Overcoming fear and perfectionism

I received an email from a fellow coach yesterday. I was thrilled to receive it as it was a woman from the US who was going through the same challenges that I had in regards to starting my own business. And any opportunity for me to assist another person in their journey is a gift to my heart and music to my ears. She told me that she was inspired by a post I wrote on a coaching page that we are both part of. She asked if I had any tips on starting up her own business as she was suffering from perfectionism and fear. Let’s call this coach Lisa. This was my response…

Hey Lisa,

Thanks so much for your email and thanks for reaching out! It’s very encouraging to hear that I’ve been able to inspire based on what I found really difficult. There’s always a silver lining for things we struggle with, hey?

I did an incredible amount of work on ‘trying’ to get myself out there and yet still went around and around in circles and felt like although I’d spent so many hours, I was going nowhere fast.

I discussed and bounced ideas off my sister who has her own small business, I wrote pages and pages of writing about my aspirations, I even took it to my counselor at the time and I thought about what my life would look like as a coach a hell of a lot. The bottom line came down to asking the question, What is holding me back?

For me, it was several things including the fear of what might happen, the fear of the unknown and certainly the long list of ‘what if’s’.

  • What if I put my business page out there and everyone realizes I’m a fake? Not smart enough?
  • What if I’m not cut out for this?
  • What if I decided I don’t want to do this?
  • What if I/ my page/ my business aren’t perfect enough?
  • What if everyone laughs at me?
  • What if everyone thinks less of me?
  • How could I ever compare to the other coaches out there?
  • What if I get a client and can’t help them?
  • What if all of this hurts my pride?

The list goes on…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Vicious-Cycle-of-Perfectionism-and-Depression-6.jpg

I identified that my biggest fear was the fear of what other people think of me tied into the fear of not being perfect enough.

I have done a lot of personal work on perfectionism and have come to understand that it is one of the biggest forms of self abuse. I also realize that perfect doesn’t exist, it’s just a fantasy. I remember someone asking me years ago, what does perfect actually mean? I struggled to answer this question and I realized that I was actually striving for something that was not only unachievable, but was also something I didn’t actually know how to define. How can I achieve something when I don’t actually know what I’m striving for? There begins the never ending merry go round of perfectionism and mental torture.

Nowadays when I notice these debilitating thoughts come up, I can catch myself and use positive self talk. This is GOOD ENOUGH is what I tell myself. I can come back to it another time and improve on it later. I am almost lying to myself or tricking my brain because I often don’t come back to it, but that’s more than okay. I have also realized that it’s like a muscle or habit. The more I practice this habit of positive self talk, the easier it gets to kick perfectionism’s butt. The more I see that the world didn’t end or I didn’t become the laughing stock of the town based on my lack of perfectionism, the more I am coming to not only accept but (believe it or not) value and take pride in mistakes or tasks which could’ve been done better (in my eyes). Mistakes are where the growth, change and learning happens!

Remember, whatever you put out there, can always be changed later. You simply need to start somewhere. Even the big hot shot coaches started where you are right now. Interesting thought, hey? For me, it was starting a Facebook page, putting up a photo, a background, adding some bits and bobs about myself and simply taking charge.

The ‘pull the trigger’ moment was when I was working with a coach through ReciproCoach. It was our third session and I had talked a lot about my fears, doubts and insecurities around putting my vulnerable and fearful self out there. She caught me off guard and bluntly said ‘you’ve been talking a lot the past few weeks, but you’ve taken NO action’. I was taken back and a little offended (at that moment) as I had taken so much action! Well, maybe I’d taken action in practicing perfectionism. I just had to bite the bullet. Being a bit stubborn and frustrated with her comment (or challenge), I got off the phone, I went to Facebook, I spent 30 minutes going over a few things and created my first ever post. I’m very thankful for that daring coach!

And can I tell you something? Not one of my fears has come true. If anything, it has been the very opposite. I was inundated with love, comments, likes and emails that night, I struggled to sleep from overwhelm! I do believe the first step was the hardest. 

Imagine a very large rock. It may be stuck in the ground and extremely difficult to move. You may need help and support from others, you may need some strategies on how to tackle moving this rock. But when this rock eventually starts moving, it builds up momentum. It starts to roll. It rolls faster and faster and with less resistance and less struggle. This rock analogy can be you. 

Janine 🙂

Do you suffer from perfectionism? Can you relate? Did you like what you read? Drop me a comment below!


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2.png

Janine Graham is a Mum, a Primary School Teacher and a Wellness and Mindfulness Coach. Janine works with women to refocus their energy on what aligns with their values and supports and challenges them to create a greater overall life satisfaction. Janine is skilled and passionate in empowering women in issues such as body confidence, relationships, fertility, parenting, life balance and unconditional self-love. Make contact with Janine today for your free, no obligation clarity call. 
Follow more of Janine’s story on Free To Be Me – Wellness Coaching’s Facebook Page and Website.

2 thoughts on “Overcoming fear and perfectionism”

  1. Very interesting! And as one who understands fear, perfectionism and (for me) this equates to procrastination.
    I think starting a small business is major stuff. For me I just love that old saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. The hardest thing is getting started…you can tick that box now Janine! X

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kylie! You’re right, it absolutely can lead to procrastination. Yep, Rome wasn’t built in a day or another way of putting it is ‘the journey is a marathon, not a sprint’. Thanks for the encouragement ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.