How To Stop Perfectionism From Holding You Back

How To Stop Perfectionism From Holding You Back

How To Stop Perfectionism Holding You Back
Ah perfectionism – my old friend. How have you been? In this solo episode we’re talking about perfectionism – that gnarly little habit of trying to make everything you do so damn impossibly good that …well, you struggle to put the things ‘out there’ in the world. Perfectionism is something that plagues me – always has and I’ve learned a lot of strategies to work with it over the years. And yet, like all personal growth it’s never ‘one and done’. It’s comes back in a new form, or sometimes you find yourself dealing with the same old pattern but from a different angle. Which can be infuriating in an ‘I thought I was done with this!’ way. I honestly thought for a long time that ‘being a perfectionist’ was something to strive for – in fact, I laughed out loud the first time a therapist told me I was a perfectionist – ridiculous, I thought, I’m not perfect at anything. I learned over the years that perfectionism is most definitely not about thinking you’re perfect – it’s about never believing you’re good enough and therefore nothing you create, produce, do is going to be good enough. But you try to make things good enough – but you never seem to get there. You can find yourself postponing and reworking projects, cancelling plans, telling yourself things like: It’ll be good enough when… (insert impossible to achieve thing) Fun fact: procrastination and perfectionism are bosom buddies! They often work in tandem to keep you out of action. A thing isn’t good enough right, so you just need to spend a bit of time improving it, so you do and then it’s still not quite there, so maybe if you add/change/remove this bit it will be better. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of perfecting and procrastinating and never doing the thing or putting your creation out into the world. I learned from working with Tanya Geisler that perfectionism/procrastination are just 2 ways the Imposter Complex can show up. Today I’m sharing my own experience with perfectionism and some of the ways I’ve learned to overcome it and stop getting in my own way (a lot of it has involved embracing the fact that my business and my life is allowed to be messy and imperfect and is can still be bloody good!)  

Links mentioned in this episode around perfectionism:

Tanya Geisler’s work on the Imposter Complex (and listen to the episode I recorded with Tanya here) The revamped Meaningful Biz Academy in all it’s shiny, freshly painted glory    

“I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more that a deep existential angst the says, again and again, ‘I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.”

Liz Gilbert, Big Magic

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Full Wattage You

Full Wattage You

full wattage you
I was giving some feedback to one of my clients on some content she’d creating for her business.

“I want more of…you.” I said. “I want full wattage you.”


ARGH! Can you feel that? The tension that brings up? How would it feel to be see at your brightest brilliance?

Scary, no?

Our feminine conditioning (the subtle and not so subtle messages we’re given about what it means to be a ‘good’ woman) has spent a lifetime telling us to be small, deferential, compliant and modest.

So to be full on, take up space, share an opinion, be funny, vibrant, and visible?

Being visible is an essential part of building a business.

It’s vulnerable. It feels exposed and sometimes even dangerous.

Our culture is littered with stories of high profile women being vilified and dragged down. From witch trials to online trolling – we all have those tales running through our collective psyche. And I bet that in more recent times you can still remember ‘that girl’ who was mocked at school, or the one who got whispered about behind her back? Yeah, nobody wants to be ‘that girl’

So you are not crazy for feeling uncomfortable about being seen.

It’s self protection. It’s transgressive. 

It goes against everything we’ve been trained to do.

And that’s why it’s so transformative.

How magnificent is it when we see a woman in her full power, owning her gifts and talents? Not puffing up arrogantly, but fully embodying all that she is?

It’s a wonderful, inspirational sight to many (and a threatening one to others)

For every woman who allows herself to shine fully as herself, there are a hundred more who are watching her show them the way they can do it too.

That’s why it’s so powerful. That’s why it’s seen as dangerous by some. And that’s what gives it potency.

Shining bright doesn’t have to involve shouty, in your face ostentation (but it could). Nor a ton of glitter, makeup and a diva like vocal range (although that is rather cool too)

It can be rooted, quiet, gentle, thoughtful. funny, intellectual, wise … or all of the above.

But it does involve showing up in the most youest of you ways –  without toning down, fitting in, diminishing or faking it.

Oh, and you know what else?

Being full wattage you is the very best marketing you can have 

Because your potential clients will only hire someone they trust (and they can’t really trust you if they can’t fully see you.)

Even though it takes some courage. 

It’s not a switch


To walk this path we need to uncouple the ‘this could actually happen’ fears from the imagined, exaggerated ‘what if??? type of fears. I live with an anxiety disorder so I know those fears intimately.

They are rarely real but they are nasty

We need to build some sort of safety into our daily practice. For me, that means body work like walking, mindfulness and yoga with social and psychological support. My body is often wiser than my head when it comes to working with fear. 

We also need work on untangling the legacy of our personal and collective traumas and stories so that they don’t limit our capacity to shine is ongoing. This is vital work and takes time and care. Some come undone easily like snags in a hosepipe – you have a realisation like ‘I’m not at school anymore, I’m not trapped with those bullies’, and poof, the fear disappears.

Others are more like tangled balls of yarn that take consistent, painstaking work over time.

That’s OK. This is the work we do with our clients. This is the work we do with ourselves. Healing is an ongoing process. It’s true for our clients. It’s true for us. 

Having the courage to be visible is like a muscle. We strengthen it over time.

Start small. Then build.


What it would that feel like to shine brightly as yourself. No hiding. No mask.  What would change if you were to do that?

What would a more full wattage you be like? A tiny step? Then a bigger step? 
What would you stop hiding? What would you share more of?
What would you do that you’re stopping yourself from starting right now?

Jen Pavich – Feminist Life Coach

Jen Pavich – Feminist Life Coach

Jen Pavich
The past 2 years or so have been intense politically and have thrown up a ton of questions and opened up a lot of really important conversations about gender, race and just how far we thought we’d come as progressives and feminists – compared to the realisation that it wasn’t nearly far enough. By the time of the 2016 US election, my friend Jen Pavich had graduated coaching school, was finishing up her Masters degree, had a great corporate coaching role and was building up a great private coaching practice. But in spite of it all, she felt like she was hiding a big part of herself in her business – her feminism. Fast forwards to 2019 and Jen is a glorious example of how stepping out from behind the mask of trying to model what every other coach is doing can be the very thing that makes your business shine out from the crowd.   Jen and I first me when she signed up to be part of my Supernova Collective program so I’ve had the privilege of seeing her really step into her brilliance and combine the fire and smarts that is Jen into her business.  

About Jen Pavich

  Jen Pavich is a feminist life coach who helps women overcome the patriarchy in their own heads so they can do the things they really want to do AND become social justice warriors who help overthrow the existing power structure. She is a certified professional coach with an MA in Human Development, a fierce feminist worldview, and a passion for helping women create change in their lives. She is a certified facilitator (candidate) in The Daring Way™ method created by Dr. Brené Brown. Jen is also the creator of Braving Your Business, a four-month program to help business owners be brave and authentic while creating  businesses that align with their values and the host of the Unquiet Sisterhood podcast. (Which I was a guest on the inaugural episode!)    In this episode we talk about:
  • Jen’s journey to truly having an aligned business – and the internal resistance that cropped up along the way.
  • How studying with Brené Brown’s Daring Way Practitioner training helped shape her practice
  • How mainstream coaching and personal development is failing us all – and what we can do about it
Connect with Jen via her website or on Facebook or Instagram

And be sure to sign up for her weekly Love Letters From The Resistance – they’re pretty amazing

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