I Am Not A Perfectionist; I Am Just Scared
I am also an introvert, but that also doesn’t give me any excuses to be anti-social and scared of people. My introversion is just the way I recharge my batteries, after all.
How often do we make excuses for something, and all the while we know the truth about our ourselves? I am going to be honest, and say that I have done it pretty often.
Now that I am aware of my feelings, my feelings of fear, I can tackle things with far more gusto and a whole lot more confidence. It’s about checking yourself, and not giving yourself a label when you are really trying hard to just move forward, but fear is stopping you in your tracks.
I was on a call with a mentor some months ago, and the discussion was around perfectionism. As an entrepreneur perfectionism and striving for it, often stops us in our tracks. I got to thinking about this, because I was writing scripts and articles and thinking that people would hate it because it wasn't polished enough. It dawned on me, that my “perfectionism” was really just me being afraid of having my voice heard.
This is how I now frame fear, and move on from it’s sticky grips:
- Understand Fear
Fear is around to keep us safe.
I set off on a recent adventure to the Kruger National Park (a national reserve in South Africa). I had been driving around in my car, and quite suddenly I had the urge to relieve myself. It was an urge that I couldn't hold until the next toilet stop.
This national park is the home of lions, leopards and cheetah’s. When I got out of the car, to quickly squat in the long grass aside my vehicle, that pang of fear that I felt could be described as “reasonable” under the circumstances.
If fear is that feeling that wants to keep us safe, evidently the feeling of a very full bladder weighed up against the risk of being in a vulnerable squatting position, with my pants down, fear didn't stand up in this instance.
So why on earth, would my fear of my voice being heard, and my face being seen on camera be remotely anything other than “unreasonable”?
I ask myself this every time I engage in a public space now. It settles the jitters.
Sometimes “winging it” is not the best answer.
I remember my very first public speaking event. I was employed in a large global corporate and responsible for compliance training. I had just joined the company and I didn’t have a solid understanding of the programme. When I presented it to the room full of my peers and colleagues, it was a massive failure.
Practice made me so much better. I was never perfect though, but I was pretty good.
The big bonus was that I started to love it!
I always refer to this story, when I am moving forward in my own business now, and the little hands of “fear” start thwarting my process.
3. Visualise Success
It is a well-known fact that many entrepreneurs, business owners and sportspeople practice some form of meditation during their day. Whether that meditation is a long walk in the early morning, or quiet time spent visualising how the day will progress.
It’s a personal approach for all.
Visualisation is repeatedly imagining what you want to achieve, in order to create that success.
Michael Phelps who is arguably the best swimmer of his generation, has attributed some of his success to his mental preparation. Oprah Winfrey too, who uses vision board techniques to get clear on her goals.
It boils down to really getting clear on what you want. Once you have this picture firmly in mind, you can then assess any fears that pop up. It’s likely that you can then easily dispell those fears because under the circumstances, I bet that they are “unreasonable”.
No lion, leopard or cheetah’s in this scenario. Not even a possibility of them.
4. How Significant Is The Fear?
So, you have worked to understand the fear, and you have practiced where necessary. You have visualised all this success, but the fear is still there.
Of course it is.
The absence of fear is on the other side of action. I don’t know who said that, but it sounds pretty reasonable.
Maybe I have just coined a phrase!
Let’s say for example, I am dreading doing a Live video on a certain social media platform. It’s part of my marketing strategy, but the fear I have is paralysing me.
Do I understand the fear?
Yes. It’s unreasonable.
It’s not like I will die, or be maimed by some fiercesome animal looking for his next lunch.
People might hate it and think that I am a total muppet for showing my face online. That’s ok too, because it’s the message that I need to convey to my perfect customer. It’s not for everyone.
Have I practiced?
My message is clear, and if it’s not that will be ok. I can get additional clarity on it from a different perspective once it’s in someone else’s space, and fine tune it.
It’s never the end of the world.
Have I visualised a successful outcome?
Yes. Day in and day out.
I will say it again. The absence of fear is on the other side of action.
Especially when the fear you have is pushing you in your own way.
I say go for it! Are you going to go for it?