How Perfectionism Keeps Coaches Stuck in Struggle + Strategies to Help You Break Free
If you’re a coach struggling to achieve your business and career goals…
If you can’t seem to reach the next level of success, no matter how much effort you put in…
You may have fallen into the perfectionism trap.
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. It can easily seem like a positive, but often holds coaches back from their true potential. You might not even be aware of just how much a pattern of perfectionism could be keeping you stuck!
7 Signs You’re a Coach with Perfectionism
- Reluctance to Launch: You frequently delay or hesitate to release programs, workshops, or content. You may tell yourself it isn’t ready, needs a little more work, or fear that others won’t think it’s good enough.
- Overly Self-Critical: You have a habit of being excessively self-critical. You tend to focus more on what went wrong rather than acknowledging your achievements.
- Difficulty Accepting or Asking for Help: You find it challenging to delegate tasks or ask for help. You have a fear that others won’t meet your exceptionally high expectations or do things as perfectly as you would.
- Need for External Validation: You seek excessive validation from others for your ideas and work, always looking for reassurance it’s perfect.
- Perfection Paralysis: You often feel paralyzed when faced with decisions, fearing that the outcome won’t be flawless. Over time, this hinders your productivity and progress.
- Unrealistic Goals: You set goals that are often unattainable. You inadvertently create a cycle of disappointment and frustration when they aren’t met, regardless of other accomplishments.
- Stress and Burnout: You experience high levels of stress or burnout from the constant pressure you put on yourself.
If you resonate with these signs, it may indicate that the pursuit of perfection has become a barrier to both your success and well-being. Recognizing these signs is the first step towards overcoming the pattern of perfectionism and finding a healthier balance in your coaching journey.
The Root Cause of Perfectionism
In order to break free of the perfectionism trap once and for all, it helps to understand where it comes from.
Picture this: a society obsessed with highlight reels, where Instagram squares showcase the polished versions of people’s lives. Media and magazines tell people everywhere how to have the perfect body, the perfect family, and the perfect life.
This pressure cooker of expectations—be it societal, familial, or even self-imposed— only feeds the seeds of perfectionism. It often creeps in quietly, whispering that unless it’s flawless, it’s not worthy.
Combine that pressure with a conditional sense of self worth, and feeling inadequate can actually fuel a perpetual cycle of perfectionism that permeates every area of life…including your coaching business.
Conditional self worth is the false belief that your value as a human is contingent on your performance and being perceived as flawless by others. This belief can stem from past trauma, childhood experiences, and even some mental health issues.
Think of it like this– Where there is not already a sense of inadequacy, there is no need to strive to be perfect.
Perfectionism’s Sneaky Disguise
Even as you learn to understand perfectionism on deeper levels, there’s a twist: Perfectionism loves to wear a mask.
Perfectionism can easily appear to be a noble pursuit, making us believe that attaining perfection is the ultimate goal. It can even look like having high standards or striving for excellence. But here’s the catch—those very same “noble” pursuits often keep us spinning in circles, stuck in an endless loop of impossible standards.
For life coaches, this can be a particular snag. You aim to inspire, guide, and uplift others, but when trapped in the clutches of perfectionism, you might find yourself playing small. Your potential gets boxed in by the fear of not meeting the unrealistic standards your perfectionism set.
You think that you’re setting yourself up for more success, but as a result, you actually experience less. And in the process, you end up being able to help less people, not more.
How Perfectionistic Tendencies Can Sabotage Your Coaching Business
Imagine this scenario: You’ve crafted a workshop or a coaching program, pouring your heart and soul into it. But then, your inner-perfectionist whispers, “It’s not good enough. It needs to be flawless before it can be launched. People won’t think this is worth the money. This isn’t as good as that other coach’s program…”
And there you are, stuck in a loop of refining and tweaking, afraid to hit that ‘publish’ button. Meanwhile, opportunities pass by, clients remain unengaged, and your business hits a standstill.
At the heart of perfectionism lies the fear of failure. It’s like a persistent shadow, lurking around every corner, whispering tales of doom if something isn’t up to par. This fear fuels the chase for unrealistic standards and only adds to deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy when those standards inevitably aren’t met.
In your coaching business, this fear can:
- Keep you from putting yourself out there for fear of being judged
- Prevent you from launching new programs or courses for fear they aren’t good enough
- Cause you to self-sabotage new opportunities and avoid challenges to stay in control
- Make it difficult to adequately charge for your services because you second-guess their worth
- Cause anxiety, stress, and burnout, impacting your ability to reach your potential
- Avoid trying new things, taking risks, or investing in your success for fear you might fail
Think of it like this…
Imagine there’s a doctor in the emergency room at your local hospital. And one day, there’s a multi-car pileup on a nearby highway. Ambulances and paramedics are rushing in with person after person in desperate need of medical attention.
But instead of jumping right in to help as many people as possible, this doctor is in the back, straightening his tie, picking lint off of his white coat, and polishing already-clean surgical instruments to shining perfection.
Meanwhile, people are suffering, even dying… but the doctor cannot bring himself to jump in and start helping until everything is “perfect” and he feels “good enough.”
The people you serve in your coaching business may not be facing a literal life and death situation…
But their dreams, goals, and potential are on life support.
There’s an important reason you became a coach, and it wasn’t to not help people! Afterall, the people you are meant to serve and support need you, and they’re waiting for you to step up and fulfill your purpose, even if it means taking some messy action. They don’t need you to be perfect, they need you to be YOU.
How to Let Go of Perfectionism & Thrive in Your Coaching Career
It’s possible to overcome perfectionism and thrive as a life coach.
- Embrace Imperfection: Repeat after me, “I embrace imperfection as a part of growth.” Understand that imperfection doesn’t equal failure; it’s a stepping stone to success and an opportunity to learn.
- Set Realistic Boundaries: Set achievable goals and boundaries for yourself. Set time limits on how long you tweak and perfect programs and projects. Practice asking for help and feedback. Allow room for mistakes and learning.
- Enjoy the Process: Shift your focus from the end result to the journey. Celebrate small wins, relish the learning curve, and find joy in the process itself. Perfection isn’t the goal; progress is.
- Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Adopt a mindset of continuous learning. Acknowledge that mistakes are lessons in disguise, helping you evolve and grow.
Strive for Excellence, Not Perfection
Remember, there’s a fine line between striving for excellence and chasing perfection. Striving for excellence means doing your best while acknowledging that perfection is an unrealistic ideal. It’s about progress, not perfection.
As life coaches, your authenticity and relatability shine brighter when you embrace your imperfections.
Your clients aren’t seeking flawless robots; they’re seeking compassionate guides who understand the journey. Your ability to learn and grow with grace and acceptance will inspire their own journey of growth.
Affirmations for Perfectionism
These affirmations aim to shift the mindset from the pursuit of perfection to embracing growth, learning, and authenticity. They serve as gentle reminders for coaches to navigate their journey with self-compassion and resilience.
- “I embrace progress over perfection, knowing that each step forward is a success in itself.”
- “Mistakes are my mentors; I learn and grow from them, guiding me towards my best self.”
- “My worth isn’t tied to flawlessness; I am valuable, worthy, and capable as I am.”
- “I release the need for approval; my authenticity shines brighter than any facade of perfection.”
- “Imperfections are beautiful; they make me relatable, empathetic, and human.”
- “I trust in my abilities and knowledge, knowing that I’m equipped to guide and inspire.”
- “I set realistic goals and honor my boundaries, allowing space for rest and rejuvenation.”
- “I celebrate progress, big or small, acknowledging each achievement on this journey.”
- “My value lies in my compassion, dedication, and genuine connection, not in flawlessness.”
- “I let go of the fear of failure, understanding that it’s a stepping stone towards success.”
So, fellow coach, let’s bid farewell to the perfectionist trap! When you break free from its clutches, you’ll be able to step into the light and shine with authenticity. You’ll be able to go bigger, be bolder, and reach the people you were meant to help.
Embrace the process, celebrate your growth, and watch as your coaching business blossoms beyond the confines of unrealistic expectations.
Remember, it’s not about reaching perfection; it’s about learning, growing, and making a meaningful impact along the way!
Taking Action is the Only Way to Amplify Your Impact
I see a lot of coaches get stuck in perfection disguised as preparation.
These coaches sacrifice their potential, growth, and impact by spending more and more of their time, energy, and resources “getting ready.”
If deep down, you know that sounds like you, I want you to know this– It’s time to START. The only way to make the impact you were called to make is by taking action. The only way to learn to be an even better coach and difference-maker is to begin.
To empower coaches like you to start making even more of a difference in the world, I created the Ultimate Coaching Success Kit.
This bundle of exclusive resources will provide you with everything you need to take your clients from intake to testimonial– and everything in between. It will empower you with the foundation you need to confidently make an impact in the lives of others with:
- Comprehensive Client Intake Questionnaire
- Strategic Session Plan Template
- 100 Life Coaching Questions + When to Use Them
- 50 Transformational Life Coaching Exercises eBook
- 15 Best Client Testimonial Questions
A $177 value! Click here to get it now for the cost of a couple of lattes.