There’s nothing wrong with aiming high – but striving for perfection could be hindering your success, If you can relate to any of these 5 signs, you need to get out of your own way, and stop being a perfectionist:

Sign #1 – Success is black and white

A lot of perfectionists can be characterized by their black or white approach to success and failure. Instead of appreciating a spectrum of success, with some business ideas achieving moderate, or even mixed results, perfectionists will view everything they do as either a complete success, or a total failure. This can be severely hindering to a business, as it encourages an attitude of ‘all-or-nothing’ – with entrepreneurs unable to see the good in their ideas, and unable to achieve satisfaction in anything they do.

Tip to get out of your own way:

Remind yourself that even bad ideas can offer value; and a failure is one step closer to success.

Sign #2 – You won’t take risks

This tendency to view all failures as completely catastrophic encourages an attitude of risk-adverseness – a desire to avoid any and all risk. An element of risk is part-and-parcel of being an entrepreneur (‘nothing ventured, nothing gained), and being a perfectionist can reduce the growth of your business, and your willingness to adopt new ideas.

I knew a small business owner, a friend of mine, that was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to pitch their products to one of the market-leading giants of their industry. My friend was relatively successful, with a small but established customer base; and the perceived risk of scaling up their business was too much for them. They declined the offer, and missed out on the chance to sell their products internationally. Why? Because they didn’t want to risk failing – no matter how small the risk, or how big the reward.

Tip to get out of your own way:

Try and identify a spectrum of risk; ranging from small, harmless risks, to huge, life-altering ones. Make a conscious effort to take a small risk on a regular basis.

Sign #3 – You take criticism personally

Criticism is crucial to the development of a business, and the advice of our peers can provide some of the best insights into successful business development. Perfectionists have a tendency to take this criticism personally – and they’re unable to separate business criticism from personal criticism. This happens because perfectionists invest themselves into their ideas, and take professional criticism as an attack upon their abilities. This can prevent businesses from making vital changes, and can severely limit growth.

Tip to get out of your own way:

Critique your own ideas, and try to identify an aspect of your business that could do with improving.

Sign #4 – You never reach your goals

Perfectionists are renowned for setting unreachable goals; and even rationalizing away their success when they do reach them. Perfection is rarely attainable, especially for real-world businesses and people. There are always limits and problems that arise from government legislation, employees and sheer logistics – and striving for the perfect business will prevent an entrepreneur from ever reaching their goal.  Even successful entrepreneurs might never be satisfied – because they believe that their business could always be improved.

Tip to get out of your own way:

Analyze your ambitions – are they realistic? Could they ever be achieved? Set goals that are aspirational, but still founded in reality.

Sign #5 – You think unhappiness is the price of success

The end-result? Unhappiness.  Most perfectionists believe unhappiness to be part-and-parcel of achieving success, and live unfulfilling lives because they think it’s vital to achieving their goals. In reality though, happiness should be a goal in its own right – and success at the expense of your own happiness isn’t really success at all.

Tip to get out of your own way:

Make happiness an ambition, and don’t strive for success at the expense of your own happiness.

QUESTION: What tips do you use to get out of your own way? How do you prevent yourself from being overly-perfectionist? Let me know in the comments!

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