How to Have Confidence When You’re a Perfectionist

Confidence When You're a Perfectionist

I’ve had a fascinating month of observing myself from the lens of an entrepreneur. Noticing the many ways my confidence has shifted—choosing to disappear from areas where it previously resided, and showing up fiercely in areas I hadn’t expected it to show up so soon.

With Shopify at my back, my confidence was well boosted. I was never intimidated to reach out to big names or pitch new opportunities. I represented the company, and the company vouched for my credibility.

But without my Shopify identity anymore? I represent no one but myself, and no one but myself is vouching for my credibility. I’m the product and the sales team.

What I’ve come to understand is how situational confidence really is.

You might be someone who’s confident in the boardroom, but lack confidence in your personal relationships. Or maybe you’re confident in the kitchen, but lack confidence in starting that business idea.

Confidence is not a personality trait, nor is it a feeling that you can hold onto at all times.

Confidence is having the trust that when you drop down to rookie status, you’ll rise up again.

When I was a gymnast, I could visually see this. Gymnastics is a sport that’s 5% skill and 95% mindset. You are constantly perfecting a skill to then re-learn it over and over again at different levels of difficulty. Once you’ve achieved a handstand on the floor, you start re-learning it on a low beam, then again on a padded high beam, and eventually, months or years later, you are finally able to complete the skill independently.

There’s a clear path to mastery, which means you’re not overthinking how many times you tumble. The harder it gets, the closer you are to mastering the full sequence.

When it comes to other areas of life? Those without a clear path?

That’s when perfectionist brains go into overdrive. We’re trying to crush it, but we don’t know what crushing it even looks like. Every time we tumble, we can’t distinguish whether it’s just part of the journey or if it’s because we’re idiots.

This is why putting on blinders and stepping one foot in front of the other is the only way I’ve found my perfectionist brain to make forward momentum. The more times we show up for our goals, the more trust we build in ourselves, the more confidence we have in pursuing new goals. It’s more important to keep that confidence cycle going than obsessing over the results of our work.

In a terribly ironic twist, I am feeling very blah about this newsletter. It’s not perfect. Far from it. I just hope it hasn’t killed any of your brain cells? I could spiral down a self-pity train, but instead? I’m feeling confident with myself because in a few minutes I will be hitting send. Showing up imperfectly, but right on cue.

Is 2021 the year that every perfectionist shares an imperfect new project with the world?

Is it the year that every multi-passionate unleashes their full selves?!

I hope so.

I hope we all unravel from the crazy balls of yarn we’ve tangled ourselves into.

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