Fear of Mistakes and Perfectionism — How to Let Go and Live

fear of mistakes
Fear of mistakes needn’t stymie you…

Fear of mistakes is a time thief that slows you down and keeps you from exploring, innovating, and learning as you go.

And it’s a fear that is a powerful fuel for perfectionism.

I speak from experience, as I’m a recovering perfectionist. And what that means in practice is that I’m inclined to check and re-check my work.

Sometimes, that really slows me down. In fact, over the years, letting go of a project or launching a product has often been a distressing, doubt-riddled process.

But I’ve been able to make changes for myself. That’s the good news I want to share. For each and every one of us, getting over the fear of mistakes is a process. And it’s one that’s ongoing.

Fear of mistakes is stressful.

So, picture me, getting ready to release a new e-guide. I’d worry and imagine all the terrible possibilities.

  • “What if there’s a mistake I missed?”
  • “And what if it’s not good enough?”

These unanswerable, nagging questions created needless stress and frustration. And the unrealistic demands of perfectionism invariably led, not to perfection, but to lost hours and missed opportunities.

In time I realized that I needed to get to the roots of my perfectionism for my health, productivity, and well-being.

Fear, fear, and more fear…

Here’s a description of perfectionism that resonates for me:

At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake and fear of disappointing others. The fear of failure and the fear of success.

Michael Law

My first step toward freedom was to explore my history and begin to recognize the roots of my particular brand of perfectionism.

So I’d like to share a story with you – one that I recall like it was yesterday. It’s one event out of many – and yet it captures the flavor of the early demands that have fueled my perfectionism through the ensuing decades.

The roots of my perfectionism…

As a child, starting with elementary school, I came to know very quickly that anything less than an “A” on my report card was not okay. And since I wanted my parents to love me I needed to get straight A’s. So school tasks generated stomach-churning stress, and failure was not an option.

In general, I did very well, but in 10th grade I ran into a wall. It was my French class. I struggled with French from the start. So my mother got me a tutor. Mrs. A. was a native French woman who was an acquaintance of my mother’s. She lived about 2 ½ miles from us. And faithfully, every Monday night, my aunt would drive me there and then come back and pick me up an hour later. Mrs. A could see my stress and did her best to help.

The fuel of fear…

This story speaks to how deeply my perfectionism is rooted in fear. And it also underscores how substantial and debilitating my family’s demands were.

To me, it all felt normal. I didn’t know any other reality. And though I hated the pressure, I certainly never questioned the demands. But from her vantage point, Mrs. A. could see how they were tying me in knots.

So, do you have a similar story in your history? One that feeds your perfectionism today? If so, you’re certainly not alone, and fears needn’t hold sway over you.

How will you make different choices, starting now?

Here’s some help for you…

My E-Guide titled “Why Perfectionists Aren’t Perfect: How to Overcome the Pitfalls of Perfectionism and Change Your Life for Good” puts proven, practical, Heart-Based Time Success Tools into your hands. It gently steers you to a more profound understanding of the roots of your challenges.

So, click this link to learn all about “Why Perfectionists Aren’t Perfect” and the valuable companion bonus that accompanies it.

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