Imagine for a second that your perfectionist thoughts were a real person. That they had been imbued with the traits that make us human. Now imagine that this human is a terrorist… holding your business hostage. If you can picture that you now can start to realize what your own thoughts are doing to your business. Only once we understand this can we begin to fix the process
Your brain has been trained to focus on perfectionism from a very young age. If you haven’t already read my post from before on Why We Want Perfection So Bad then read that first and then come back here. If you don’t actively work to reverse what has been instilled within you for so long, you will inevitably succumb to it. In fact like those who suffer from Stockholm syndrome you will even come to love your perfectionist thoughts. They will become something you think are there to help when nothing could be further from the truth. We need to train our brains to form new habits and new pathways in order to achieve more. This is true whether you are working on something big or small, as it is hard to resist what you have been trained to do.
You must change the very way your subconscious mind informs and persuades your conscious mind. This is much simpler said than done; however, it can be achieved if you put your mind to it, pun intended. The way you think affects how you act, what you do, and which decisions you make. You must stamp out this corruption of your thought patterns if you are to have any chance of success. All action stems from a thought. Therefore, in order to achieve success, all thoughts must be controlled and redirected appropriately along their path.
The first step in this corrective process is to identify which of your thoughts are contributing to your pursuit of perfection. Here are some examples of perfectionists’ thoughts:
- What if they don’t like it?
- What if it’s missing something?
- What if they return it because…?
- We can’t be seen like that. (Please note that this statement can have merit but not often.)
- If we can just finish this one last thing, we can put it out there and be done with it.
- Just a few more tweaks and I’ll finally be done.
- It won’t take me to long to make this change.
- I can finish it quickly if I can just get this one piece done.
- We can add these few minor things.
Now, these are just some quick examples of what perfectionists may think. The phrasing and terminology that you use in your own head will likely be different. However, if you find yourself saying or thinking variations of these statements, you definitely have a mindset issue that you need to overcome. Unfortunately, for a true perfectionist, it may be easy to rationalize these thoughts. You may even be tempted to think that your own statements are different enough or that your situation is different enough that this list is not applicable to you. If you find yourself thinking this, then you are deeper into the fixed perfectionist mindset than you realize. Your brain will try every trick it can to prevent you from changing. Just like a terrorist will do everything and anything to make you think you are hopeless and completely in their control. Instead of just reading the list as it is written, consider how you personally think these thoughts and how you personally say these statements. There may be subtle differences, but the harm these words cause is the same.
Consider the list again. The underlying message in each of these thoughts is the same: always compare yourself against something or someone else, and let outside forces determine whether or not you are done and whether or not you are okay to continue.
Only once you begin to identify the thought’s YOU are having in your own head can you begin to break free of the bonds that are holding your business back and build the business you deserve and have been picturing.
In my book I go into more detail about how to begin changing these thoughts. Be sure to pick up your own copy at www.bobmcintoshbook.com
Let me know in the comments below what are your versions of these thoughts. What things do you tell yourself that are holding your business hostage? I would be very curious to know so I can build this ever expanding list!