It has to be perfect. (Limiting Belief #3)
Oh, this limiting belief is near and dear to my heart. That’s coming from a lady who’s been putting off starting her dream career as a coach for years (and years).
When I left NYC, the goal was to start my own career doing what I really loved. At the time, I wasn’t totally sure what that was but I knew deep down, it was helping/coaching women with more than clothes/shopping.
It has been almost 5 years since and I’m just now finally allowing myself to step into that dream because, you might have guessed, it wasn’t perfect yet.
The ideas weren’t totally sharp, the plan was fuzzy. I wasn’t a perfect coach to myself yet because I hadn’t figured it all out. I could go on and on.
Perfection, my dear friends, is a lie.
It doesn’t exist. In fact, it’s totally up to us what perfection is as long as we believe it’s true. Our ego (not really your friend) will keep putting it further and further out of reach so we can never actually get there.
It’s a game you will never win.
I have tried for 5 years to win that game and even before that. I remember thinking about this career in my 500 sq ft apartment in Chelsea, wishing I could be in control of my own life and not a slave to fashion week, insecure stylists, and Worldnet.
When you dig a little deeper, it’s so easy to see that perfection is just fear in a cuter outfit. It’s so cool to say you want to make it perfect before you put your idea out into the world. But it’s really just saying ...
“I’m so scared no one will think it’s good enough so I will just keep trying to make it perfect … forever.”
Clarity comes from action
This realization sucks. Yes, you actually have to act before you’re ready. We can try (and I have) to think our way through tough decisions and strategies but until you move forward with an action, you won’t get clear on the path.
This is why it’s so freakin’ tough to create something new. There isn’t a roadmap, no one telling you exactly what to do.
You have to create your own plan and then, you have to take action with the knowledge that it might not work. Yeah, that means it could fail. This is the risk.
This is why not everyone is walking around, putting their hearts/ideas/dreams or there for the world to see ... because it’s risky.
Fear of failure
We need to reframe this. Failure isn’t something that happens only when the idea is bad or the dream isn’t worth pursuing. Failure happens to everyone. (yes, everyone)
In fact, start looking at failure as something that WILL happen so you expect it. You don’t have to want it, but if you see it as a way of redirecting, you can look at it as a guide. A very helpful friend.
I have been so afraid of failure my whole life. Failure meant I wasn’t good enough, period. There was no coming back from failure. It was the end of the road.
But I was able to reframe it because, well, I simply refused to give up on my dream. If you refuse to give up, then you have to see failure as a friend.
No one will remember you failed at your first attempt if your 2nd, 3rd, or 10th attempt is a success. It’s like the old saying; it doesn't matter how many times you fall, it’s how many times to get back up.
I beg you. Please get back up. If you have tried something and failed, try again. Take the data you collected from the first failure to make the second try even better. There is always a lesson to be learned.
We learn so much from pain. Don’t let it go to waste.
If you haven’t tried because the fear is paralyzing, please read the section in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book BIG MAGIC called Fierce Trust (page 257). Here is a taste of the idea she talks about that is, in my opinion, the most important idea anyone wanting to make something should know:
The trust I’m talking about here is the fiercest trust of all. This is not the trust that says, “I am certain I will be a success” because that is not fierce trust. I’m asking you to put aside your innocence for a moment and to step into something far more bracing and far more powerful.
There is no guarantee of success. Fierce trust demands you put forth the work anyhow because fierce trust knows the outcome does not matter. The outcome can’t matter. What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?
WOW. That section gets me every time. It’s not about the outcome. Yes, yes, we all want to be successful and it’s ok to want that. I want that too but it can’t be the ONLY reason. Doing the work has to be enough on its own without the promise of success.
This is the secret all successful people know. They wanted to do the work even if it wasn’t going to win the award, make all the money, etc. The motivation to do it was greater than all that.
Questions to ask yourself right now:
#1 Am I really doing everything I can to make this project a reality?
You have to get honest with yourself. I have found this to be the most powerful tool. Honesty. Sometimes we are holding ourselves back from doing the work we need to because then we can say it’s not perfect and the cycle just repeats.
If you answered NO, make a list of what you need to do. Start planning and taking action today. It does not have to be massive action but it has to be action.
If you answered YES, then it’s time to start. If you really feel like you have done it all and are just afraid, it’s time, beautiful. Start the business, write the book, go on the date … just do it.
#2 What am I afraid of?
Dig deep into this one. You will find the stuff that’s holding you back that you were not even aware of. Keep asking yourself WHY to get deeper and deeper.
Why am I afraid to write this book?
Because no one will buy it
Why do you think no one will buy it?
Because it’s not good
Why do you think it’s not good?
Because I’m not a good enough writer.
You get the idea. Just keep going until you get to the root. That might be something like, “my 3rd grade teacher said I wasn’t good at writing and should stick to math”, etc.
Then you can take the thought and replace it with better thoughts.
One last thought …
“Resistance is strongest at the finish line.”
- Steven Pressfield
You are so close, don’t turn back now.
Now, I want to hear about what you are stuck on. How can I help you get past your fear? I have a lot of experience in this (as in, I live with it every day). Leave me a comment below or find me on IG (@polishingup), my favorite place to hang out lately.
All the love,
P.S. Looking for actionable practices you can use to help make these mindset shifts stick? Grab my FREE meditation guide below if you're ready to upgrade your morning routine.