Episode 436: Signs of Success You’ve Probably Overlooked

If you’re a perfectionist and you haven’t been hitting their goals, you probably feel like you haven’t made any progress at all. And this likely has you dreading questions from family and friends over the holidays about how your business is going.

That’s why in today’s episode I’m sharing some signs of success that commonly go overlooked so you can notice the progress you’re making and stop dreading family gatherings. This isn’t to say that there aren’t things about your business that need to change. But if you don’t notice the ways that you’re succeeding you will actually be less successful due to the time you’ll waste making improvements to things that didn’t need improving.

Tune in today to discover some of the signs you’re succeeding besides hitting your goals.

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode436.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why failing to achieve your goals doesn’t mean that you aren’t succeeding
  • One of my most important business lessons (it took me two years to learn this)
  • What the law of diminishing returns is and why it’s so important in business
  • 5 signs you’re succeeding that you’ve probably overlooked
  • The best way to understand what’s not working about your business

Announcement: PGSD is open for enrollment until 12 December 2023 at 11:59pm New York Time

My 12-month group coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) will teach you how to plan properly as a perfectionist and get out of your own way. The doors to Perfectionists Getting Shit Done are now open. Sign up today at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd (note: the doors close at 11:59pm New York time on 12 December 2023).

Listen To The Episode

Listen to the episode on the player above, click here to download the episode and take it with you or listen anywhere you normally listen to podcasts – just find Episode 436 of The Perfectionism Project Podcast!

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Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project. A podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release their perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the perfectionist getting shit done group coaching program, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business, you can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

Sam Laura Brown
I have just listened back to the episode that you’re about to hear and thought a little bit of an introduction might be really helpful. So if you are a perfectionist, and you haven’t been hitting your goals, you probably feel like you haven’t made any progress at all. And this likely has you dreading questions from your friends and family over the holidays about how your business is going. Not sure if you hear jack in the background. He’s here with me. But if you have been dreading a questions if you have been feeling like you aren’t making progress, this episode is going to be so helpful for you.

So I’m going to be showing some signs of success that commonly go overlooked so that you can notice the progress you’re making and stop dreading those family gatherings that are coming up over the holidays. This isn’t to say, by the way that there aren’t things about your business that you need to change. But if you don’t notice the ways that you’re succeeding, you will actually be less successful. Due to the time you waste and making improvements to things that don’t need improving. And I’m going to share with you in this episode, a very recent lesson that I learned that took me two years to learn so that you don’t make the same mistake that I did. So without further ado, let’s get into the episode.

In today’s episode, I want to share with you something that came up on the coaching call today inside perfectionist getting shit done. I was coaching our PGSDers on creating a clean rest plan for your holidays. Something that came up was fears around what to tell friends and family, especially over the holidays, when you’re seeing people you don’t normally see. But what to tell friends and family when they ask how your business is going. Especially if you’re not on track with your goals. If you have been getting in your own way, and not taking the action, you know, you want to take what do you tell people. And so in this episode, I just want to share a few things that will help you navigate this. And yeah, I’m just gonna get straight into it.

So to begin, what I want to mention, and this is just so important, especially if you’re one of my clients, you have a growth goal, that you don’t use your goals against yourself, and to perpetuate this story that you’ve probably had your whole life, that you aren’t good enough and that you aren’t measuring up your growth goal isn’t there as a measuring stick of this is when you can feel adequate when you can feel sufficient when you can feel like you are doing a good job. That goal is designed for personal growth. So it’s really important that you aren’t telling yourself that I have to achieve this goal that I intentionally set above what I currently believe as possible for myself, I have to achieve that. In order to feel like I’m on track in order to feel like I’m successful. We don’t want to do that we don’t want to use our goals against ourselves.

And so it’s really important to know this because if you are feeling like people are going to ask you things and you’re not on track, and therefore you’re not successful. And therefore it’s just really embarrassing or awkward to be asked that question and to kind of share what’s been going on for you. That is a very good chance you are missing that you are succeeding that you are making progress. And so I just want to share a recent example of this that I noticed in my own life, I will be sharing a lot more about this and many other realizations that came from our most recent launch of perfectionist getting shit done. But this one in particular, I was talking about it on the call today. It really has been so pivotal for me. And it’s something that I hadn’t seen until I had the experience of this most recent launch and quite a few different realizations in a row to get to this one that I’m going to share with you. But it’s so powerful to celebrate and notice your wins. And this is exactly why.

So if you don’t know, perfectionist getting shit done my program. We do a launch every quarter approximately at the moment we do it every quarter. In the past it’s been every three or so months that we open and close enrollment for perfectionist getting shit done. So I did a launch and I’ve done many launches many, many, many launches of PGSD over the years. I first launched it in May 2019. But the launch that I did in January 2020 to where my goal was 100 signups and we had about 50 or 51.

If you want to hear more about that and the whole launch experience, I documented it in real time. I think it was episode 316 and 317 from memory. But I called that launch a failure. Essentially, I was very proud of myself, it was the biggest launch that I’ve ever had the most number of PGSDers when PGSD looked that way that we had ever had. And yet, because I didn’t hit the goal of 100, I completely dismiss how successful that launch was, that having 50 new clients sign up, by me talking about it on a podcast, that is pretty successful. But because I had this bigger goal, I didn’t see that.

So essentially, what I realized in this most recent launch of perfectionist getting shit done. Was that the launch that I did in January 2022, the emails that I wrote, the messaging that we had about power planning and planning properly. And all of that, like yes, it could be optimized and iterated upon, but it was good enough, it was sufficient. But because I didn’t actually acknowledge that I have spent the last two years iterating tweaking, fine tuning, fiddling with something that was already completely fine as it was. It wasn’t my first launch of PGSD that January launch. But it was a launch that worked. And so I didn’t see that. And so I have been reinventing the wheel, but then also deep down knowing that something about that really worked.

So returning to different things from it, but not as being like, Hey, I could actually just do the launch the same way. And so just seeing that all of that stemmed from me using that goal against myself, me not appreciating what I had accomplished with that launch. And then I was therefore trying to improve from a place of inadequacy, which only breeds more inadequacy, because if you are trying to improve something from a place of this isn’t good enough, then even when you make those improvements, your brain is just trained to see what isn’t good enough or what isn’t working, what could be optimized.

So you never reach a place where you do feel like it’s good enough. But improving from a place of sufficiency and seeing that was efficient. Is it a needle mover for me to keep changing it, or is a needle mover for me to keep it the same and to focus on other things. But when we improve things from a place of sufficiency, that is when we make true improvements, instead of just fiddling around with things. And I can tell you and I’ve documented so many of those launches on this podcast, in terms of my behind the scenes experience, what I was working on all of that kind of thing. And I definitely felt like I was improving things and making big leaps. But ultimately, it didn’t need improving if we think about the law of diminishing returns.

So this is the idea that at a certain point, the effort you put in becomes less valuable. So if you think about a workout, you might do a 15 minute workout, a 30 minute workout, a one hour workout. But at a certain point, maybe a two hour workout, maybe a four hour workout, maybe a 10 hour workout, you don’t really hear about that many people doing that, because it becomes inefficient, you’re too fatigued, your muscles can’t handle it, it’s not worth that extra time. The extra benefit, isn’t there. And so a really important skill to learn in business is where are you at when it comes to that law of diminishing returns, because sometimes you won’t yet be at the point where you have reached the optimal level that you will need to keep showing up and trying again, as I mentioned, it wasn’t my first launch of PGSD.

So I had tried many different things. I wasn’t yet at that point where it had really worked. But then once I got there, because I didn’t notice that I had kept going. And so it was over that point where it had already been working. And then I was in that point of doing like a four hour workout and wondering why I couldn’t see the results from that. And so as you especially with power planning, it really helps with this as you begin to see where you are perhaps under thinking things and you need to give it another attempt or another 10 attempts or another 100 attempts to be able to get it to the place it needs to be or it’s actually already good enough. That is when you can truly begin making improvements that are going to be needle moving because in business, there is always, always always always something that can be improved something that can be optimized or iterated upon.

And so we have to be the ones who have that skill of saying I can see how it could be improved. But instead of just reacting to that perfectionist urge I have to make sure everything is completely flawless. I’m going to put my time and attention somewhere else sit with the discomfort that comes from having something not be all that it could be, and move on towards more important. So bringing this back to what I was talking about, with what do you say to friends and family, it’s knowing that just because you haven’t hit your goal, doesn’t mean you aren’t successful, in the same way that in that launch. That was good enough, that was sufficient. I was succeeding. But I didn’t see it that way. And I just created so much unnecessary struggle for myself, which I’m so grateful for.

Because I can tell you like the number of podcast episode ideas that I have, from this last launch, just really so many realizations that I needed to have that took me multiple times to learn. So I’m going to be talking about them on the podcast, if you’re not subscribed already, make sure you do. But this one is so huge, that you might be worried about what friends and family will think when you are actually succeeding. And you’re worried that you’re not. And so you don’t know what to say. And I will talk about as well like what if you’re actually not. But there’s a very good chance, I just want to talk about some signs that you are succeeding other than hitting your financial goal is really important.

And this is great to do when your weekly review, when you were reflecting on the week to really develop that muscle. So first question in your weekly review about what you accomplished that week, to really see how you’re succeeding to really notice that it’s not just to write out okay, yes, I did this. And I did this. And I did that. What did you accomplish? What is working? What are you succeeding at, and to really sit with that. So some of the signs that you’re succeeding other than hitting your goal, and there are so many more, I could say than this. But first of all, you’re making some money, I really just want you to sit in that for a second. Because for most people listening, you will be making some money. You might not be I’ll talk about you in a second. But if you are making money, like we just, I’ll just speak for myself now like being in the world of hearing about online business.

And you kind of just end up surrounding yourself with so many stories about online business success. And what that looks like and how big these businesses are. That it’s so easy to lose sight of how incredible it is, and the skill and courage it takes to be able to make even $1 from doing something on the internet, that you were able to on your own accord, go out there put something out into the world, something that might fail that might be laughed at you did that, and someone paid you money in return. Like I just know, I can so easily lose sight of that. And it’s just because I’m just so zoomed in. And when I zoom out, and I also just think about my past self. And if I was looking at present day me and what I call to be a failure, for example, that it’s like my past selves wildest dream. And I know that we hear that kind of thing. But it’s so important to give yourself those perspective shifts.

Otherwise, we end up feeling like we’re not succeeding when we are and as I mentioned, that cost me two years of spending so much time and energy focusing on iterating, something that was already working really well and I could move my attention to something else. So I don’t want you to do the same thing. It’s not to say we’re being Pollyanna about anything like oh my god, I made $1. So like, the way it was in days in it’s everything’s amazing. But just to just sit in that you have made $1, $1,000 $10,000 $100,000 whatever that is for you. But to just really be present to how cool that is, what a badass you are for being able to do that having the courage to do that. And so that is a sign that you are succeeding.

And I know that with this as well, we can get worry that if we call ourselves successful, that we will lose our drive to achieve more, and we want to achieve more so we can feel successful. It’s so crazy how it works. We try and deny ourselves of that now so that we get to feel it in the future. But really, this lesson for me has just been that by denying myself of that feeling in that launch in that moment. And there was a lot that I celebrated but I really didn’t get that it had succeeded to actually make the progress towards my goals that I could make. And me operating from a place of inadequacy. It’s not working. It’s not good enough. That didn’t help me get closer to my goals.

It only had me spinning my wheels wheels getting in my own way. And spending a lot of time doing things that weren’t ultimately the biggest needle mover for me. And it’s really important to not to make yourself wrong, when you see things like that, I’ll do another episode on that. But I am so glad and grateful to have seen that lesson and like really gotten it. So I want to make sure that you might not get it yet, but at least you can have awareness around it. And like this PGSDer that I was coaching, she was saying that she made money when she was on vacation, like someone bought one of her art prints while she was on vacation. That is huge. That is amazing. But we just lose sight of that, because of who we’re comparing ourselves to.

And also when we’re using our goal against ourselves and saying, Well, this personal growth goal that I set, in order to challenge myself to grow into it, to be able to do new things, I have to live up to that, to be able to feel like I’m succeeding at all, it just isn’t helpful. And I want to mention to a really incredible episode that I listened to recently on all on I think thinking from Stacey Boehman on make money as a life coach, regardless of whether or not you’re a life coach. It’s episode 258. I’ll link it up in the show notes. But in that episode, Stacey talks about all or nothing thinking as it relates to it’s working, and it’s not working. And it really was a revelation to me to hear the way she was talking about it. Because that was one of the first things that had me start to see, ah, like when I have been debriefing on a launch, for example, or even on a week that I tend to just paint it all as either it’s working, and then I miss the things that aren’t working, or it’s not working, and I miss the things that are working.

So just being able to sit in the messiness of at all times. There are things that are working, and there are things that aren’t working. And so it’s not to say that launch that I did in January 2022, that it worked, and nothing could ever be changed. And as like everything about it worked perfectly, a lot of things about that launch worked, there are a lot of things that didn’t. But I’m not going to ignore all those things at work just because I didn’t achieve the ultimate goal. So I highly recommend listening to that episode, if you relate to what I’m saying in this one. Another sign that you’re succeeding is that you’re doing something that your past self would have never done, regardless of whether you’re making money in your business yet or not like publishing a YouTube video, for example, me, for example, recording a podcast episode, basically, every single thing I do in my business today, my past self, at some point would have been petrified to do mortified to do, I would have absolutely never seen myself as being able to do it or able to do it without having a whole lot of stress, or pressure or anxiety about it.

And that now so many of those things, I can just do it so easily, so naturally. And so that is a sign, he was succeeding, that were like, Oh, of course I should, because I’ve been in business for two years. So I should be able to do this by now. Like when we say shit like that, it is so demeaning and derogatory to ourselves and not allowing ourselves to appreciate what we have accomplished. And therefore we’re going to accomplish less. And I’m saying it like that, because I know I’m talking to a perfectionist, achieve more, that if we frame it that way, by not allowing ourselves to celebrate ourselves, you will achieve less than if you don’t celebrate it.

So also, if you are failing at something for a second time, a third time, a fifth time, a 10th time, that is a sign that you are succeeding. So many people. Always everyone quits after the first failed attempt. And so many people don’t even give it that first attempt. So to be failing at something means that you’re showing up, it means that you’re on the court, it means that you’re actually doing things that you’re someone who was up to something. And again, if you just compare yourself to people who are more successful than you are, it’s really important to have that success like defining what that means for you.

For me, a really important part of that is the lifestyle piece, not in terms of possessions. But how much control do you have, over your time? Do you actually have freedom over how you spend your time? Do you actually have choice? Or are you very successful financially, but you never can see your family. So that is really important to note just as well with success to just pay attention to who you’re comparing yourself to? And do you want the life of the person you’re comparing yourself to because I noticed recently as well like a lot of the videos I was watching on YouTube and different things like that, that when I really got present to it, I didn’t actually want their life, and it was their perspectives and beliefs and the things they’re sharing through, even if it’s not, like, depends what the video was on, but say if they’re sharing tips and advice on something like those perspectives and beliefs they’re sharing, have informed and created their lifestyle.

And so if I’m not wanting to be in their position, it’s not to say that they don’t have amazing things to say. But if I’m only listening to people who I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, it’s just something to be paying attention to and noticing. And so I’ve begun shifting, okay, who do I actually want to make sure I have in my brain who’s telling me things, and not just having it be by default, a whole lot of people who I can learn so much from, like, I love learning from all different places, and synthesizing that all together. But then subconsciously, I’m going to begin adopting certain beliefs. And I don’t want to adopt certain beliefs about for example, like how many hours you have to work to be succeeding, I want to be around whether it’s digitally or in person, people who believe that you can think at a higher level to create the results you want, versus having to work more time.

So with that said, when it comes to another side, it’s a reduction in time between getting in your own way and getting back out of your own way. This is so crucial to know that you’re getting in your own way. Whether it’s overthinking procrastination, too, anything like that, when that is going on, that is not a problem. That is not a sign, like I should know better by now. And I’m Power planning. So I shouldn’t be doing that, like, No, you’re human is going to happen. Success is seeing a reduction in time between, especially between like it happening, and when you get self awareness. So oftentimes, self awareness will lag that you’ll only see things in hindsight. So for example, about this lesson that I’m sharing from the launch, I’ve only seen it two years later. Next time, you can bet I’m gonna see it a lot more quickly than that, and then I’ll be able to see it ahead of time.

So it’s known as well, there’s that lag in awareness initially, as that gets less and less, that is you making progress that is you succeeding. And also when you have that awareness, because awareness doesn’t entitle you to change, when you have that awareness. And then you’re able to do the self coaching needed to make the shifts needed to allow the feelings needed for you to be able to get yourself back into what you want to be doing. It might take initially like a week between you getting in your own way and getting back out of it, or maybe it’s a month, and then it begins taking 72 hours, and then maybe it’s a day, and then maybe it’s five hours, and then maybe it’s one hour, and then maybe it’s 15 minutes. That is you making progress that is you succeeding.

And another one I want to mention is that you’re planning properly. So you’re using power planning for me, I notice when I am really showing up fully for myself, I’m doing my Power Hour, I’m doing my little tweaks, I’m doing my weekly review. And I’m using that to note to the relationship I have with myself and to further develop myself trust. I want to mention too, if you want to learn the steps of how planning episode 342 covers how to plan properly as a perfectionist with power planning. And in that episode, I share the steps.

So I want to just wrap up by mentioning what to do when friends and family asked you or like a way to approach it. So first of all, you can tell them like actually share that you are doing something you enjoy doing, and that it is going well. So you need to first of all have those perspective shifts. So if you’re in PGSD, we’re actually going to be doing our annual review call together on the 21st of December. So this is really going to help if you haven’t actually noticed that you have been succeeding that you have been making progress. So in that, we’re going to look at what has been working. Also what hasn’t been it’s really important to look at both.

But you need to really give yourself a minute to celebrate yourself before you go into these situations, ideally, but you can actually if you really start to feel your own success, get comfortable and practice telling people like yes, I really enjoy what I’m doing. And yes, it’s going well, it often will feel so uncomfortable because we’re so used to just complaining and commiserating with other people. But if you can just be in that place of just really understanding that you are doing well. Even if you haven’t hit that big goal that you set for yourself, that you are doing well and knowing that you will inspire other people around you.

So you need to be strategic to necessarily tell everyone there are some people that there is no real point telling them or to kind of engage in anything with them about how it’s going and there are people that you don’t need to spend your time on when it comes to answering questions and explaining like what your goals are and what you’re trying to do. But there are people who want to do what you’re doing, and who want to be inspired and who want to actually be around other people who like what they’re doing and are having a good time doing it. And they are making progress. And so just because other people around, you aren’t telling you directly, that they’re that kind of person, you have to go first. And there have been so many people, in my personal circles, over the years that I felt scared to tell them, because I’m thinking like, well, they know me being a certain way. And I’m now being this different way of doing this whole different, like career path. And I was planning to do, but just how so many of them have been inspired by it and ended up doing their own things, or doing the thing that we’re doing in a different way. So it’s just knowing that sometimes like, you have to be the one to go first.

Especially like, I wish I was around more people who are into personal development, like we’ll do you talk about with other people, maybe you do, but maybe like me, if you think they’re not that kind of person, you hide it, and you never get to find out like the number of I’m sure like closet personal development nerds I have talked to that I didn’t know they liked personal development, and they didn’t know I did. So we talked about boring shit that neither of us were interested in. So just knowing like, you might have to be the one to go first. And that will take courage that will take feeling some uncomfortable feelings. But being willing to do that, and to just be yourself as well is so valuable.

And then also to be honest about when things you really feel like they aren’t working. And I say this, because a lot of times when people ask me how business is going, it’s such a hard question to answer because I’m like, well, I could go on for hours about like, well, this thing and that thing and that thing. But I find myself being like, yeah, it’s going really well. And I think I just like need to give a bit more thought to how I answer that question. Because I do really want to talk about it and love talking about it. But I find myself when things are going really well that I don’t share that. And when I feel like things aren’t going really well that I don’t share it. So I’m always just kind of like, yeah, it’s going good. And that doesn’t allow me to really step into who I am and who I want to be in a social situation.

So I think part of that is sharing both sides. And when I do that more and more like it’s almost like I’m scared that if I say things aren’t going well, they’re like, Oh, well, you don’t have a real business or like it brings up and is triggering thoughts that I still have about myself as it relates to the business and being an entrepreneur where my self image needs to be upgraded. So by putting myself in those situations and having those conversations, it’s allowing me to do that work, but also just allowing me to really step into and own the journey that I’m on what I’m doing, what I stand for, and all of those different things. So I hope that is helpful to hear. But to just know like, you are making progress, you are succeeding. And so if you are dreading other people asking you because of your own self perception that you aren’t making progress, you can do things to correct that self perception, so you have much less dread. So with all that said, I hope you’re having a beautiful day and I will talk to you in the next episode.


If you found this episode helpful, I want to make sure you know about the perfectionism quiz. It’s a free quiz that I created is going to take you about 90 seconds if that to complete. And what it will tell you is what your top trait of perfectionism is. So there are five signs five traits of perfectionism, overthinking, procrastination, burnout, fear of judgment and all or nothing thinking. And while as a perfectionist, you will be able to relate to all of those, it’s so powerful to know what your top trait is. So that you can focus on just overcoming that trait, rather than having to overcome perfectionism in every single way. And what I’ve found when I’m doing the work myself or with my clients, especially if you’re power planning is that just by having one thing to focus on, it really makes it so much easier to get out of your own way when we think that we need to be overcoming perfectionism and all the ways that it manifests we end up not really making any real progress at all. So just by knowing what your top trait is, you were so much better equipped to get out of your own way so you can go to samlaurabrown.com/quiz to take the free quiz today.

Author: Sam Brown