everything right. But in reality, we’re just letting our fear and self-doubt hold us back.

The good news is that there are strategies we can use to overcome perfectionism and avoid procrastination. By breaking down our tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and setting realistic goals for ourselves, we can make progress without getting bogged down by perfectionism. 

And by developing techniques for stopping the inner critic and negative self-talk that can fuel perfectionism, we can free ourselves from the fear of failure and start taking the risks that are essential for growth and success.

Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to not be perfect. By embracing our imperfections and learning from our failures, we can build stronger, more resilient businesses and become the successful entrepreneurs we were always meant to be.

Perfectionism and Burnout

Striving for perfection may seem like a positive quality, but in the end, it can lead to burnout. When we try to measure up to impossibly high standards, we put ourselves under immense pressure to meet them. This constant pressure can lead to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, ultimately resulting in burnout.

It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of perfectionism. We want to create a stand-out product or service, provide the best customer experience, and maintain a flawless reputation. But when we’re constantly striving for perfection, we neglect our own needs and well-being.

Burnout can be detrimental to our businesses in the long run. We lose motivation, creativity, and productivity when we’re burned out. We may also experience physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and insomnia, making it even harder to keep up with the business’s demands.

It’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and take steps to prevent it. This can include taking breaks, delegating tasks, and setting boundaries. By prioritizing our own well-being and avoiding the trap of perfectionism, we can maintain our passion and drive for our businesses without sacrificing our health and happiness.

Overcoming Perfectionism

While it can be challenging, overcoming perfectionism is possible. By implementing strategies to accept ourselves, set goals, and silence our inner critic, we can break free from the harmful cycle of perfectionism and achieve success on our own terms. Here are some things to keep in mind to break free of the perfectionism trap:

  • Accept and forgive yourself: First and foremost, it’s essential to accept yourself for who you are. This means recognizing that perfection is an impossible standard and embracing our failures as a natural part of the human experience. By shifting your mindset in this way, you can cultivate a sense of self-compassion that allows you to move forward without the pressure of being perfect.
  • Set realistic goals: Setting goals is another powerful way to combat perfectionism. When you focus on specific, measurable goals, you can make progress without getting bogged down by the fear of failure. It’s important to break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps to build momentum and celebrate your achievements along the way.
  • Quiet the inner critic: Another effective strategy is to develop a technique for stopping our inner critic in its tracks. This can involve techniques like mindfulness, positive affirmations, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. By learning to recognize and challenge your negative self-talk, you can silence the voice of perfectionism and cultivate a more positive, supportive inner dialogue.
  • Celebrate your wins: Finally, finding ways to enjoy success and achievements in the little things can help you avoid perfectionism and maintain motivation. Celebrating small wins and appreciating your progress can help you stay motivated and committed to your goals without getting bogged down by perfectionism.

Overall, overcoming perfectionism is a process that takes time and effort. But by embracing our imperfections, setting achievable goals, and silencing our inner critic, you can break free from the harmful cycle of perfectionism and achieve success in a way that feels authentic and sustainable.

Progress Over Perfection

Even though perfectionism is a common struggle, with the right mindset and strategies, we can overcome perfectionism and achieve our goals with more ease and joy.

As entrepreneurs, let’s strive for progress, not perfection. Let’s celebrate our successes and learn from our failures as we keep moving forward toward our dreams. With kindness, compassion, and a growth mindset, we can overcome perfectionism and create businesses that truly reflect our passions and values.

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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