9 Clues Perfectionism is Holding You Back

by | Dec 7, 2013 | Uncategorized

Are you secretly proud of your perfectionism? Let’s be honest.
Years ago, if you called me a perfectionist, I felt flattered. It was a compliment.

I donned perfectionism like a badge of honor. I was the perfect straight A student, unless I got a B on a paper. I’d sabotage the entire semester.

I dropped out of school. Crazy?, I know.

Your perfectionism may not show up as such a blatant form of self-sabotage. But even if you are mildly afflicted with this subtle disease, your perfectionism is standing in the way of reaching your true potential.

Your pride in perfectionism is thwarting your own success. Why is this so?
Because to realize your potential, you have to accept that the road to success is paved with mistakes and failures.

The successful are comfortable with making mistakes. Michael Jordan says, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he finally invented a successful light bulb.

The successful don’t like mistakes. But they understand that making mistakes is just part of the process.
When perfectionism is subtle, it is even more insidious.

Here are 9 subtle ways to perfectionism still lurks in your life:

You wait until you get everything just right, before you reach out to your partners.

Your website has to be perfect before you can start your business.

You continually revise your book to get it published. Or you don’t want to show the world your work because it is not ready.

Your house needs to be perfect before you can invite your friends and family over.

You can only feel happy and peaceful and enjoy the kids, if the house is uncluttered and clean.

You need to go back to the drawing board and redefine your niche and your purpose before you can get on a strategy call.

You need to get one more certification or take one more course before you will be qualified in your business.

When your kids act up or act out in public, you feel an inordinate amount of anger and shame because you feel out of control about your family’s behavior.

You feel like you have to be thinner or younger or reduce cellulite to enjoy your lovemaking.

Is perfectionism holding you back?
It’s ironic because our society values perfectionism. He or she with the least mistakes gets the highest grades and the highest honors.

But in the real world, perfectionism is a liability.

A dear friend of mine once gave me feedback on a video series I recorded last year.  She pointed out the lighting and shadows were distracting. I still have much to learn about lighting. But with 3 young children at home and a barking dog, I knew that if I waited until I got everything perfect, I would never complete the project.

As a perfectionist in recovery,  I used to think that because I make mistakes, look silly on videos, or send out emails with typos, that I am no longer a perfectionist. But I confess, there are still places where perfectionism still lurks.

But by identifying the subtle forms of perfectionism, we can release these habits that our preventing us from reaching our fullest potential.

After identifying your perfectionism, ask yourself: what is perfectionism is costing you?
Is it costing you connecting to your kids and your husband?
Is it costing you getting that project launched into the world?
Is it costing you other opportunities to share your gifts with others?

Is it costing you money?

Perfectionism prevents us from connecting to our self, to our family and friends, to our bodies, to our gifts, and to our abundance.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s video, when I teach you 3 ways to eliminate perfectionism.

P.S. I am opening up my schedule for 5 slots to help the super-committed. If you are serious about realizing your vision in 2014 and are ready to stop standing in your own way of success, click here to schedule.


  1. Tanya

    This made me realize that I fail to enjoy the moment because I see the things I have not mastered yet standing in my way. I taught a YA class today I can do that comfortably but to have people in my home I do feel that I have to clean and serve and can’t sit and enjoy.. It also brings up a time when my dad had no work and I was unable to go on school excursions. I too would happily pay for things for my kids . Yet I have invested a lot of time and money in myself this year that could be classed as overspending . Yet I feel still along way off from being ready with my tele summit.
    Your words have certainly brought up a lot of stuff.

    • Tera

      Hi Tanya, we are so programmed to be perfectionist, I imagine that there are traces of perfectionism in many of us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  2. Carolyn

    Another great article Tera! Been working on this one!
    Love you girl!

    • Tera

      Thanks, Carolyn. Me too!

  3. Larissa

    Wow, I didnt’ know this was a problem for me but after reading this I realized that I do have perfectionist tenancies. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to next week’s videos.

    • Tera

      It shows up in many ways, Larissa.



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