Why Perfectionism is a Lie

  • December 6th, 2019 at 7:35 am

Is perfectionism real? Or is it just an adaptation of an underlying feeling or characteristic? Here, Navig8Biz unveils six truths hiding behind the guise of perfectionism, and the key strategies to overcoming them.


If you’ve ever said, “I couldn’t possibly launch my business yet, it’s not perfect,” then you’ll know that perfectionism is slowing you down. The truth is, procrastination is often lurking beneath perfectionism. Noone is going to walk up to you and flick a switch that says, “You’re ready now!” You have to do that for yourself. While procrastination is oftentimes paralleled with sheer laziness, and perhaps you do just need a little motivation, it’s possible that there are other elements involved here. In that case, continue to unpeel the layers to understand what’s really going on for you – keep reading.


If fear is stopping you from launching a business, speaking in public, writing a book or creating whatever it is that you want to put out in the world, it’s time to unpack that fear to determine whether your fears are fact-based or stories in your mind. For example, if your biggest fear is running out of funds for the project, reverse-engineer the problem by making a checklist.

  • How much money do you need to finance this project or business?
  • How long can you sustain the business without an income?
  • What does that income need to look like to continue the business into the future?
  • Create a cashflow forecast. 


Peter Crone, The Mind Architect, explains that perfectionism is the manifestation of feeling inadequate. If you’re providing yourself with reasons why your business won’t work, then reframe these internal messages and ask yourself, “Where do these stories of inadequacy come from?” While it may be a difficult process, revisiting your childhood is an important step in unearthing a certain incident in which you felt that you simply weren’t enough. While you may have felt isolated at the time, the physical truth is that you were sitting where you were and others were sitting where they were, and you did NOTHING wrong. Now, once you really let that sink in, you no longer have to aim for perfection, because you KNOW are already enough. 


If you are holding back on something grand because it isn’t ‘good enough’ then perhaps your ego is getting in the way. Are you doing the community or the world a disservice by holding back? There may be one person today who really needs to see your product, hear your message or receive your service. When your business comes from a place of service – “What problem am I solving? How can I best serve this world?” – then there is no room for ego, and your business will begin to flow. The realisation that your business is ultimately about serving your community, and it has nothing to do with whether you succeed, is utterly liberating. 


If there is any shame, disbelief or misalignment in the product you are building, you will find reasons not to launch your business. When the product you are selling comes directly from the heart, your conviction will shine through. If you really back yourself and your product, you won’t have to wait for perfection. Authenticity trumps perfection every time. Improve as you go. Business is a process, not a goalpost. 


If the disbelief in yourself comes from negative comments by someone you know, it’s important to assess the person who is providing this feedback. Identify their experiences, knowledge, lifestyle, achievements, failures, personality and upbringing. Determine whether your actions are having an impact on them personally. While most friends and family are coming from a place of love, and they want you to succeed, they recognise that haven’t experienced the path that brought you to this business in the first place. The sooner you can start to validate or discredit that noise, then you are a long way towards building your own self-esteem.

So, how do you combat these debilitating feelings that are disguised as perfectionism? 

  • Lower your expectations.
  • Find solutions to your biggest fears before they arise. 
  • Tap into your Why.
  • Realise your capacity to serve others is more valuable than whether you succeed or not. 
  • Get confident. You are enough. 
  • Know that failure isn’t failure; it’s a stepping stone. 
  • Write a reverse bucket list of everything you have achieved in your life. We spend so much time placing in energy and thoughts into everything we haven’t yet achieved, rather than basking in our glory and realising just how far we’ve come. 

Uri Levine perfectly sums it up by saying that, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” You’ve just got to get it out there.

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