Ep #49: Overcoming Perfectionism

Overcoming PerfectionismPerfectionism is something I struggled with for pretty much my entire life. And for those of us who identify as perfectionists, we indulge in trying to achieve perfection and we end up drowning in it if we let it. So this week, I’m letting you in on the biggest secret of perfectionism and how you can start breaking it down to let your brilliance shine.

However perfectionism may be showing up for you, whether it’s in editing your posts over and over again and never hitting publish, or rescheduling your webinars to get it perfect, I’m showing you why it’s not an affliction that you have to overcome. I’m sharing the real work you have to do to untangle perfectionism and why no matter if it’s been a part of your life for as long as you can remember, you can let it go.

Join me today as I outline how to break down perfectionism using the model, and questions you can ask yourself to dig into the habit of perfectionist thinking. Attempting to achieve perfection is a complete waste of your time, and through this work, you’ll be able to use your time and energy in a much better way.

I have just opened up the doors to my November class of the Confident Coaches Mastermind! If you want to take this work deeper and get access to all the bonus work available on the member site, click here to fill out an application!

I am so excited to offer you a podcast-only treat! I’ve created a five-day Unblock Your Confidence mini-course, and this is some of my best work. If you struggle with confidence and want to build more trust in yourself, stop caring about what other people think, get over your fear of failure, and start unblocking your confidence, you need to check it out. Click here to find out more!

What You’ll Learn:
  • How perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand.
  • Why perfectionism isn’t something you have to figure out how to overcome.
  • How to break down perfectionism using the model.
  • Why attempting to achieve perfection is a waste of your time and energy.
  • Questions you can ask yourself to dig into your perfectionist thinking.
Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 49 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where you drop perfectionism once and for all. Let’s do it.

Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.

Hello, hello my confident coaches. How’s everyone doing out there? I got to tell you friends, it’s mid-October and I am doing fabulously. Why? Well, let me tell you. Okay, so if you’re listening into the future then this might not exactly apply to you, but if you’re listening in mid-October of 2020, where I am right now, I have just opened up the doors to my November class of the Confident Coaches Mastermind.

Applications are now coming in, applications are open, and I am so stinking excited by the work that my team and I have been doing behind the scenes to get ready for the latest class. I have just debuted a bonuses section to the member site. If you didn’t already know, if you’re new here, all my Confident Coaches Mastermind members, my CCM members get lifetime access to the Confident Coaches member site.

My member site houses all the goodies of my program. It’s all the videos that prepare you to get the most out of the program, all the coaching concepts and the tools that walk you through the five steps to creating self-confidence, and I’ve just added this bonuses section, which has all of my business planning resources, all my past trainings, even my original podcast.

Did you guys know that this is not the first Amy Latta podcast? So my Business Women Losing Weight podcast, I dusted it off from the box in the back of my closet. The metaphor closet obviously, and now it’s now available to all of my CCM students.

So all of this good stuff, all of this good content that I have created. Joy fest, no longer afraid to be me, my different unblocking your confidence trainings that I’ve done, it’s all housed in this bonuses section for all of my CCM members to use for life. They get to come back to it whenever they need it. I’m so excited.

And between now and the time that that November class starts, I have a couple more confidence coaching concepts that I’ve created that I’m adding to the site and I’ve taken my worksheets and I’ve really fleshed them out into a fully encompassing Confident Coaches workbook that all the November class members will get a hard copy when they enroll.

And they’re going to get the hard copy of it in this really new fun welcome kit that my assistant and I have been putting together full of some swag and some new gifts. And it will also be downloaded for all of my past and current members.

Isn’t it so, so stinking fun to overdeliver to your clients? Yes, coach friends, it’s so fun to think of new ways to serve the people that work with you, that absolutely love you. Like giving every life coach who’s worked with me lifetime access to the member site is just one of the ways that I’ve done that.

I’m going to tell you this right now, I strongly suggest you overdeliver in a way that doesn’t have you indulging in perfectionism. It’s where this podcast came from as I’ve been working on all of these things and I’ve been putting out all of these things. Perfectionism kept rising up to the top, and I thought this is what we need to talk about today.

Because all of these pieces, every bit of my program, the site itself, the tech end of the site, the modules, the videos, the past trainings, trainings I haven’t even created yet that I want to create, the worksheets I’m now putting into a workbook, all of it, not one piece of that would be out there serving my clients if I had indulged in perfectionism.

Because I would have waited for it to all be perfect before I would put it out there, and therefore it would never get out there. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today, but before we dive into this episode, I want to give a shout-out to my client Rachel.

She’s a member of my July class of CCM, and she recently shared with me that just in her three short months, that before CCM, she was a chronic starter but would often not stick it out or see it through or finish and that she’s just now trusting in her ability, in herself, that her business, that it’s all working perfectly right now.

And she has the confidence to follow through no matter what. What a huge shift this has been for her, to be this constant starter who never followed through, to now somebody who has the confidence to follow through no matter what. She said, “I’m taking consistent action because I believe in myself way more and I also believe that my business is successful now, and it will keep growing as long as I keep showing up for myself and I keep showing up for it.”

And my friends, she has set an audacious goal for the next 90 days and I cannot wait to see her crush it because it all starts with all the mindset work in here and then the results just come flowing out of that. So excited. And my Rachel friend, she’s going to have to nip any perfectionism in the bud if she’s going to hit that audacious goal.

We all do. Perfectionism and feeling confident, they are not best friends. They do not go hand in hand. So let’s talk about it. So perfectionism, let’s talk about it. What is it? Perfectionism is the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. Like, nothing less than perfect will be accepted.

And I struggled with perfectionism pretty much my entire life. It’s so interesting to me to think about what I’ve put out there in this member site and how I was such a person that struggled with perfectionism and how none of that would exist right now if I hadn’t done this work.

So first and foremost, the person that you’re listening talking to you right now that’s in your head, that’s in your AirPods right now, Amy Latta, I’m a recovering perfectionist. Though, am I really? What I’m getting ready to share with you, you’re going to find out that I’m not really a recovering perfectionist. Not necessarily.

But this is something I’ve always struggled with. I have done this work myself. I am a living, breathing example of how you can overcome perfectionism. And we are talking about it because those of us who struggle with confidence, we love, love, love to swim in perfectionism.

I mean, we bathe in it. We drink it up. We lounge in it, we backstroke in it, we’ll stay sunk down in it all of the time and we will drown in it if we let it. So first and foremost, can I let you in on the biggest secret of perfectionism? It’s not actually a thing.

It’s true. Perfectionism is not a thing. You can’t catch it, it’s not a tangible thing that you either have or don’t have. It’s not an affliction. It’s a behavior, it’s how you behave, it’s things that you do or don’t do. Perfectionism is the refusal to be anything less than perfect, which shows up as perfectionist actions.

Things you do or don’t do, like not release anything until it’s perfect, or put off doing something until the very last minute because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect so you don’t get around to it. By the way, perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand.

But you are not a perfectionist and you are not a procrastinator because those are actions. They are ways that you behave. They are things that you do. And actions come from how you feel and how you feel comes from your thinking.

So your perfectionism or your procrastination, it’s not a circumstance that you need to try to positive think your way out of. It’s not an affliction to overcome. Perfectionism is a way that you act. They are actions that you take created by a thought that you’re having. Perfectionism is not a circumstance. Perfectionism is a thought.

So right out of the gate, you don’t even have to overcome perfectionism. You’re not a recovering perfectionist because it’s not an affliction that you can learn to feel better about. It’s a way of thinking and when you identify that thinking, you can see what it creates for you and then you can decide if you want to change it.

And most of us, when we really own what our perfectionist thoughts are creating for us, most of us will choose to do the work to actually change our thinking into a better way, and that’s what we’re talking about. And see, this is already so much easier than a thought. You don’t have to overcome anything, you just got to do a little thing where you change your thoughts, but you change your thinking all the time. Am I right, coaches? This is what we do here.

This is what we teach our clients to do. We can do it too. Because perfectionism is not who you are. Even if it has been a part of your life from the youngest of ages, it’s not just you and just how I am. And it’s not something you have to figure out how to overcome. It’s just like any other thought that you have had for a long time that doesn’t serve you.

We just unwire it like we do all the rest of those thoughts, and then we wire in the new thoughts that don’t create perfectionist actions. And then secondly, before we really dive into really dismantling perfectionism, can we talk about the other thing? Can we call truth to the other biggest piece of bullshit around here?

And that is perfect isn’t real. Perfect doesn’t exist. So perfectionism is not who you are and perfect isn’t real. If you get anything out of this podcast, that right there, perfectionist is not who you are and perfect is not real. It’s not a thing.

Because what is perfect? Tell me one thing that everyone agrees is perfect. And by everyone, I mean all seven and a half billion people on the planet have to agree with you. Right? The sky, the sun, the smile on that dog’s face. I guarantee someone somewhere is like, no, I hate it, that’s not perfect. The sky, overrated. The sun, gives me a sunburn. Dogs make me sneeze.

Anything you think is perfect someone else is going to be like, meh. Sure, you think you look perfect today. Like today, I think I look pretty damn perfect. I’m wearing this cute new red sweater with these cute little puppy sleeves. My hair is curled just the way that I want it to, I have these bright red lips, I have my vote necklace on. I think I look pretty perfect right now.

But I guarantee you right now at my finest, at my most gorgeous, at my most stunning, someone somewhere is like, meh, not so much. Brad Pitt, there are people that don’t think he’s a walking Adonis. I know, I don’t get it either. But it’s true.

Whatever you define as perfect, someone else doesn’t think the same thing as you. The perfect piece of marketing copy, I guarantee you, I can even think of a couple examples that are coming to me right now where I have read something that I had thought was perfection, that it was amazing, and shared it with a group of people and had somebody in that group say, oh really? That didn’t do it for me. I thought it was too choppy. I like longer paragraphs; I didn’t like the language they used.

So perfect is not an achievable thing. Because who decides that something is perfect? It’s so subjective. Perfect is just a thought. A thought that not everyone will agree with. And because it’s subjective and not something we can get everyone to agree on, it’s a terrible waste of your time and energy to even attempt to achieve it.

It’s like spending your whole life searching for the holy grail. Every ounce of your being in pursuit of something that no one has ever seen or achieved and some doubt even exist. It’s so not worth wasting the stunning wisdom and beauty and grace you were given to share with the world in pursuit of something that doesn’t even exist.

What does exist however is the brilliance that is inside of you that you are hiding from others because you’re waiting to be perfect. So let’s just get it out of you. So perfectionism is not who you are and perfect doesn’t exist because perfectionism is not a circumstance. It’s just a thought.

So what are those thoughts? This is the meat of your work here. Let’s start with how you are a perfectionist. What does that look like for you? Now, I use a coaching tool called the model. I’ve talked extensively about it in this podcast, but if this is your first podcast with me, understand this, that the model is CTFAR.

It’s five lines. The C is your circumstances, the facts of your life that all seven and a half billion people on the planet would agree with. And then the T, that’s your thoughts about your circumstances. And the F is how those thoughts make you feel. And the A are the actions you take or don’t take when you feel that way. And the R are the results that you get when you act or don’t act the way you want to be acting.

So no matter your circumstances, your thoughts create your results. Your thoughts create your reality. CTFAR is not a new concept, but we just put it into a very easy five-line coaching model. And what I love about the model is you can start anywhere. You don’t have to do it linearly. I think that’s a word.

So you can start anywhere. So with perfectionism, it might be mind-blowing right now just to realize that it’s not your C. It’s not your circumstance. A lot of people put perfectionism in the C line and then try to come up with thoughts to make themselves feel better, but that’s not where it goes.

Your perfectionism is how you act. It’s your behavior. It’s your action. So let’s start there. Even though it’s the fourth line of the model, let’s start with your actions. So what do you do or don’t do when you’re being a perfectionist? What are your perfectionist actions?

Now, it may look different for different people. This is going to be a general podcast and I highly recommend that you do this work with a coach. So some common actions might be you put things off, meaning you decided that you were going to outline the email sequence today and you don’t.

You write the blog post but you never hit send. You never hit publish. Or you edit something over and over and over and over and over and over again. Editing is good, but one or two rounds, and then it’s time to let that shit go into the public.

Or you decide you’re going to do a webinar on Friday and then you reschedule it for the following week and then the following week and then the following week. So what else? Perfectionists also like to control what other people think of them.

So a perfectionist is somebody who has perfectionist actions, it might look like you might say some things that you don’t actually agree with, or you may not say some things, you may not share some things that you really want to share, or any other things that you may do where you show up in a way that is not authentic to you. Wear something you don’t really like to wear, say something you don’t really like to say, do something you don’t really want to do.

So what else comes to mind for you? What kind of things do you do from a perfectionist action standpoint? And then I want you to start asking why. What’s the thinking? See, we’re skipping around the model here. We were on the fourth line, now we’re bouncing up to the second line.

The T line, your thought line. I really just love having fun with the model and being able to move around in it. Why didn’t you send the blog post? What were you thinking? Why did you reschedule that webinar? What were you thinking in that moment? Why did you not hit enter on that post where you said that thing that you’ve really been wanting to say? What were you thinking?

Another question to ask yourself, what were you afraid was going to happen? Another question to ask yourself, what were you afraid you were missing? Like if you send that blog post or you keep that webinar on that day, or you hit send on that post, what were you afraid was going to happen? What did you think you were missing in that moment?

The answers to those questions will help you identify your perfectionist thinking, that someone might think you’re stupid, that someone will disagree with you, that no one will show up. And then whatever comes up there, we then can go just a little bit deeper. Why would that be a problem?

Why is it a problem if someone does say that was stupid? Why is it a problem if somebody does disagree with you? Why is it a problem if no one does show up to the webinar? Why would any of those things be a problem? What would you make those things mean?

With each of these questions, we’re getting closer and closer to that perfectionist thinking, the thoughts that are swimming under the surface that have made you feel terrible, that has had you showing up in these perfectionist ways, in these perfectionist actions for all of these years.

Those thoughts swimming under the surface that you’ve just put under the umbrella of I’m a perfectionist. The more questions you ask, the deeper you get, and the closer you get to the real thoughts that you’re having that are the perfectionist thoughts creating the perfectionist actions.

Because you’re not a perfectionist. You’re just a human thinking thoughts, thoughts that it’s not okay if people disagree with you, or it’s not okay to be told you’re wrong, or that it’s not okay if no one shows up. And those reasons why, that’s your work.

When we find your perfectionist thinking, then we can start to question it. What if that’s not true? What if someone can disagree with you and you aren’t stupid and they aren’t stupid either? What if no one showing up to the webinar doesn’t mean no one wants what you have to offer? What if it’s possible your perfectionist thinking isn’t true? What’s possible instead?

This is the work that’s so much easier to do with a coach because perfectionist thinking feels true. And your brain will tell you that it just is true, that it is a circumstance. And a good coach is needed to call you out on that and just be able to question, is that really true? Is that a thought or is that a circumstance there?

And that good coach can just help you introduce the ideas that these thoughts aren’t true. They’re thoughts, they are optional, and it’s possible you could think something else. So if these possible thoughts aren’t true, then you can feel a little different and you can start acting a little different.

Now, just last week, we talked about how to face plant. That was the podcast episode from last week. And isn’t that the perfectionist’s nightmare right there? So it’s a good thing you’re not actually a perfectionist. You’re just a human with thoughts that create perfectionist action.

But how to face plant is actually how we start breaking down that perfectionist action. That’s actually the next step after you’ve identified or gotten close to identifying the perfectionist thinking. Because if it’s possible that your perfectionist thoughts aren’t true, it’s also possible that you could take a risk, that you could face plant.

It’s possible that you could learn a ton of things on how to make things work if you’re willing to not be perfect, which doesn’t even exist, remember? It’s possible that your value or worth as a person is not based on you being right all the time or perfect or never failing.

You can create possibility thoughts to replace those perfectionist thoughts that you found. Now, yours need to be specific to you. You’ll want your possibility thoughts to be in response to your perfectionist thoughts. And again, that good coach will absolutely help you do that.

We do this work in the Confident Coaches Mastermind. We do this in our group sessions and you can do this in the peer coaching sessions that the members use. And just with that possibility, and make sure you listen to last week’s episode on how to face plant in order to get even more out of this, but just pick something every day that you will purposely fail at, that you will purposely not be perfect at.

Listen, this is going to feel scary. Even with practicing those possibility thoughts, in the moment, expect that you’ll feel that little perfectionist jolt. It will be instinctive because you’ve practiced it so much. It will just be something you naturally do.

But understand this; it’s not a sign that anything’s going wrong. It’s just that old perfectionism habit that’s still there. Remember, it’s part of the unwiring the old stuff so you can wire the new stuff. So you identify those perfectionist thoughts, you practice those possibility thoughts, you expect that jolt of fear or trepidation or worry to be there, and then you remember that it’s not a sign of anything going wrong, and you go do that thing you said you were going to do.

You build up those fail stacks and those daily asks. Just one per day to start, and then just keep building from there. And before you know it, you’ll have totally overcome perfectionism by changing your thinking and taking the action that has previously terrified you.

Now, on one other note, another way to break down your perfectionist action, once you’ve identified your perfectionism thinking, if you’re struggling with possibility thinking, don’t be afraid to come at a new model with how you want to feel.

Don’t be afraid to embrace possibility feeling. It’s also an option here. Maybe you can’t quite put into words what’s possible, though a coach can absolutely help you with that, but you can decide how you want to feel in your body when you’re taking that action that you want to take.

When you have removed perfectionist actions, you’re actually following through on that blog post or that email or that social media post, how do you want to feel? And learn how to embody that feeling. We’ve talked about embodying feelings, embracing feelings in this podcast, and there’s a whole section of it in my members site in the Confident Coaches Mastermind too.

But you can also come at this from how do you want to feel when you take those actions. And then when you embody that feeling, we can let the hints of possibility thinking start to show up. We can start to get a little bit of a clue what we need to be thinking in our mind.

So that’s my work. That’s your work, my friends. This is the work that I’ve already done and it’s the work I’m offering to you. That in order to overcome perfectionism, the biggest things that you can understand is that perfectionism is not a thing. Perfectionist is not who you are. It’s not a circumstance. It is a thought. And perfect isn’t even a real thing to achieve.

It’s a terrible use of your brilliance and your time. The better use of your time is to practice learning possibility thinking and possibility feeling and start taking that action that gets your inherent brilliance out into the world. That, my friends, is an endeavor worth doing. I can’t wait to see what you create. Okay my confident coaches, remember, until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.

Friends, I am so excited to offer you a podcast-only treat. I am sharing with you the five-day Unblock Your Confidence mini course. It is only available to The Confident Coaches Podcast listeners and the only way to get your hands on it is right here. Why do you need this course?

Well, in this five-day mini course, you will learn why it seems like you struggle with confidence when others don’t, how to build trust in yourself, how to get over your fear of failure, how to stop caring so damn much what other people think, and the best thing you can do to unblock your confidence today.

All of that in just five days. This is some of my best work waiting for you. Visit www.amylatta.com/unblockconfidence to get yours. Again, that’s amylatta.com/unblockconfidence. Go now and get started today.  

Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.    

Enjoy the Show?

Share this post

Hi, I’m Amy.

For years, I took a ton of action to sign clients.

I learned to create self-confidence and powerfully believe in myself first, and then built a multiple six-figure coaching business.

And I can help you do it, too.

Scroll to Top

Ready to take the actions that sign clients?

Despite your certification and investing in business courses, no one taught you what you really need. The self-confidence needed to take the actions that consistently sign clients.

I am sharing the three secrets I learned about creating self-confidence, right here.