In my younger years, I strived for perfectionism. Everything in my life, both work and personal had to be perfect. I worked long hours, cleaned my home before the cleaning lady came, did my hair perfectly before going to the hairdresser....the list goes on and on.
Why do people feel they have to do things perfectly? Judgement mostly. Judgement comes from 3 sides....the perfectionist judging themselves feeling nothing is being done good enough, the perfectionist thinking that no one can do something as well as they can, and "thinking" there is judgement from others that everything has to be perfect. This puts so much pressure and stress on the perfectionist they can't keep up with themselves.
Another challenge is procrastination can set in. Because the perfectionist has to do things so perfectly, quite often they delay getting a task started, because they don't have all the answers and haven't got it perfectly planned out in their mind, they keep delaying getting started.
People that are close to someone that is a perfectionist very often feel inadequate. This person feels like they couldn't possibly do things as well as the perfectionist, even though they are fully capable. This can also affect families because the perfectionist often criticizes everything other's do believing it isn't as good as they could do themselves.
People may express their perceived inadequacy to the perfectionist. They very often feel that they wouldn't want to do the task the perfectionist is so good at because they can't do it as well. Doing things at the perfectionist level is not maintainable long-term.... I remember many years ago speaking to some junior people in a company I was working with. I was encouraging them to move forward in their career and follow the path I had taken. They said they would never want to do what I did because it was too much work. This was a huge wakeup for me. The perfectionist is actually robbing people of living into their potential by the over the top example they are setting.
Perfectionism is exhausting, stressful, and comes from the insecure mindset.....a belief that nothing is good enough and everyone is judging them. A better alternative instead, is to strive for excellence. Accept that it is ok not to be perfect. It is freeing! Letting go of perfectionism and striving instead for excellence will positively change every aspect of your life.
I've certainly been there in my early days of being an entrepreneur. It was part of my personality even when I worked full-time in the corporate world. I worked my 40 hours per week, and always brought work home and worked 4-5 hours at night. This was before I had a family.
I took this same level of "commitment" into my own business. We are conditioned to believe that we must work this hard to get ahead. Very often though, the work that you are investing time in is not productive. I was the type of person that had to do everything perfectly. This is exhausting and when you are in a leadership position, no one can live up to the perfectionist's example. This is doing a dis-service to those you are leading. Their self esteem and belief in themselves can be affected when they feel they cannot do something as well as you can. Perfectionists hold themselves and the people around them back.
When our daughter was about 3 or 4, we were baking Christmas cookies and the phone rang. When I got off the phone, our daughter was quite upset and reminded me that I had promised not to answer the phone while we baked. Although this might seem like a minor incident, it was a reminder our family is the most powerful internal motivator there is. To feel like I broke a promise to our daughter made me realize that I needed to get control of my hours and walk the walk of what I said I would do.....I always did that in my work (being the perfectionist I was) but realized I was not walking that walk at home. It was in that moment that I made a decision to have an unlisted phone line installed in our home. If that phone rang, we would answer it any time of day because the only people with that number would be our family. This accomplished two things....our children knew when work was done, we had time together and nothing would interrupt that. The other spin-off benefit was getting control of my time. If you don't learn to control your time, and let time control you, eventually you burn out. hen you are not benefiting anyone. It's important to work hard and play hard to rejuvenate yourself.
There is a simple thought that if practiced persistently can help...we work to live, we don't live to work. We work to provide for our families and make their lives better, not to eliminate all time spent with them.
Strive for excellence in everything you do, but when the workday ends, shift gears and strive for excellence (not perfectionism) in your personal life. Give both the same level of respect. This is how you achieve balance and avoid burnout. You will also find that by unplugging and allowing yourself the time with your family, you will gain new perspectives, de-stress, will come up with new fresh ideas
Many people believe we are born entrepreneurs. Although some are, I absolutely know entrepreneurship can be taught. I have been an entrepreneur since 1986. When I started out, I had no background in being self -employed. As I look back on a 27 year career, there are some things I have learned along the way that shortened my learning curve.
Steps Every Entrepreneur Must Go Through
A Strong WHY (reason) To Become An Entrepreneur: Your WHY will be the launching pad that moves you into action and will get you through challenges you face along the way. I had been an employee prior to having our first child. As many young parents find, once that beautiful baby is put in your arms, you want to spend every possible moment with them. I had never really thought about becoming an entrepreneur, until I went back to work after my maternity leave. Although I was very much career minded, the desire to be with our children was stronger than my desire to move up in the corporate world. Many people will feel this same emotion, but allow the pressures and fears to determine their decisions about work. They end up sacrificing the time they could spend with their children because of fear, limiting beliefs and not realizing they have a choice.
When I train people one of the most important things I teach is to tap into your WHY....the REASON you want to start your business. (in my case my WHY was being home with our children) When you are committed to your WHY, do not let anything get in the way of that. Make every single decision based on your WHY. If decisions do not support your WHY then you are making the wrong decision, which is usually based on fear.
Idea: Every entrepreneur goes through the idea stage. Very often the idea is formed from seeing a problem area that needs a solution. This can come from being an employee and seeing things done in the wrong way, and recognizing and developing a better way. It can also come from being a consumer looking for something that doesn't exist. Another way, is having a passion for something that you want to make your life work.....you find creating ideas in this area easy because it is what you are passionate about. Either way, the idea is formed. The key in business, is to do something you absolutely believe in and have a passion for. Then it doesn't feel like work.
Be Willing To Take Risks: Something every entrepreneur must understand, is learning to take risks. It is part of being self-employed. The alternative is to work your entire life with ideas inside you that are never acted upon because you are too afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. Playing it safe in life is how society has been conditioned to think. Taking a step to become self-employed means being willing to step out of the norm and accepting that risk is simply part of the process.
Capital WILL Be Required: I recently coached a young entrepreneur who has a remarkable idea that will do well in a growing market. She is stalled however because of two things....she is holding on to the security of a paycheck, and doesn't have the money to invest in inventory that she requires to run her business. Business owners do not "save up" capital to invest. Business owners understand that capital will be required, and then decide where they are going to raise that capital - banks, investors, credit unions, loans, line of credit, etc. Anyone that thinks they can start a business without capital is thinking from an employee mindset. Even something as basic as a hot dog vendor needs to have the bbq, and food they will offer at the hot dog stand. That requires capital.
Develop the MINDSET of an Entrepreneur: The mindset of an entrepreneur is very different than that of an employee. Entrepreneurs are willing to go against the grain, take risks, be different, set goals, make powerful, bold decisions that move towards the goal, and then take action consistently for as long as it takes.
Commitment to Continued Learning: Many people in society think it is up to employers to pay for their training. Reading, seminars, conferences, audios, masterminding, mentorship, are all ways to continue learning. Entrepreneurs take full responsibility for and invest in continued learning. Change is constant, and you must continue to learn and grow and be ready to implement change when necessary. This is necessary regardless of whether you are an employee or are self-employed. Continue to learn and grow....take it on as your own personal responsibility, and realize that change is part of life....you can be a victim of change, or can be ready to embrace it when the time comes.
Be Solution Oriented: Challenges will come up. Know that there is always a solution of some sort and don't allow yourself to get derailed. Stay calm, and learn to ask yourself better questions. When you learn to ask yourself better questions during a challenge, you will see things from a different perspective. You will see new options and solutions that you wouldn't see if you were frustrated.
If you are considering becoming a business owner, realize that you will have to make changes in your thinking, you will have to take risk, you will have to raise capital, be solution oriented, take full responsibility, continue to learn and grow to become the leader you are capable of. It isn't always easy, but in comparison to being an employee building someone else's dream, there is nothing more fulfilling.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader