In this episode we are going to be talking about your perfectionism handbrake – what it is, how to release it and feel safe doing so. This is going to be what helps you to get out of your own way in your business so you’re showing up fully, serving your customers and clients, making more money and enjoying the day to day of being in business.
For about a year now I’ve been talking about perfectionism being a handbrake. This emerged as a response to the mentality that society has around perfectionism – that it’s a personality flaw or that it’s because we don’t intellectually understand that done is better than perfect.
So much of the work that I do with perfectionists is to help you understand what it is so that you’re able to get your perfectionist mindset on your side and get yourself in a growth mindset. That’s why this episode is all about your perfectionism handbrake and how to release it.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- How to tell whether your perfectionism handbrake on
- Why everyone has a perfectionism handbrake
- Where your perfectionism has ‘come from’
- The 3 steps to releasing your perfectionism handbrake
- Why having language around your perfectionism will help you find solutions
Featured In The Episode:
- Join the waitlist for Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (PGSD) – samlaurabrown.com/pgsd
- Sign up for daily Perfectionist Power-Ups – samlaurabrown.com/power
- Follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject
- Episode 276: 5 Signs You’re A Perfectionist + What It Means For Your Business
Listen To The Episode
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
In this episode, we are going to be talking about your perfectionism handbrake. Understanding what your perfectionism HandBrake is, how to release it, how to feel safe, driving with it off is going to be what helps you to get out of your own way in your business. So you are showing up fully. So you are serving your customers or clients. So that you are making more money. So that you are enjoying the process, the day to day of being in business.
So for about a year now I’ve really been talking about perfectionism as a handbrake. And this really emerge from a lot of the dialogue around perfectionism. Being that perfectionism is bad. Naughty, naughty, you shouldn’t be a perfectionist. We all know done is better than perfect. Like, that’s the kind of mentality that there mainly is out there about perfectionism. It’s either that, or oh yeah, my biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist. It’s that kind of mentality that perfectionism is either when we are being detail oriented, and neat and organized and doing everything perfectly, which isn’t what perfectionism is, or that it’s because we don’t intellectually understand that perfection isn’t a thing, or that Done is better than perfect. And so much of the work that I do with perfectionism is really to help you understand what it actually is, so that you are able to get your perfectionist mindset on your side and get yourself into a growth mindset.
When we are in a growth mindset, this is a concept created by Dr. Carol Dweck, she talks about in her book, Mindset. When we are in a growth mindset, we are courageous, we try. We are really living in alignment with that saying that it’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. Instead of living from the place of it’s better to not try than it is to fail. But so much of the dialogue around perfectionism really has us deeming… Assa Deema… What am I saying? Demonizing ourselves more than we already are. Beating ourselves up, feeling ashamed and exacerbating what is going on? We’re already feeling inadequate. And we’re talking about perfectionism as a society in a way that makes us feel even more inadequate, and only makes our perfectionism handbrake come on even stronger, and only makes us feeling less safe, not being in that perfectionist mindset.
So I really started thinking about how we can be thinking about perfectionism, so we can identify that, that mindset is something that we can use to our advantage. While we are in the process of getting into a growth mindset. There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, that it’s not coming from this lack of intellectual understanding around how the world works, and that perfection isn’t really a thing. And that it’s not this cute little personality flaw that you can talk about in a job interview. It’s not a personality flaw. It’s just a set of behaviors that we engage with. And often it’s more about what we’re not doing than what we are doing. But it’s just a way that we’re protecting ourselves from feeling shame.
And I love sharing the Brene Brown quote. The perfectionism comes from the belief that if we just look perfect and do everything perfectly, then we can avoid shame, judgment and blame. That that’s really all that perfectionism is, and a lot of times, it’s really about avoiding looking imperfect, more than it is about doing everything perfectly. So while a lot of us think that perfection is the perfect people, that the people who actually do everything, right. And so I can’t be a perfectionist because I procrastinate, and I make plans and I don’t follow through with them and I have these big ideas and I don’t execute on them, that really recognizing that perfectionism for the most part manifests as ways of withholding effort. And that the more we can understand perfectionism and our perfectionism, handbrake, and how to feel safe leaving that handbrake off, the more we’re able to get out of our own way, and that there’s nothing wrong with us.
And this is especially important to be thinking about when you have a business, because business has a way of turning our perfectionism handbrake on in ways that it might not have been on before. So for example, with my own story that I’ve shared on the podcast, that I was in a perfectionist mindset, very much so around anything intellectual, so especially around school, when I was in university doing my law and finance degrees. But it worked in the sense that I was getting good results. And as students were told that, that is the sign it’s working, that you’re getting the A, and we’re not really taught to look at the process that goes into that, and that I was doing all nighters and burning myself out.
It still felt like it was working, and that I was getting the validation and the approval that I was wanting. So this is also part of it that it really feels like especially after decades of doing this, that you’re successful because of your perfectionist tendencies, not in spite of them. And when we can really start to see that there’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. But when we’re driving around with our handbrake on, we’re only just getting a glimpse at what we’re capable of. And that once we can release that handbrake, we can achieve so much more and enjoy the process so much work.
It’s so much fun to drive a car when you’re not driving with the brake on. But we really start to associate success with the handbrake being on. And that’s why it starts to feel unsafe not to be engaging in these perfectionist behaviors. I talk about the five signs of perfectionism. And most of those are different forms of withholding effort. So overwhelm, procrastination, burnout, all or nothing mindset, fear of judgment. I won’t go into it in this episode. I will link in the show notes and episode where I go into each of them individually, if you’re wanting to know like, why is burnout a sign of perfectionism? I go into all of that in an episode I did on each of them. And I talk about them all throughout this podcast.
But really understanding that there’s nothing wrong with you. Again, I’m gonna say that more times in this episode, there is nothing wrong with you. And I know it can be so frustrating when you have been in your own way like you know, you’re capable of more. And you see all these other businesses and they are achieving things that you know you can achieve to and you know, you’re smart and you know you’re capable and you know, you have potential. You also have the doubt and the imposter syndrome and all that going on too. But you know, you’re capable of more and yet you can’t get yourself to do it. And maybe you think like I used to do that this was just a problem with motivation.
You might be googling things like how to stay motivated. You might be doing things like buying new planners to try and keep yourself motivated or signing up for another marketing program to keep yourself feeling motivated. When really it’s just the perfectionism handbrake and inside PGSD, the process that we go through to release your handbrake is to plan properly as a perfectionist, follow through with your plans 80% of the time, rest without guilt and repeat. That’s the PGSD process. That’s going to get you to stop procrastinating and dramatically reduce your desire to procrastinate.
Zero procrastination is not the goal. That’s when we focus on following through with our plans 80% of the time, but it’s going to help you sort that out. You won’t be burning out. You won’t be in this constant state of people pleasing your friends and family and kind of diminishing your goals around them and not really talking about your business. You won’t be people pleasing your clients and your customers and trying to keep everyone happy at the cost of the growth of your ideas, your products, your services, yourself. When you are doing this work to release your perfectionism handbrake. As I said, business gets more fun, you make more money, you help more people, you get more rest you actually know what you like doing in your spare time. And even though you love being productive, you do have a life beyond your business.
So I want to talk about three of the reasons why I call it the perfectionism handbrake. I have already kind of shared a few of them. And that really the way that we, as a society talk about perfectionism is making us wrong for being in this mindset, which only makes it harder to grow out of this mindset. And I don’t really talk about perfectionism in the sense of managing your perfectionism, healing your perfectionism. Overcoming perfectionism. I haven’t really ever talked about managing it so much, but there’s different language that gets used around it. And I really think the most helpful way to be thinking about it is that you’re just driving this car, you’ve got the handbrake on, you haven’t really realized it, or maybe you have, but it hasn’t felt safe to release that handbrake. And all you need to learn to do is release the handbrake, feel safe, keeping it off, and driving a little faster, that might feel a little uncomfortable when you’re used to going at a certain pace. And having things have a certain amount of chaos around them with all the procrastination and the overwhelm, and the burnout, that it feels a bit uncomfortable, to not have that come along for the ride anymore.
But you can learn how that can feel safe. And I often get asked to go on to other podcasts to talk about perfectionism. And I always find it interesting. And I think it’s, again, just a reflection of the way that we as a society talk about and understand perfectionism that they will ask for tips on managing it. Like it’s kind of this beast that you just have to keep under wraps, and it can kind of come out at any minute and, and just ruin all your plans. And that it’s this deep, deep, deep wound that you have to heal. And it’s not to say that we didn’t develop perfectionism as a way to cope with certain childhood traumas. And as a response to that, whether that trauma was something that from the outside in might look traumatic, or whether that trauma was a teacher, or a parent or a sibling making a comment.
And it’s not to say that it isn’t a strategy that is effective in a lot of ways. And that’s why I feel so unsafe to let go of, but that a lot of times, we just bring it into our adult life, and haven’t really had the tools or had the language to really investigate it. And let it be okay, that we’re thinking in this way, and do the practical things that can be done to start getting ourselves into a growth mindset. That’s the work that we do inside PGSD. And a lot of times people can be really focused on “Okay, I just need to get to the root of the experience I had that made me think this way”, or I just need to get to the root of what’s going on.
Let’s cut to the chase the root is shame. It is for all of us. The root is that there was a situation, a significant emotional event. Again, it might be something that from the outside and would look traumatic, it might be something that from the outside in would look completely normal day to day, nothing to even think about. But there was an event that happened. We interpreted it, especially as children, we have to be so kind with ourselves about this, that we interpreted whatever that situation was as like as it meaning that we’re not lovable. But there’s something wrong with us. That’s what shame is, it’s not I did something wrong, it’s I am wrong, there’s something wrong with me.
And then from that point on, we were kind of in this survival mode of trying to make sure that people don’t find out there’s something wrong with us, and that we’re not lovable, and that we don’t get rejected and abandoned, and we could be rejected for failure, or we could be rejected for too much success. So we’re kind of always walking this fine line between will not be a failure, but I don’t want to be too successful. It’s not to say that there’s not stuff in your childhood related to this. But I think when we’re asking these questions, like I need to get to the root of it. And if you’re finding yourself with personal development, being very focused on always needing to get to the root of a belief. What I instead want you to be focused on is your present day thoughts.
You might have been thinking every day since you were a child, but your present day thoughts are what are creating your perfectionist behavior today. And we can change our present day thoughts. Some are easier to change than others, but they can be changed. And so I find it so empowering to instead of thinking deep rooted childhood trauma, personality flaw that needs to be fixed but can’t be fixed. So let’s just try and figure out how to manage it. Instead it’s just your perfectionism, handbrake, everyone has one. And when you were a child, it felt safest to turn that handbrake on, and it served you well.
And now, especially that you’re in business, and your business is going well, and things are working, but maybe you’re not enjoying the process, you’re not ever getting a break, you’re burning yourself out, you’re leaving things to the last minute. Even though things do go well. The experience isn’t great. It no longer is serving us to be in that mindset. And now we have the opportunity and the privilege to be able to do this work, and to be able to learn that there is a different way we can operate and that we’re still safe, and we’re still secure, and that we’re going to be okay. And that is the work we do in PGSD. That’s what we talk about here on the podcast, on Instagram @perfectionismproject. That is what we are talking about there as well.
It’s not this personality flaw that you just need to manage or to try and repress or anything like that. It’s all about getting your perfectionist mindset on your side so that you can feel safe releasing that perfectionism handbrake. So that you can feel safe doing things that previously felt unsafe because you were believing that you aren’t lovable, that you aren’t good enough. And that because of that you have to really make sure no one finds out and therefore do everything perfectly or avoid doing anything imperfectly.
So okay, so let’s talk about a lot of preamble, but this is all kind of mixed into it these reasons that it’s called the perfectionism handbrake. Let’s talk about explicitly, why is it called the perfectionism handbrake? First of all, it’s a reminder that perfectionism is not you. As I said we all have this perfectionism handbrake. We all have it on to varying degrees. So when I teach on the fixed mindset and the growth mindset, so I won’t go into that in detail in this episode, but with the fixed and growth mindset, we are somewhere on that spectrum.
So in the perfectionist mindset, we’re really thinking this fixed way in the sense that our talents, our intelligence, our skills are fixed and can’t be changed. And therefore everything we do is evidence of whether or not we’re good enough. And effort is a sign of inadequacy. In the growth mindset, we really are living by the principle, as I mentioned earlier, that it’s better to try and fail than to have never tried at all. And this idea that we can develop our intelligence, we can develop our skills, and that practice is a good thing.
Needing to practice is a good thing, that failure is a good thing. We don’t just intellectually understand that we actually get it and that is evidence in our actions, because we’re willing to try things that might fail. This is why we have a growth goal. This is why we do Power Plan. This is why we allow ourselves to create a hypothesis as to what might work knowing that it might not work. And giving it a try reflecting on that and iterating as we go.
But perfectionism is not you, we are all somewhere on this spectrum of fixed to growth mindset, and will be at a different place on that spectrum in different areas of our life. So something that I love doing inside PGSD with our PGSDers in my own coaching. And also, I love talking about here on the podcast too is that it’s so helpful to identify an area of your life where you are growth minded. And that could be health and fitness. That could be in relationships. So any area of your life, where you’re willing to try things that might not work. Where you’re really willing to put in an effort and you see effort has been a positive thing.
So maybe in relationships, you see, taking time aside to go out on dates and to work at things to be willing to have conversations to get you and your partner on the same page. Instead of thinking about, it needs to be natural and effortless and the spark isn’t there anymore. Like that’s kind of fixed mindset talk around relationships, love at first sight like all of that natural, effortless, romantic quote, unquote, like a lot of the way that romance is kind of pictured in movies is this fixed mindset wave. It’s perfect from the start and it’s effortless and it just works.
We might be again in that growth mindset around and relationships of relationships take work and they take commitment and discovering each other and figuring out how to communicate and there are going to be ups and downs and all of that kind of thing. So might be that it might be a hobby that you have maybe you play a particular sport or whatever it is. There’s going to be somewhere in your life, where you are more growth minded than the other areas. So our PGSDers and myself as well. I tend to find that any area involving intellect such as school and business tends to be where we are most fixed minded, we’re praised for being smart and intelligent growing up. We were really told that you have to look smart at all times, maybe not consciously told that but getting the praise for the A, even if we did an all nighter and burned out, that kind of reinforce that it doesn’t matter how you do it, but you need to get the A and then we will love you.
So not to make that also heavy, but we’ve been really told that you just have to look smart. And so unfortunately, this means for a lot of us when we don’t do this work on perfectionism, we end up only doing things that are guaranteed to work. Only engaging with skills and processes that we already know, instead of learning the new thing, and allowing ourselves to be a beginner and allowing ourselves to go through the messy middle and the dip. We instead just take the class that we already know that we’re going to get an A in for example, in school, that’s the equivalent of that, that you do the subjects that you know you’re going to do well in. And unfortunately, like the schooling system rewards this, that okay, you should pick, I know at least in my high school, it did. Pick the subjects you’re going to get the best marks in. And also crazy to think that it actually works this way.
And I don’t know if they’ve changed it since but when I went through high school it was, it might actually be a good idea to take a subject that isn’t going to challenge you at all, because you’re going to be the smartest, and get the best result in that class rather than taking a class when you’re going to learn a lot of new things and really challenge yourself, but you might not come out on top. And so a lot of people picked things they were already good at in order to get the A’s so that they could get their university placement they wanted. So they could get the job. And so clap, clap, clap, everyone’s happy. We’re all getting approved of. And it’s not to say that that’s all wrong, but it’s just recognizing it’s not your fault if you have your perfectionism handbrake on and we can actively work to release that handbrake.
As a little sidebar, I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately, especially since having a child of my own, on how to help young ones, and littles with perfectionism. And that could be a whole episode, that could be a whole podcast in and of itself. But I just want to mention here, if you are a parent, that the best way, in my opinion, that you can help your children to be in a growth mindset is to do your work on being in a growth mindset. And then to exemplify that, and as you were doing your work, you can also work on that with them.
This is at least the approach that I’m taking with Lydia, is that, for example, for myself, I’ve really learned with my perfectionism journey, and what I’ve learned about the growth mindset, and all of that is process praise and how important that is, which is praising the effort, the courage, trying something new and all of that. So even though Lydia, at this point in time is only eight months old, and isn’t yet comprehending all of that, it’s so good for me to practice. So instead of saying good girl, very clever, which I definitely can find myself wanting to say, I really focus on praising the effort and the thoughtfulness and persistence and train.
And it’s also not about being in the all or nothing mindset with raising our children and that we need to be perfect so they can turn out perfect. We don’t consciously think we’re doing that. But it’s kind of what we try to do if we have a lot of awareness around how we can set ourselves up to be in a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. And then thinking about raising our children who we love, and doing our best by them that it’s easy to go into that all or nothing thinking and to think that it’s possible that we could somehow ruin them or their childhood or like all these different things, to instead, it’s so important to just be so compassionate with ourselves and that were human. And the goal isn’t for us to be perfect so they can be perfect, and then we can feel good that we’ve raised a perfect child. It’s not the goal, but I really just want to bring you back in and even if you’re not a parent, and you ask, like how can I bring this work to others in my life.
Be an example of the work. Live the work. Release your perfectionism handbrake. Show others what it looks like. And they will ask questions or it’ll just seep through that like, Oh yeah, well mommy just tries and then tries again and then tries again until she gets it. So I’m going to do the same. Instead of Oh yeah, mommy just tries and quits. So be an example of the work. I just wanted to mention cuz I’ve been getting quite a few questions on that since having Lydia.
So your perfectionism handbrake, we call it that because you are not perfectionism. Perfectionism is just coming from a set of beliefs. Again, ones you might have been thinking for quite a long time now. But it’s just your present day beliefs, not these deeply rooted ones, you have to spend all this time digging down into with hours and hours of journaling. There a lot of the really obvious thoughts that we have each day, and the goal isn’t to catch them or, anything like that. It’s really about what is releasing our perfectionism handbrake, little by little by little, and as we’re doing that feeling safer and safer and safer. And I talked about, like I talked about this actually, in the last podcast episode on the growth goal. And in PGSD, we talked about this a lot the upper limit problems. That I really think the upper limit problem is when we’ve just released the perfectionism handbrake, and it feels unsafe, and then we yank the handbrake back on.
Like, that’s part of it. They’re like, Oh, too fast, too fast. This is like all happening too smoothly. And no, no, I’m used to chaos and overwhelm, and procrastination and drama. And I want to go back to that. It’s all normal, but we are not the perfectionism. And we’re able to get into that growth mindset. It’s not about managing perfectionism and healing and overcoming it. It’s about creating a growth mindset. And getting our perfectionist mindset on our side and working with it instead of against it. So that we can get out of our own way and make the money we want to make. Have impact we want to make. Serve the customers you want to make. All of those different things.
So the process for this for releasing your perfectionism handbrake, feeling safe with it off. It’s the PGSD process. So you’re planning properly as a perfectionist. Following through with your plans 80% of time, reting without guilt and repeating. So this is the process your master inside PGSD, and is the process that will make your wildest business dreams a done deal.
So the second reason we call it the perfectionism handbrake, I always feel like by the way, when I say it, it’s like such a tongue twister, perfectionism handbrake, so if you hear me kind of mumbling through the middle, I’m still practicing saying it. So it’s not all or nothing when it comes to releasing your perfectionism handbrake. You can still achieve many of your goals with your handbrake on. And again, this is why we’re so reluctant to release it. We have a history of getting a pluses on a c minus level of efforts.
And when it comes to business, we don’t have someone setting those deadlines, and this is why business is such a great vehicle for all this work, because we’re often doing the thing that most feels like us. So like for me, for example, with accounting, it wasn’t as vulnerable to fail at being an accountant because I didn’t self identify as an accountant. I didn’t feel like that was really me. But when it came to business and talking about personal development, and all the stuff I’m talking about with you today, and doing coaching that felt so me that failing at it felt so incredibly vulnerable. And we don’t have a boss telling us what to do.
And even though there are programs on marketing and different things like that, there’s so many different options. It’s very easy to procrastinate learn and procrasti-research and let ourselves get overwhelmed and subconsciously create that overwhelm. So we don’t have the deadlines. We don’t have someone telling us when to do what we do. And even if we do, for example, if you have a client deadline, that you might then email that client and say, hey, I can give it to you later on. They might say okay, and so it’s easy to kind of push off tasks, and kind of just stay busy doing unimportant things. And I’m feeling really frustrated that we’re putting in so much work. We’re not getting anywhere.
So business really brings up this work that we need to do, but we can still make money with our perfectionism handbrake on. And I say that not as a discouragement from doing this work, but to hopefully calm you down a little so you recognize that you don’t have to completely release your perfectionism handbrake overnight. And honestly, if you did, it would feel so unfamiliar and bizarre, you turn it back on right away, like with the upper limit problems when we are really doing that work, and it’s a beautiful thing to be experiencing those upper limit problems and to release that as like wow, I’ve released my handbrake and I’m getting out of my own way and now my brains are freaking the fuck out and that is normal. That’s happening.
But we don’t need to be in this all or nothing mindset about like getting into a growth mindset and releasing our perfectionism handbrake and then we have to do it yesterday. And that we know we need to do it, we should have done it already. And we know better and all of that. It’s knowing like, we just need to release it little by little. And every little bit, you release it, you’re going to enjoy the experience. You get business more. You are going to find it easier to be courageous, you’re going to be having more of an impact on your customers, you’re gonna be making more money. It’s not this all or nothing thing that you’re either in a perfectionist mindset, or a growth mindset, or your business is either failing or succeeding. There’s so much nuance and when we’re in this all or nothing thinking, we miss the beauty of the in between and the messy middle, because we’re trying to just think of things in this black or white kind of way.
So when it comes to your growth goal, in this regard, there’s no need to delay pursuing your goals in your business until after your perfectionism work is done. If you are thinking of taking this approach, it’s probably going to fall into the procrasti-learning category that you might have, maybe you’ve just discovered this podcast, or you’ve just realized that you’re a perfectionist or different things like that, like, Okay, I need to get this under wraps. And then I can really go all in on the business.
And what I love about PGSD, is that when you do those things, at the same time, that building your business is you doing the work on your perfectionism that those two things go hand in hand, and that your business creates the practical curriculum, for you to do your personal development work on perfectionism and any other areas you need to work on as well.
And I really believe that is why business is just one of those things that like once you’re in business, even if you sold your business, you want to start another business. And it just, it’s so fun when you can really start to be growth minded about it. It’s not this like, Okay, I need to get this all sorted. And I’ve already been doing this work for a year or for two years. And I should know better by now that this is lifelong. And that’s exactly why we would do it, not why we wouldn’t do it. It’s a journey. And it’s a practice. And it’s getting to know ourselves and trust ourselves. And there’s always going to be more and more layers. And the more we’re frustrated when we find the next layer, it’s not going to help.
It’s just going to add this layer of shame and judgment. And we’re going to feel very frustrated and maybe decide to quit on maybe not the business but maybe quit on having big goals or things like that, then we get restless because we actually want to be doing something fulfilling, then we decide to set a big goal again, like this whole thing we want to get out of that by just setting your growth goal each 12 months, pursuing that knowing there’s going to be ups and downs, normalizing that. And when you have your growth goal, it is what as I said takes releasing your perfectionism handbrake from an intellectual pursuit into a practical curriculum. So there’s no need to wait until you’ve done your perfectionism work to really start setting big goals for your business. Doing the work with your business is the best way.
And the third reason that we call it the perfectionism handbrake, is because language gives you access to solutions. When you can’t remember the last time you took a full day of your business, you can just say, oh, it’s just my perfectionism handbrake. When you catch yourself leaving customer emails unread, because you don’t know the right thing to say. So you’re going to just reply later, you can just say to yourself, oh, that’s just my perfectionism handbrake. When it takes you 15 minutes to record a 15 second Instagram story, or when your iPhone notes are full of business ideas you haven’t done anything with yet. When you say yes to Coffee with your mom, even though you’d plan to work on your business, all those things happen, you now have a word for it, instead of it being a problem with you, or your motivation or your business or your potential as a business owner. It’s just Oh, that’s my perfectionism handbrake.
And having a name for it a word for it allows you to identify it and do something about it without the shame. And this is the most important thing that because there is a word for it. And this whole podcast is about this. It means you’re not the only one. You’re not the only one who has your perfectionism handbrake on. If you were, we wouldn’t have this common language that 1000s upon 1000s can relate to, if not many many more.
Most people have their perfectionism handbrake on to some degree, whether or not they recognize it. The fact there’s a name for it, like with shame the fact there’s a name for it means you’re not the only one experiencing it. And in my own journey with perfectionism when I really through the work of Brene Brown and Carol Dweck really started to understand perfectionism and what it actually is and the role it plays in business especially, but what it can look like. And through my own experience and coaching, hundreds of perfectionist, really starting to piece together, what the signs are, how it manifests, and all these different things, that it really helped me to actually do something about it. Because when I thought it was a motivation problem, and we all know, if you Google advice on how to stay motivated, there’s lots of very fluffy advice about Yeah, you should buy the new planner, or maybe buy a workout outfit and leave it out the night before, so that you feel motivated, and all those things create temporary motivation. But we really want to be creating a life where we can trust ourselves.
We can make plans and follow through with them 80% of the time, rest without guilt, where we can actually set our mind to something and then have the resilience and the persistence to go after it and to overcome the obstacles and to overcome the self doubt that comes up along the way and to do it scared. That is such a beautiful thing. And having a name for it can really be a gateway to that. And I felt so ashamed and so stuck for so many years, because I didn’t know what it was called. I thought I was the only one. And this is why PGSD is a group program where you can see others getting coached. Because it really helps to release that shame that we tend to have around, I should know better. I’m the only one who has a lot of potential and isn’t doing anything with it.
The more you can see, you’re not the only one that really helps to release that layer of shame and judgment and actually help you do the work to get into growth mindset. And when I was doing one on one coaching, and I’d have back to back to back to back clients all day. And they were all just kind of in this mentality of Yeah, but I feel like I’m the only one and I should be further along and I shouldn’t be procrastinating and why am I doing this and really just seeing and witnessing that if those women had been able to see what the other ones were getting coached on, they would have been like, oh, thank fuck, it’s not just me.
And I think that Brene Brown book, one of the many is called, I thought it was just me, but it isn’t like that’s what language gives us. This insight that it’s not just us, we’re not the only one, there’s nothing wrong with us, this isn’t a problem to be fixed. This isn’t a personality flaw to be managed. Or, you know, kind of putting a bandaid on top of it. This is part of being a human, a part that we all have ways of dealing with the emotion of shame and trying to avoid it. For most people. That’s perfectionism. And when you get into business, it really brings it up. It’s something that stops a lot of people from getting into business in the first place. Because they don’t have the language around it. Because without the language, they don’t have the tools, they don’t have access to solutions.
So when I talk about perfectionism, and being a perfectionist, it’s not this label to keep you in a box that that’s how you’ll be. And that’s how you’re always going to be, it’s really just about, oh, there’s a word for this way of thinking. I’m not this way of thinking. It’s just my brain having these thoughts because they serve me at a certain point in time. And then it got habitual to think that way. And I haven’t had language or tools or enough practice with those tools yet to be getting out of my own way. And also just to acknowledge that and I did this in the last episode, I went through this, but it bears repeating that it’s a process with ups and downs. And there are so many signs that you are making progress in your perfectionism journey, and your business journey other than you hitting your milestones and achieving your growth goal.
So like even just catching when you’re in an all or nothing cycle, that’s a win, even if you stay in it. That’s a win, that awareness is a win. If you notice that you’re putting too much in your calendar, and you’re under estimating how long a task takes by three times. That’s a win. That’s you making progress. But having language around it, and being willing to identify with something knowing that that’s not going to define who we are, but it’s just giving us language to actually do something about getting out of our own way. It’s going to give us for example, something that we can type into Google or so many people find this podcast by just searching in the bar on Apple podcast perfectionism. It gives you a way to get access to the solutions and to the tools that are going to help you get out of your own way instead of googling things like how to stay motivated, how to stay consistent, how to get more followers, content calendar, like those kinds of things that all just a symptom of this perfectionism work.
So I hope that has been helpful and just given you a bit more of an insight into perfectionism and the journey of overcoming it. As I said, the process this is what we work through in PGSD, this is a process that you will master is planning properly as a perfectionist, following through with your plans 80% of the time, resting without guilt, and repeating. We’re opening the doors to PGSD again in April 2022. So you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd, to join the waitlist, find out more about the program, how we help you get out of your own way or that kind of thing.
But this is the work that is going to have you take what you intellectually know about business also about personal development and put it into practice to really feel like your life is fulfilling and not because everything is easy, because that isn’t actually fulfilling. Your life is fulfilling when you give yourself a challenge, and you rise the fuck up to meet it. And that’s what we do inside PGSD. So I’d love to invite you in that we’re not open yet. But I’d love to invite you in our next round of enrollment if you are not yet a PGSDer. Because this is work worth doing. And it’s work worth doing sooner rather than later. And I hope you have enjoyed this episode. If you have please take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram. I’m @perfectionismproject. I hope you’re having a beautiful day and I will talk to you in the next episode.