Ep. #66 – Is Perfectionism Secretly Holding You Back?

July 19, 2022

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Have you been putting off your really big goals and projects?! If so there’s a sneaky chance that perfectionism could be part of the reason why. In today’s episode, we’re talking through all of the different ways that perfectionism can sneak into your goals and unconsciously hold you back from taking action. Some of the things we’re chatting through are:

How sometimes the things we’re MOST excited about implementing are the things we put off the longest (let’s talk through why we do this!)We fall into the idea that in the future we’ll have “more time” to work on our big projects and ideas. Sometimes the reason why we aren’t taking action is because we are not 100% clear on the exact steps on how to move forward. If you’re in a season where you have big projects and goals that you’re working on OR if you feel like you’ve been putting off some big projects, I’m excited to dive into this conversation with you today!

If you have a business owner friend that would benefit from today’s episode, I’d love for you to take a screenshot of this episode and send it to them in a DM or text message — let’s help each other remember to take action and make big moves in our business!

Episode Outline:

  • Introduction  01:15
  • Thoughts That Sparked The Idea For This Episode 02:38
  • Is Perfectionism Secretly Holding You Back? 04:50 
  • The Fear of Showing Up and Getting it Wrong 08:50 
  • When Too Much Planning Becomes a Recipe for Inaction 10:17
  • Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time: Your Busy Schedule Won’t Slow Down 12:50
  • What to Do When You Lack Clarity on That First Step 15:21
  • How to Kill Your Inner Perfectionism 17:29 
  • Are You Afraid of Being Successful? 19:27
  • Parting thoughts 23:5


Hello and welcome to this episode of The She Calls Her Shots Podcast. And if it’s your first time listening to the show, I just want you to know I’m so glad that you’re here. If you’ve been a longtime listener, thank you so much for being here today and for always joining in on the conversation. And so diving into this topic today, I am going to tell you a little bit of a story about my business, how I’ve grown it, but also some of the things that I’ve been focusing on or rather wanting to focus on growing in my business. But just realizing that there’s a little tiny bit of perfectionism that I found that has been holding me back without me even realizing that it’s been there. So before we dive into the episode today, I did want to just thank Lauren for her recent review. Lauren just says the BFF, biz best friend, everyone needs in their corner, Krista’s down to earth candid approach to sharing advice when it comes to setting realistic expectations for your business is the voice of reason we can all benefit to hear from, especially when perfectionism comes knocking at the door. Her episode on when your business plans are taking longer than expected, hit home for me. Even after being in business for eight years, I found it helpful to reflect and check in with the timelines and milestones I had for myself and for my latest launch. Thank you, Krista. Thank you so much, Lauren. I’m so glad that that episode resonated with you. That is one of my favorites. And we’re also going to be talking a little bit more about that perfectionism today in this episode. So I hope that if that episode resonated with you, this episode will also resonate as well. 

Thoughts That Sparked The Idea For This Episode 

So what sparked the idea for today’s episode? You know, how did we get here? What’s the story behind it? So I was actually driving this past weekend. So right here, and right now when I’m recording, I had a wedding this past weekend. And so I was in the car, it was about a two-hour drive. And I find that I have car thoughts, almost similar to shower thoughts or long outdoor walk thoughts. When I’m in the car, or when quiet or by myself for long periods of time, sometimes this little thought just comes across my brain. And I’m just like, where did that come from? But they tend to be really insightful. And so that happened to me this weekend. And it started this conversation in my head. And I know that I’m not the only one who has this feeling. Because a lot of other business owners that I speak with, we all struggle with perfectionism. And it doesn’t matter how much we’ve grown or how much we think that we’ve overcome it or how far we’ve come, there will always be this underlying fear that we may not even know is there because it’s just underneath the surface. And so even though you’ll hear me all the time talking about on the podcast, how to take messy action, and starting before you’re ready, and taking the leap, I noticed that there are still a few things in my business that I’ve been holding back on, because I’m secretly afraid of putting myself out there or to do it wrong, quote, unquote. And so here’s the thing, we’re gonna dive into this conversation today. And if this resonates with you, if this is like, Krista, you’re speaking directly to me, I’m going through this. I would love for you to take a screenshot of the episode and share it with me. It can be in a DM on Instagram. It can be in your stories on Instagram, but I would love to know what it is that resonates with you because I love being able to create content that really speaks directly to you. So if you’re listening to this today and you’re raising your hand like this is me, I would absolutely love to hear from you. Okay, so let’s go ahead and get started. 

Is Perfectionism Secretly Holding You Back? 

So sometimes I think this perfectionism, this feeling that we have that is like secretly holding us back, I think it can come in different shapes and sizes. So first things first, I want to tell you a little bit of a story about my business, where I am right now, the things I’ve been focusing on, and how I got to this point. So specifically, today, I’m going to talk to you about one of the big projects that I’ve had that’s been on the back burner, that I’ve really been wanting to put time and energy and attention on is SEO. I have heard from day one, from starting my business how important SEO was. The thing is that, let’s rewind 11, 12 years ago, when I was just starting my photography business. We didn’t really have a lot of masterclasses or trainings or ways to get education around certain things back then. Instagram wasn’t a thing. Facebook was the thing, but I don’t even know that there were Facebook pages or business pages. Pinterest wasn’t started yet. So this is going way, way back. And so even though I knew SEO was important, I felt clueless on what that actually meant. And so what happened is that over the years, because I wasn’t taking the time to really learn about it, because I wasn’t even sure how to learn about it or where to go to learn about it, I made it up to be this really difficult thing in my head. So I put it off, I put it off, I resisted learning about it for so long. And the longer that I put it off, the more overwhelming and difficult I made it out to be in my head. And so now, fast forward, many years later, SEO trainings have been around for a little while now. 

But truthfully, I have only started really diving into it within the last year. And I’m a little bit bummed that I maybe didn’t jump on this a little bit sooner. Just because I feel like, without SEO, we’re just making things harder for ourselves, the longer we put it off. But also, again, going back to that feeling, the longer that we put it off. It’s like this big monster that we don’t want to face, right. I made it out to be this big, scary thing. And I just resisted it and resisted it. And so even though you know a few months ago, I dove in, I purchased a full guided course with one-on-one calls and training. I mean, it was amazing, because I really feel like even though I’m not all the way through it yet, it’s still been really helpful to help me start to learn how to think about SEO. The one-on-one calls, honestly, were well worth the entire program because I got individualized feedback on this is what you should be focusing on. This is what you should be doing. And it was that clarity and action that I needed in order to know how to move forward, and how to actually implement these things that I’ve been wanting to implement. 

The Fear of Showing Up and Getting it Wrong 08:50 

However, the thought that I had this weekend while I was driving is that usually some of the time that I find when I put something off in my business, it’s usually because I’m not sure what that first step is. Usually it’s because it’s such a big goal that I haven’t broken it down enough to figure out how do I actually break this down into a way where I can take one step and then the next step, and then the next step? Usually, the reason why I find myself putting things off because I just don’t have clarity on how to actually get started. And I realized that that’s not the case here. I literally have step by step, all of the things that I need to do, all of the things that I need to be focusing on. And yet I still haven’t done it. And sure, there’s always the excuse of time, things have been really busy. Of course, it’s wedding season. I’ve had a lot of podcast interviews, the list can go on and on of things that are happening. But that’s when I realized, I think there’s something deeper going on here. I think that there’s something under the surface that I haven’t really addressed. And when I started to think about it I’m like, you know what, I think that I haven’t really gotten over this idea that SEO is this big, scary monster that I don’t want to face. And I hadn’t really come to terms with that and come to terms with the fact that I have a plan, I can move forward. I think deep down I was still so afraid of showing up and doing it wrong or you know, just not wanting to put myself out there because I was worried that if it wasn’t perfect that it wouldn’t benefit me. 

And so that’s the story around this idea of where this came from and where this thought got started. And so I want to share with you a few tips and some things, if you find yourself in a place where you have something really big and it could be really exciting. Maybe you have something you are really truly excited to finally be doing or tackling in your business, but yet you still find yourself putting it off, I want to talk through some things today to help you work past those feelings and to work past that fear, and to actually take action and do the things that you want to do to move you forward. 

When Too Much Planning Becomes a Recipe for Inaction

So first things first, I do think that sometimes the things that we’re most excited about doing in our business are the things that we put off the most. So for example, for me, I am actually so excited now that I have a plan. I have a plan of action. For so long, I felt stuck because I didn’t know how to move forward. I didn’t know what that first step was. And I didn’t know, you know how to even tackle this big scary, unknown thing. And now I’m so thrilled because I have a plan, I know exactly what I need to do, right. And I think because of that, that excitement turned into fear, strangely enough. I think that those things are sometimes interchangeable, right. You can be so excited, but because you have so much excitement towards it, you find yourself resisting it and putting it off, even though it’s something that you want to do. And I think one reason for that is because let’s say for example, maybe you’re so excited about it, because you think that this is going to be the thing that’s going to move me forward. This is the thing that my business has been missing. This is the thing that’s going to change the outcome of my business and my goals. We subconsciously put this pressure on whatever it is that we want to tackle. And because we’ve added that pressure, now all of a sudden, we’ve paralyzed ourselves, and we don’t want to take action, because now we’re so afraid of not doing it right or not doing it well. 

And so even if it’s something that you’re really excited about, and you really think is going to be amazing for your business, it very well might be. But I encourage you to recognize, if you’ve put a lot of pressure on it to be the one thing that’s going to change the trajectory of your business. Because if that’s the case, chances are you’re pumping it up too much. And now you’re going to be too afraid to actually start messy, or to just put it out there. So whatever that is, for example, for me, again, this is going back to SEO and creating blog posts and content. But for you this could be maybe launching a new service that you’ve been wanting to do. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to pitch yourself for podcasts or on other people’s blogs, right? It can be anything that you’ve been wanting to do for your business that you’ve just been putting off. 

Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time: Your Busy Schedule Won’t Slow Down 

I think a second thing that happens is that we’ll put things off because we think that next week or next month, we’ll have more time to dedicate to it. How many times have you said to yourself, I’ll do this when I’m less busy next month, or when my schedule opens up next week, then I’ll be able to tackle this. And if you’ve found yourself asking or saying that, then I want to ask you this question of how many times is that actually true? How many times does your schedule actually slow down? Because for me, I know that I will create to-do lists for myself each week. And I’ll always think, oh my gosh, how am I going to get through this week? This is crazy. But at least I’ll tackle all of this this week. And the next week right now there’s nothing there. It’s a completely open blank to-do list. Okay, well, that’s great in theory, but chances are, I’m not going to accomplish all the tasks that I have for this week. And even if I do accomplish those tasks, they’re likely follow up tasks that need to happen after me accomplishing those tasks. So then when do those get added? Well, those get added to next week. So the point that I’m trying to make is that we get caught in this idea that at some point, we’ll have more time. At some point we’ll be able to have the space and the energy and the time to be able to tackle newer, bigger projects. Spoiler alert that time is never going to come. And I definitely found myself using that as an excuse for why I haven’t made any progress. Oh, it’s been busy. I haven’t had time to create blog posts or to sit down and really think about what I was doing. But at the end of the day, that’s just an excuse. If it’s truly important for me in my business, I will make the time to do it. Instead of just finding excuses and waiting until the time is perfect. If you can resonate with that, raise your hand, send me a DM like because I know I can’t be the only one that just thinks next week. My schedule will be clearer, right? And it’s retraining our brains to not focus on the future as being this idyllic place where all of a sudden, there’s more time and more space to do things. Retraining your brain that if I want to tackle this, I need to make the time right now.

What to Do When You Lack Clarity on That First Step

And I think another reason that we put things off maybe without realizing it is because, and I touched on this a little bit earlier, but you might actually just lack clarity on what that first step is that you need to take. Or what those exact steps are, that you need to take in order to accomplish whatever it is, that is your goal. And I know that this is a common one for both me and maybe even for you listening in. Because sometimes we have these bursts of ideas of things that we want to do, but we have a to-do list in our head of the things that we need to accomplish, or are the things that we need to tackle in order to make that goal come to life. But we oftentimes don’t actually sit down and write out step by step exactly what needs to happen. And I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, my favorite way of breaking down big scary goals is by doing brain mapping, right. And so if you’ve never heard me talk about brain mapping, essentially, it’s taking a big oversized sheet of paper, putting a circle in the middle, maybe just like the size of your fist or your palm, and writing whatever it is that that big, scary, goal is, and then drawing some lines outside of that circle five to six lines, and then breaking down. Okay, what steps do I need to make happen? What’s the first layer of steps that needs to happen in order for me to start to work towards this goal? But then those second steps are still usually pretty vague. So then after you know those next steps, it’s like drawing lines from each of those bubbles and ask yourself, Okay, for each of these, how do I take this one step further, right. In theory, what we’re doing here is we’re breaking down our big, vague goals into very, very detailed actionable steps. So that could be why you find yourself delaying. Maybe you just aren’t 100% clear on what are the exact steps that I even need to be taking to even start to tackle this goal. 

How to Kill Your Inner Perfectionism  

And I think the thing that I want you to remember here is that, I want you to imagine us right now, you and I were sitting on the couch, we’re hanging out, we’ve got our favorite glass of wine. Like we’re having this conversation. And I want you to really hear me out on this last point is the things that are on your heart to share. Maybe it’s, again, like it could be a big project, it could be pitching yourself for something, it could be creating a new service, maybe it is writing out blog posts and working on your SEO, whatever it is that’s on your heart, to create or to share with others, it’s going to make a much bigger difference than you’ll ever begin to know. And I think sometimes we downplay that, because we let our fears win. We let our fears and our concerns and our perfectionism take over. And we forget just how beneficial whatever it is that we want to put out into the world. How much of an impact that could make on one person or on multiple people, right. And so, that little nudge that you feel to start that new project or launch the new service or record that workshop or write that inspirational piece of content, whatever it is, I hope that you focus more on the benefit that someone’s going to receive by you putting that out into the world, and less on your fear and pressure on, you know what this is going to do for you and your business. Because I really think when we flip the script and we think about it in a way of how can I best service other people and give to other people around me, that perfectionism really has no place to stand at that point. Because we’re so focused on giving and helping others that we don’t spend the time and the energy being worried or fearful about trying to show up in any sort of way in our business. 

Are You Afraid of Being Successful? 

So I would love to know which one of those resonates with you the most. Maybe you’re kind of going through a little bit of each right now, maybe you feel a little bit of all of them. Truthfully, I’ve been experiencing a little bit of all of these throughout this journey of learning SEO and learning how to properly blog and all of this. I felt all of these fears, right? I put a lot of pressure on how this is going to change my business, which has led me to putting things off and not wanting to put it out there. I think another side effect that we feel when we are putting a lot of pressure on something, is we start to create this story of what is this going to mean for me as a business owner, right? If I put this out there and it does change my business, are we just as afraid of that change, even though it’s positive? Are we resisting that, because we’re afraid of being successful? You could be afraid of either, maybe you’re afraid that you’re going to put out this SEO, this content that brings more people to your website, maybe you’re afraid of failing, but maybe you’re equally just as afraid of having more eyes on your content, right, it could be either way. So maybe you’re feeling a little bit of that, maybe you’re feeling a little bit of the time pressure of I just don’t have time right now. And I’ll put it off in the future when I have more time. Or maybe you’re just not really clear on the exact steps that you need to take. You could be experiencing all of these things. And I want you to know that that’s okay. You are not alone, I have been living in this without even really realizing it. This excuse of time and things being busy and life being busy has just masked some of this deeper fear of perfectionism that I didn’t even know was living inside of me. 

So I would love for you today, if you take one actionable step from today, I would love for you to write down the ways in which whatever it is that you want to accomplish. Again, maybe it’s launching a service that you haven’t launched in the past, maybe it’s creating a piece of content, maybe it’s pitching yourself, whatever it is. I want you to take the time to write down how these things will help your business grow, but also how it will affect other people, right. By you putting this out into the world, how are you going to transform and change the lives of others, and start to focus on that, and how you can really give and provide and be of service to other people. I also want to encourage you to just start making the time. And I know that that’s obviously a lot easier said than done. But truthfully, when we live in this space where we think that sometime in the future, we will have more time, our schedules will open up, life won’t be as hectic, we aren’t really actively pursuing the things that we want to pursue. We’re putting off these big, exciting, amazing life changing things. And it’s such a shame, because the time is going to pass, our schedules are still going to be just as busy. And we’re not going to feel any more fulfilled. Because we haven’t given ourselves the space to be able to focus on the things we want to focus on. And so I really want to encourage you, even if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, sit down and just let yourself start to write down and work out, how exactly is it that I can start to tackle this project in small bits of pieces each day or each week. And then remember, someone out there needs this. Whatever it is that you’re wanting to put out there, someone out there’s life will be completely changed by you putting this out, right? This little podcast that I started a few years ago, if I had not let my fear of perfectionism, if I wouldn’t have been able to push that aside. I wouldn’t have received any of these incredible messages and comments and reviews and just words of love and kindness from so many business owners that I’ve never even met in person. And so just ask yourself, how can this little thing that I want to focus on or put out into the world, how can it start to really make an impact?

Parting thoughts 

So I hope that that was so helpful today. If you enjoyed it, I would love to connect with you on Instagram, like I said, share a screenshot in your stories, tag me at Because truthfully, I love getting to know what content resonates with you the most. And so I love it when my listeners share I will always reshare and tag you in the stories because it not only helps other business owners find the podcast but again just helps me know that this content resonated and that I should make more episodes and have more content dedicated to this topic. So thank you again so much for being here. I hope that you are leaving this episode and are inspired to keep taking messy action and calling your own shots. And I will see you over in the next episode. 

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