Over the years, I’ve coached dozens of business owners.
I love it. Together, we identify what’s holding them back. Then over time, we work to chip away at their challenges.
People who work with me over several months make very tangible progress in their businesses. It’s gratifying to watch and I’m honored to help.
But there’s a problem.
Client after client, this one issue keeps coming up
It’s a particular challenge that haunts business owners. And it has begun to bother me enough that I knew I needed to write about it.
Whether you’re just starting out or have an established business that you’re working to grow, chances are you’ve been held back because of the same issue.
Business owners suffer from a specific type of paralysis that makes moving forward nearly impossible. I call it “Perfection Paralysis.”
Perfect Paralysis sucks. It’s a continuous loop of thoughts that runs through your head and keeps you stuck where you are.
Today, we’re going to attack Perfection Paralysis head on, together. Ready?
First, I should tell you that next year, I’ll celebrate 30 years in the business world, and 25 years with my own business.
I have been around the block. More than once. 😉
Business has been one of the great teachers in my life. It has pushed me to:
- Become more disciplined than I ever thought possible
- Learn skills I didn’t ever think I’d master
- Get past my introverted tendencies and learn to love interacting with people, both online and in person
It has taught me to be brave in the face of an uncertain outcome.
And that, my friends, is the key to conquering Perfection Paralysis.
Let’s take those looping thoughts, tease them out one by one, and look at them. I want you to become brave about them, too.
You won’t know what to do, and that’s OK
Wouldn’t it be nice if starting a business looked like this?
- You decide to start a business
- You go to the library to borrow the How to Run a Business manual (there’s only one)
- You follow the steps in the manual and everything works out exactly as predicted
You can stop laughing now!
Of course that’s not how things work. And between you and me, it would be kind of boring if they worked like that, wouldn’t it?
Instead, we need to feel our way along to the answers. They’re not delivered to us in a manual: we have to figure them out for ourselves.
This is a gift.
Because when you’re doing the heavy lifting yourself, you own your success 100%.
And yes, you own your failure, too.
You won’t be sure your plan will work, and that’s OK
You make an educated guess about your next move. And then, you close your eyes and step off into the abyss.
Because in business, there’s no such thing as a sure bet. (Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something — I guarantee it).
You can force Perfection Paralysis into submission by repeating the following phrase:
“Business is a big experiment. Let’s see what happens!”
Approaching business like this — as a playground where you’ll try different things to see which one works — helps you to embrace the process and not get too attached to the outcome.
You won’t ever know if you’ve done the exact right thing, and that’s OK
Results will come in, and you’ll still feel unsure.
Even when your launch is a big hit, you’ll wonder if you made all the right calls.
And that’s OK.
It’s a sign that you care. That you’re observing and reacting to reality. That even though the decision is made, the project is out there, and the launch is over, you’re still paying attention.
The harsh reality: you’ll never know for sure (and that’s OK, too)
You won’t know for sure if you did all you could. And that’s OK.
This is just the way business works!
I am convinced that how you respond when Perfection Paralysis rears its ugly head is one of the most-important factors in your ultimate success.
Perfection Paralysis happens to all of us. One of the reasons I wanted to write this was to give it a name.
Things are less scary when we know how to identify them, right?
How to be OK with “The Not Knowing”
Here’s the thing: to make it in business, you have to be not just brave but comfortable with uncertain outcomes.
In a mastermind group I once belonged to, we used to call this “The Not Knowing.”
“The Not Knowing” is a feeling in your gut that’s a mix of fear, worry, and repetitive thoughts that keep you stuck. It’s the physical and emotional manifestation of Perfection Paralysis.
Ironically, the way to get past this feeling is to expect it. To accept it when you see it. And to embrace it as part of the process of making decisions and moving forward with your business.
Suffering from Perfection Paralysis? Let’s talk.
If this post resonates with you, you may have suffered through your own case of Perfection Paralysis.
I want to hear about it! What happened, and how did you get past it?