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The Mindset of a Perfectionist
In this episode Rachel Brooks and I discuss mindset and how being a perfectionist can sometimes make you get in your own way.
By listening to this episode you will learn how to effectively progress with your business and develop the right mindset.
Rachel is here today to talk about a very particular part of your business, which is your mindset and how we get in our own way. With perfectionism. She’s an author, she’s a podcaster. And Rachel, I’ll have you introduce yourself and what you do. And we’ll go from there.
Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me. So in short, I mean, being in the entrepreneurial space, I’m a creative entrepreneur, the author of chasing perfection, host of the competent woman, podcast, and founder and creator of the confident woman collective as well as I am athletics. So kind of all of that, in a nutshell is really about first and, you know, for us to empower others, we have to first empower ourselves. And that really does come down to our, our mindset and also managing our emotional fitness as well.
Manage and Overcome
So, you know, we’ll dive deep into that as well. But I think for this is, you know, perfectionism, we see this, really in so many different areas of our lives. So, you know, especially in bed in business, and entrepreneurial, you know, life every day. So I’m excited to talk about this because it’s something that one, obviously, I had had to encounter. I found ways that have worked best for me to help manage and overcome. But as well as just giving some tips and takeaways and some practicals that hopefully you guys could take care of as well.
Love it. And I know that my audience of perfectionist will love tactical takeaways. So let’s talk about first of all, why is this a passion of yours? What’s your story with perfectionism? Is it something you struggled with?
The Struggles of Perfectionism
Yeah, absolutely. So perfectionism. You know, ironically, I didn’t even realize I was struggling with it, I have was looking so far external for, you know, really getting the physical, you know, successes. So whether it was like the physical body or the physical, you know, seeing the numbers in the bank account, or the next promotion or the next, you know, the next best thing, I feel like we’re all chasing something. And in my realm, after writing this book, I realized, Wow, I’ve been chasing perfection, and really just that unattainable carrot. So perfectionism really is, you know, what holds us back from creating and stepping into who were created to be, like our best and true self.
Flip the Script
So, you know, for many of us, and in many of the people I’ve spoke to, as well, they, you know, we think that we have to have a certain thing to do the certain thing so that we can become the certain person we want to become. But I think when we start, you know, flipping that script, it really is about becoming that person doing the things so you can have what you what you’re chasing after, in a sense, so perfectionism really did hold me back for you know, many years and I attribute this to my fitness. lifestyle as well as in my business.
So I also take that approach is how you do one thing is how you do everything. And at that time, I was chasing something that wasn’t obtainable. And so kind of peeling back the layers and taking off that mask and realizing what was I chasing and why was so important, like really getting to the root of that. So that’s kind of the the context of like, how we let go of perfectionism is by addressing the root of what God is there in the first place. So that’s really the questions I asked is like, what is holding you back?
What is holding you back in your business? What is holding you back in your personal life, in your relationships, whatever it may be, and maybe just maybe there’s an ounce of perfectionism. And when I use that word, perfectionism, it really comes down to the value of our worthiness, what we believe about ourselves.
High Standards vs. Life Improvements
Okay, so how does somebody know if they have quote, unquote, perfectionism? Because sometimes, you know, there’s a difference between having high standards and wanting to improve your life and, you know, setting goals, and being a perfectionist about it. So how do we know if we even have that?
Well, I think for for many, including myself, perfectionism will just keep you stuck, right? You’re gonna find yourself in that same repetitive cycle, doing more trying, we’re pushing harder, you’re gonna see that failure loop. And when we’re, when we get to that sticking point constantly over and over again, that’s, you know, it’s, those are kind of attributes to perfectionism, like perfectionism and a whole is, how are you showing up for it? Like, what is it that you’re actually trying to achieve? What is it that you’re going after? And is perfection the act of not getting the results that you want? feeling stuck? And not seeing a way out of it? Is that the because you’re being too hard on yourself?
Are Your Results Unrealistic
Are you expecting unrealistic results? Is there a different approach that you can come around, you know, different, different ways to achieve the the results that you’re looking for? So having that perfection idea, meaning that if it’s not good enough, therefore, it’s not worth pursuing? And that again, comes down to how much we value ourselves. And if we’re feeling stuck, maybe we aren’t closing that sale?
Or maybe we’re not starting that next business. Because really, there’s a, there’s a block in there, we don’t think that we’re worth it, we don’t think that we’re capable of it. We don’t think that we have the right thought, you know, people or the right business or the right ideas. And so that’s that kind of blanketing of perfectionism where we think we have to have everything perfect to have everything we want.
The Importance of Recognizing the Thought Process
Okay, so thinking that we need things to be a certain way for us to move forward. And for it to be clear enough. What about when it comes to like, I know in business, a lot of times where I see perfectionist holding perfectionism holding my clients back is like, they’ll want to go live, or they’ll want to do that post, or they’ll want to put out that program, but they don’t think it’s ready yet. They think needs more tweaks. And what if my, what if I look stupid? What if I mess up? What if people don’t like me, there’s a lot of what ifs, have all these things that could happen, but usually don’t happen, but could happen.
From Exhaustion to Excellence
And then therefore, they just either, like you said, continued this loop where they just don’t do it. They have all these thoughts. And they’re exhausted by the time they were about to do it. But they’ve worn themselves out with these thoughts. Or they just they, they maybe start little by little doing those things, but it feels so scary. So how does somebody start to address perfectionism and thinking, no, no, no, it’s not ready, or I’m not worthy enough yet. Or, you know, all the what ifs thoughts.
Yeah, so exactly what you said like, if it’s not perfect, then it’s not worth doing. And, you know, taking that imperfect action, like giving yourself permission that it doesn’t matter, because you’re going to mess up all the time anyway. So you might as well just do it. Right. So I know that that’s kind of a scary factor, like, okay, but it’s hard to do it because what if I, you know, mess this up? What if I fail? What if this What if that, but the truth, the truth behind that is, is like people are expecting that, in a sense, because when things are too perfect, and too, like perfectly curated, it looks fake, and it’s yours, it’s not going to resonate with your audience in a way that you hope so.
Be Authentically Present, Even When You’re Imperfect
So, you know, if you just authentically show up and just do the work and take imperfect action, then it will resonate because people could see themselves in there. They could see that messy middle, they can see the imperfections that you know, maybe you’re struggling with this wall, but it’s relatable to that next individual versus if we feel like we have to have everything in order. It doesn’t really make it relatable. You know, just Case in point here. I mean, we had so many technical difficulties, but You know, we push forward.
And here we are. But if that were the case, if we blamed on tech, we, this interview would never happen. But it’s about just showing up. And of course, none of this is rehearsed. It’s not script. So it’s not perfect. But it’s really just about being your authentic self, and just showing up as you are every day, regardless of what the outcome is. And again, that really does come down to the value of self worth, like if you know who you are, you know what value you have to offer, then it shouldn’t really matter if things are perfect, in a sense.
Yeah. So I think one of the things that you just hit on that we need to talk about is that you are relationship to mistakes and messing up. I think, in our society, everyone tries to hide mistakes. They don’t want to mess up. We have perfectly curated highlight reels on our Instagram. And we also aspire to be like people who maybe show up. Really, they’ve been doing their business for years and years, and they haven’t really polished. So we think, well, that’s where I need to be as a starting out entrepreneur. And you’re one right. You’re comparing somebody else’s end or middle or like, you know, they’ve been doing this for a while to your beginning.
Grace for Mistakes
So one of the things that I would love to hear from you is like, if somebody is comparing themselves a lot, or they have a really terrible relationship, quote, unquote, with mistakes or messing up, like they think it’s horrible, they think it’s really bad. They think they’re a bad person, when they make mistakes. How can we start to shift to realizing it’s not so bad? Like, what what would you say? You do with women to help them do that? Okay, so
first and foremost, comparisons, I derp. It’s that dirty see word because we can fall victim into that comparison. And it’s a trap, right? It’ll just eat us up, we fall into that gap. And then that’s really where we completely just, we hit a bottom and we remain stuck. We say, okay, looking up at it, you’re like, Okay, well, so and so did this, there’s no point in me doing this anymore. Or I can’t get to that level, because I’m over here, comparison will kill and steal everything that you have ever aspired to be if we allow it to.
What Are You Giving Power To?
But what we give power to will continue to have power over us. So when we look at look at somebody else doing, you know, the next thing that we’re aspiring to do, we have to go into it with the intentional mindset. That it’s an inspiration, it’s an aspiration, it’s not meant to be comparing your life to where they’re at. Because everybody starts somewhere. And so, you know, we think about it, like we’re all reading the same book, right? So everybody starts at page one. But at some point, somebody is going to be on chapter 20, or whatever it is.
So we can’t compare that starting point to somebody else who got started on it earlier. And I think many of it, you know, much of this goes back to imposter syndrome. And we see this a lot, and especially in business, where we think that okay, well, so and so’s already doing it. So what’s the point? Right, okay, good question, right? But what’s the point? The point is, is that nobody’s doing it like you.
Nobody Can Do It Like You
And what you bring to the table, what you vet what you have to offer, and the value you bring to other people, nobody can do it like you. And I use the analogy of kind of like a pizza shop. I mean, I’m sure many of us have so many different pizza places in our local areas. What makes one stand out from the other. But does that mean that if if somebody had started one pizza shop, the other 27 shouldn’t exist? Right?
Like you were loyal to that particular pizza place. Because maybe you like the texture, or maybe you like the flavor, maybe like the little zest and you know, zing into the sauce, whatever it is. It’s resonating with you. You’re eating it up, you’re enjoying it, you become that raving, loyal fan. And that’s becomes your pizza joint. The same thing with, you know, any business. So if somebody else is doing the same thing, well, how do you speak to that individual that they’re going to resonate.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Just because one person does, it doesn’t mean one size fits all. That one individual is not hitting every single person here on Earth. We really have to step into knowing what we bring to the table, believing in ourselves, knowing what we have to offer and following that vision in that dream from a place of service and just knowing that you have everything you have everything you need within and don’t get hung up on comparing your life right now, or your business or whatever it is to the next person. They just have, you know, some they got a head start. That’s all it is.
Do A Review
Yeah, and one of the things I would encourage everybody to do is look at people you admire. And go back a couple years down their feeds or early videos. Or even if there’s like a celebrity or singer you like or something look up like on YouTube, their childhood, like gig or whatever. Like there’s, there’s videos of Lady Gaga at like a bar and nobody’s there like it’s out there. So it’s You, um, I think we sometimes think, Oh, you know, it wasn’t, they didn’t have to go through that. Or I’m special, I’m unique because I, you know, have more self doubt than they did know, they, they have that stuff going on in their head. Oprah Winfrey probably still have some thoughts of imposter syndrome or self consciousness or whatever, right. And they’re just continuing to move forward.
Despite having that, and I don’t think you need to fake like, I think you can be authentic in acknowledging that, like, you’re nervous, or you, you know, feel some self doubt as you’re moving forward. Or you’re not sure if every single thing you’re doing is right, or the way that it should be, you know, continued to do within that way, like, so. I would just say, first of all, you’re not special. So stop acting like because you are perfectionist, and you, you know, kept really high standards, it just hurts so much more for you.
What Are You Bringing to the Table?
Everybody has things that are holding them back. And is whether or not you choose to allow that or move forward, despite having that. And then the second thing you said about the pizza joints? I totally agree. I think we all have unique things to bring to the table. But how can somebody who’s feeling kind of down in the dumps? Like, I don’t know what I have that special? Or I feel like, what what Who am I to be giving this advice? What can they do to start to find out what’s special about them?
Sir, sir, just one, you no matter what it is. So if you’re just getting started one week. When we serve others, we get out of ourselves and so on, the focus is on us. That’s what really keeps us stuck and paralyzed. Because it’s all about, what about me? What do I What about I here and I don’t have this. And so we’re very singular. So when we think of me and I, we don’t look at what’s out there. We don’t look at it from a place of service. We need to get out of our own way out of our own head. And just show up, serve one person, even if you go volunteer somewhere doing that lights you up and you realize that for that time that you were of service, you didn’t think about yourself.
Know What You Have to Offer and Show up
So how did that feel? How can you replicate that feeling? How can you continue showing up, maybe it’s mentoring somebody, maybe you’re not sure what you have to offer. But yet, ask your family, ask your friends, I guarantee you, they’re going to tell you some amazing qualities that you have to offer. But first and foremost, you have to believe it, like don’t just take it what they say and just let it you know, thing off of you.
Because you have to really let it settle in. Let it you know, permeate. Soak that up, ask for those compliments. Ask for feedback, ask for whatever it is, and really sit with it and just process it and say, you know, is this how I see myself. Other people are telling you how they see you. So you have to believe it. But you know, for a while that’s kind of in the background running, surf, do whatever you can to help somebody else. And whether you know, it’s making money or it’s not.
Persistent Instead of Perfectionist
Coming from a place of service from that volunteering aspect of it or just giving up yourself. We shouldn’t look at it as Okay, I gave something now I get something or return. No, it keeps just keep serving. Keep showing up. Keep giving. And, keep doing the work outside of yourself while you’re continuing to do the work inside yourself.
Yes, 100%. And one of the things I wrote a blog about one time is that being in your head. And perfectionistic and nervous and all that is actually selfish. Because it’s taking you away from serving, you’re in your own head thinking about yourself. That’s not helpful to your audience. And think about it if you like this is also related to I think perfectionism causes so many things.
Perfectionism and Procrastination
It causes procrastination, it causes an all or nothing mentality, I’m only going to do this diet or this workout if it’s perfect, right? Something like that. And so, with the all or nothing thing, imagine if you’re like, well, kids, you know, mom can’t make the fantastic Martha Stewart cuisine recipe tonight. So we’re just going to not eat dinner. Sorry. You’re on your own, like, does that make any logical sense? No. Right?
Progress Without Perfection
So how does somebody get out of the all or nothing and and be willing to start without it being perfect. And one of the things I’d love to hear from you, because maybe you can share your story here. I know you use on your Instagram, you posted that you used to do fitness competitions and things like that. And when you’re in a fitness competition, you kind of are very disciplined. It’s not like I’m going to do this for the rest of my life. This is the sustainable life plan, right? You had to come back to a balance after doing that.
So I’d love to hear kind of how you personally dealt with the thoughts of like, but oh no like, I’m not doing it as a strict as I used to. Or how do you transition, if you will to being somebody who’s all or nothing to more balanced?
The Pain of Perfectionism
Yeah, that’s a really good question is actually I pull a lot of my examples from my fitness experience and being a former fitness competitor. You know, the first time I competed back in 2012, was the 100%. All or nothing extreme, go hard, push hard, do everything in it literally just broke me like, physically, I had an injury that incapacitated me at that point, because I had, I’d push myself way too hard, and wasn’t even any sense of like in check with like my mind and body. While my body was changing my mind never did it was still very extreme, all or nothing.
The Importance of Balance
And that’s, you know, was what you said, like a perfectionist does, it’s like we we only see black or white, we don’t see like a balance, we don’t really see that there was an option. It’s either go all in or fail. But I mean, to be honest, like failure has to become your best friend, because it’s the biggest learning experience that you’ll ever, ever encounter. And so that was in 2012. It literally just hit I hit rock bottom, because my whole life, I had been chasing perfection in regards like, if I if my body was perfect, then I would have this perfect life.
And then I would finally have happiness and find love in. In business. If I had the perfect position. If I put in all the hours and didn’t call off and didn’t take a sick day, I’d be perfect. And I would get the promotion. And so I started seeing the show up in those areas. But you know, when I hit that rock bottom, I really had to take this time to do a lot of inward self reflection. It’s really like why I say like, getting fit from within, you know, we tend to look at Fitness as a physical, where really, fitness is a mental emotional and spiritual fitness, while the physical becomes a byproduct really what’s inside. So, you know, bottoming out hitting that bottom, coming back to the stage in 2015.
At this point, I learned this whole concept of progress. And I was like, what I don’t even know. I was like, No, I’m shooting for perfection, like no, no progress every single day, show up and do the one thing Do one thing. And so at that time, obviously, I’m using a planet parallel for my fitness life. But my one goal in fitness was to, you know, have my competition, execute my diet, execute my workout, execute rest, prioritize self care, and prioritize just really, you know, that quiet time like meditation really to have my body and soul in check.
Progression, Not Perfection
And that was my one thing I had to do it just execute the boxes, and having that consistently over time, lead to progression. And now I realized after you know, at that time, no more Is it about chasing that perfection and having that perfect body because my body was changing. But what was changing More importantly, was my mind. It was aligning with everything I intended to be that, you know, when I took the stage, did I have the perfect body? No, no, I did. But then again, perfection is subjective.
Strive for Progress
Obviously, what I had chased back in 2012, was completely different than how I viewed it in 15, 18, and 21. So here I am, like thinking, Okay, I didn’t need to have that perfect body. But yeah, I just needed to show up consistently and strive for progress. Every day I was progressing. And every day I was checking those things off, that became the momentum for change that replaced the addiction like that high that we chase for getting that that quick win. But we’re getting those quick wins every single day by checking off the to do list or our execution, whatever it is, and making it a priority do every single day, not all at once, because it’s not going to happen.
Yes, and giving yourself a fair wiggle room that some days, you might miss it or you can all be a I think too, we have to give ourselves permission that life is cyclical, and life is seasonal, and life is every thing that nothing is just like a strict straight line up a couple steps forward and a couple of steps back and that doesn’t mean that you’re not improving. If the overall trend every week or every month is improvement then that is progress. Okay? So it doesn’t need to be every single Damn, you know, moving milestones.
Focus On the Process Over the Outcome
And the other thing is I love that you focus on the process over the outcome. So in other words, falling in love with building your business, the little habits that are moving forward, having fun with that, and giving yourself some structure that you can aim for that are even if it’s a little like habit tracker that is the Way to go and be sustainable in your business compared to needing a certain outcome to happen? And if it doesn’t, you’re setting yourself up to hate yourself and be mad at yourself. Yeah. So what would you say from your book, because I know you have a book called chasing perfection, and it’s behind you in this video. For all of our listeners, you can check it out online. But what would you say the biggest exercise or takeaway that helps women the most who read your book,
Grace and Self Awareness
I think the biggest takeaway is really, you know, understanding where, where you’re starting at, and just giving yourself grace to know that you are having self awareness, right. So how self awareness gives you that starting point, and to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’re currently at, in overcoming those obstacles that are holding us back. And that’s like our belief, our roots, like our causes that, you know, really prevent us from showing up every single day. So you know, our beliefs become our thoughts, our thoughts become our words, and our words become our actions and all this stuff, right.
Turning Healthy Habits into Health Behaviors
When we, when we start to uncover all that, we can then show up having healthy habits that translate into healthy behaviors, which translate into healthy action steps every single day and taking that imperfect action. Again, kind of just, you know, self awareness is, is huge. So really ask yourself, like, what is holding you back and why, and really get to that, because, you know, no matter where you are in your business journey, it all starts with your personal journey. If you’re not showing up as your best, you can’t serve the rest. So everything starts within you, because you’re the machine, you’re the operator of your business.
We have to take care of just you know, our mind, our body and our soul. So we can’t necessarily just pour into the business and think, why isn’t a pouring back into me? Well, what did you pour into yourself? How are we, you know, is the person behind the business? How are we showing up every day.
So you know, when we look at that as a whole, you know, from chasing perfection, and the big takeaway in the book is really about letting go, we have to let go of what’s holding us back so that we can move forward in achieve whatever we’re desiring in our life. And the beauty of it is that no matter what held us back, we become the creators of our own story. Whatever we achieve, desire, believe whatever it is, it’s here and now in the making, and it’s up to us to concrete our life.
Allowing Yourself Happiness
And you’re allowed to be happy right now. Absolutely. proud of yourself right now. And one of the hardest, I don’t like doing this, but I do it because I know, it makes me better. And I have learned to become more objective about it is looking at my own data and stuff, right? Like looking at my lives and be like, Oh, man, I said 35 times or like looking at my numbers for number calls, or whatever and being like, okay, here’s why this probably happened. We’re looking at tracking my habits over the weekend, seeing really, truthfully, how consistent am I? And it’s not to do it in a way to beat myself up and be like, Ah, look at you, you missed two days, what’s wrong with you? It’s more like, data. And I’m observing. And I’m like, okay, I missed two days. I wonder what in exploring it with curiosity.
And like a coach or a friend would do it, like accountability partner would do with you? And not Oh, you’re a piece of, you know, you know what, because you missed two days, right? So I think learning the skill of being objective in your business, and looking at your reel, where you are right now taking inventory on that. And then setting one small level up for that, not an overnight transformation is how you really start. And you are going to have judgment thoughts come up. But being able to observe those and not let them rule you, and kind of letting them you know, just be willing to explore and question them is key. Right, Rachel? So Rachel, how can people find you online, listen to your podcasts, things like that.
So you can find me online, all social media handles are I am Rachel Brooks. My website iamrachelbrooks.com. The podcast, The Confident Woman Podcast. And everything is just pretty much all you know, if you follow me, then you’re going to see everything on one page. But to take note on that really quick, I do want to add to that, you know, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. And it’s so important to track this because it’s it’s really hold yourself accountable.
What Are Your Areas of Improvement
But it also gives you a place to go back to see those, you know, the areas of improvement. And that really becomes that like failure, where in a sense, and I’m using that loosely for those who may be listening, don’t see it. But you know, failure is is a lesson. And so when you go back and review the data, it’s not to hold yourself and you know, at a high stare and say see you mess up so you might as well just throw it away and start over and blah, blah, blah. But really what It’s a lesson in that in the data.
And you know, progress isn’t linear, it’s going to be all over the place. And it’s so important because, you know, having that awareness gives you that starting point. Just a quick, quick little snippet here from a fitness standpoint. You know, for many, we say, like, you know, I don’t even jump on the scale. Because I don’t want to see how much I weigh. No, you have to jump on your scale, because that’s the starting point. All it is it’s just data. So if we’re, if we’re avoiding the fear of that, that number that dictates and tells us where we are. It’s not it that’s not going to define our worth or our value. So we have to be objective and track the things in they’re not going to be perfect. But now it just gives you a starting point that you can learn upon.
Yes, I’m so glad you shared that and completely agree with you. So anyways, everyone should connect with Rachel. She has great posts on Instagram. And on her book I’m sure is something you should read if you struggle with perfectionism. And thanks so much for coming on the show.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. So yeah, I’m excited if you guys fall messaged me, I always message back. So I’d love to hear from you guys as well. Awesome.
About Rachel Brooks
Rachel Brook is a Fitness and Lifestyle Entrepreneur. She is also the author of Chasing Perfection. Rachel also is the host of The Confident Woman Podcast.
- Complimentary Business Consult
- Health Coach Nation: Marketing, Business, & Mindset for Health Coaches
You can find Rachel on her website here.