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Many folks, despite hours upon hours of hard work, just don’t
seem to be making any progress in their home business. They
sit up till the wee hours of the morning creating a sales
funnel, making sure it’s just right…then never drive any
traffic to it.
Or maybe they write an email, edit the email, test the email,
then re-format the email so it looks better, then test it again…
and end up not sending it cause it’s not “good enough.”
If it does, you can pretty much bet that you’re a perfectionist.
And while it’s not a bad thing to pay attention to the way your
pages look and your copy reads, if you’re continually holding
things back till you make sure they’re “just right,” your
business will suffer.
I know…because that used to be me! I was a died-in-the-wool
perfectionist and seemed to always find a reason why my videos,
articles, sales funnels, etc. weren’t good enough “yet.” Every
time I looked at something I’d put together, I saw a way it could
be tweaked or improved. Or I would see something a colleague had
done that I thought was better and felt I had to re-do mine.
You see, I grew up hearing, “Be a job big or small, do it right or
not at all”
And with that childhood mantra playing in my head, I was pretty
much paralyzed in my business. It took FOREVER to get anything
done because, of course…everything HAD to be perfect!
Thankfully, my path crossed with a man who would become a
beloved mentor, and he was very fond of saying, “You don’t have
to get it right. You just have to get it going!”
Truth be told, he was MORE than fond of saying it…he DRILLED
it into my head! He had to! It was the polar opposite of my
life-long mantra and I needed it.
Over time…and as I put more and more out there for others
to see…it became clear that in reality, I was scared to death
of what folks would think of me. Consumed with how things might
look to others, I also struggled in isolation because I just
couldn’t bring myself to ask anyone for help. I’ve since realized
that perfectionism and not asking for help are two sides of the
same coin… fear of what others will think or say.
One Word: Ego
Be very clear that the issue is not how intelligent, creative
or competent we are…the issue is our ego. Contrary to the
belief that “ego” means having an over-inflated, even arrogant,
opinion of ourselves, it’s more accurate to describe someone
who’s egocentric (ego centered) as a person who is focused
on themselves. The main concern is their comfort, feelings,
appearance, etc. So if we’re operating based on our opinion
of ourselves…high or low… we’re ego centered.
That notion always felt rather negative to me, but thank
goodness my mentor not-so-gently turned my thinking around.
You see, the ego’s job is to protect us and also to reinforce
what we believe about ourselves. So when we face something
unfamiliar or uncomfortable, our ego will work overtime to
make sure we can avoid it as long as we possibly can and
prove to us over and over again that our self image is right.
Excuses, rationalizations and justifications flood our minds,
but upon closer examination, more often than not, we’ll find
that some sort of fear is at the root of them all. Once we realize
this and take the time to identify just what we’re afraid of, there
are simple techniques we can use to get us moving forward.
But First…A Reality Check
Our industry is often portrayed as super simple and a fast
way to earn money. We are bombarded on a daily basis with
stories of people who go from broke to six figures in a
relatively short period of time. The truth is, that with
very RARE exception, these top earners have invested YEARS
in their home business. But when they tell us that we can do
it too (and we CAN, by the way!), we have the tendency to
think that if we’re not at their level in a few months,
there’s something “wrong” with us. It’s not us…it’s just
that we have expectations that aren’t in line with reality.
Two things can help us embrace this fact more fully…
First, know that just like any other profession, there’s a
learning curve that we all must face. It takes time to
acquire the skills and training we need to take us from
zero to a thriving business. We wouldn’t expect a first grade
student to do calculus…neither should we expect to be
performing at the level of an industry veteran who’s making
seven figures (or more) a year without investing the time
needed to learn the skills.
Next, no one person has all the answers, but it seems we
expect ourselves to know everything from the very beginning…
or at least appear as though we do. This notion leads to
beating ourselves up and/or not wanting to ask for help…
because God forbid someone finds out we don’t know something!
Do this…find a successful person in our space that you can
relate to. It might be Todd Falcone, Dani Johnson, Eric Worre,
Ray Higdon, or one of many others, but choose someone who’s
earning 6 – 7 figures or more AND has been around for a long time.
Then find out where and when they began, what their struggles
were and most importantly, WHAT THEY DID to get where they are
today. You’ll discover that they didn’t know everything when they
first started and it took YEARS to get where they are today.
Three Simple Strategies
There are simple things you can do to help you break free
of the fear of what others will think or say. It will take
some effort at first, to be sure, but if you keep at it,
repetition will become habit and you won’t find yourself
hesitating like you were.
1. “Talk To Yourself” On Paper
Quite often, one of the reasons we get stuck on the
perfectionism hamster wheel is we don’t know PRECISELY
what it is we want to accomplish or how. Start by writing
a question or statement at the top of the page that relates
to what you’re doing. For example, “I’m struggling to make
a sales funnel for XYZ Product because…” or “Why am I
struggling to make a simple sales funnel?” Then write down
every thought that comes into your mind, regardless of how
silly it may seem. Keep going until you have absolutely no
more thoughts on the subject.
Now look at what you’ve written. You’ll begin to see what
you need to do, the steps you need to take, your strengths
and your weaknesses (which will point to where you need to
ask for help). Take that information and write a step by
step plan…and FOLLOW it!
Note: There is a physiological/chemical/psychological
interaction that takes place when we physically write
our thoughts on paper. So avoid using a digital medium
such as a computer, iPad, etc. for this.
2. Do It And Leave It
Whatever it is that you want to put out there… an
article, video, sales funnel or blog post… do it in
a reasonable amount of time (you may want to set a timer
for this) and when it’s done, post/upload it. Don’t review
the piece over and over again, just get it out there.
Then…especially if you’re prone to second-guessing and
thinking you could “make it better”…LEAVE IT THERE! There
are two reasons for this. First, even if it’s not up to
your perfectionist standard (but then, what is?) no one is
going to call you names or speak ill of you because of it.
And if someone does, it won’t kill you…PROMISE! Next,
when you leave your first few years’ worth of stuff out
there, you’ll be able to look back on it in the future
and see how you’re grown/improved. And THAT is gratifying!
3. Straight Talk With Someone You Trust
This is likely the most effective, yet most difficult of
the three strategies because it involves another person.
It’s extremely helpful to find a teacher, mentor, sponsor
or colleague that you know genuinely cares about you and
is someone that you can trust to tell you the truth.
Have an open and HONEST conversation with them about what
you’re doing/not doing, what you want to accomplish, etc.
Allow this person ask you the really tough (and embarrassing)
questions. And this is huge…FORGET about what you THINK you
should know. Then realize that you should probably listen
to what they’re saying because it’s the tough questions that
will FORCE your ego out of the way.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Using one, two or all three of the strategies can get you
started on your journey AWAY from perfectionism, but remember
to cut yourself some slack along the way. Recognize where
you are, how long you’ve been in the industry, the struggles
you’ve had and most importantly, HOW FAR YOU’VE COME! If you’ve
only been at it for 6 months, don’t expect to be functioning
like someone who’s been around for 14 years. Acknowledge your
accomplishments, keep putting yourself out there and remember
to have the courage to ask for help when you need it. And in
time, your business…and YOU…will improve.
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