You also need to know the importance of self-care, and that starts by disputing harsh/untrue internal criticisms about yourself. Every time you hear yourself saying, ‘I’m a failure’, or ‘I am not good enough’, take a piece of paper and write down five things about yourself that you like. This helps heal your self-esteem, while training your mind to focus on your positives. You should also take more time off so that you can rejuvenate mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Many successful people are perfectionists. At the same time, they have the ability to say “Done is Better Than Perfect” and just complete and wrap up a project. What is the best way to overcome the stalling and procrastination that perfectionism causes? How does one overcome the fear of potential critique or the fear of not being successful? In this interview series, called How To Get Past Your Perfectionism And ‘Just Do It’, we are interviewing successful leaders who can share stories and lessons from their experience about “how to overcome the hesitation caused by perfectionism.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sai Blackbyrn
Sai Blackbyrn is the CEO of CoachFoundation.com, a $12 million coaching consultancy firm that helps coaches across the world build strong, impactful, and resilient businesses. Mr. Blackbyrn is also a bestselling author, renowned speaker, as well as a business and digital marketing expert. Moreover, he has successfully amassed an impressive following in the personal development space- close to 6 million followers on Facebook, and over 200,000 members in the LinkedIn pages he created and manages.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I come from a family of coaches. My mother and father were both coaches, and so were/are many members of my extended family. Watching them work and learning from them set me on this journey of personal development, and helping others achieve the same.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite ‘Life Lesson Quote’ is “Short cuts make long delays” by J.R.R Tolkien. I have made many mistakes in my career, and taking the shortcut is often always the reason behind these mistakes. This quote serves as a daily reminder to do things right the first time, and every time.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
‘ReWork’ by Jason Fried and David Hansson is one book that has had a significant impact on myself and how I work. The part of this book that resonated with me the most was on workaholism. I learnt that entrepreneurs do not need to be workaholics so that their businesses succeed. I agree with this point wholeheartedly because I have seen so many startups fail because the founder was overworked and stretched too thin. As I was reading this section of the book, I realized that even I was falling into the trap of constantly working, and I traced how overworking was affecting the quality of my life. Once I realized this, I setup a new working schedule that gave me sufficient time away from work. Implementing this new schedule has completely changed my life, and my approach to business.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Patience: — If you lack patience, running a business can drive you mad! You need to be patient with your employees, with your suppliers, with your clients, and most importantly, with yourself. Cultivating patience with myself and my business helped me remain hopeful even when the odds were stacked up against the venture. By remaining hopeful and persistent, I managed to grow the business to where it is now.
- Decisiveness: — For so long, I was a serial procrastinator because I was so indecisive. Two years into the business, I realized that I was sabotaging myself by being indecisive and constantly procrastinating. I made a vow to be more decisive, and it paid off enormously within a relatively short time. For instance, 3 months after this vow, I created and implemented a criteria of people I would take in as clients, rather than just taking everyone. It was a gamble, because it meant turning down clients, and at that time, I really needed the money. However, this gamble paid off mightily, and if I had never taken the step towards being more decisive, my business would not have grown as fast.
- Open mindedness :- This character trait has pushed me to try things that are way beyond my comfort zone, but have brought enormous growth to my personality, and my business. It took open mindedness for me to venture into public speaking. Growing up and even into my 20s, I had serious anxiety about speaking in front of people. But, as a coach and business person, public speaking is an essential part of the job. I had to try it and I started by learning how to do it, and then practicing my skills at every opportunity presented to me.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly is a perfectionist? Can you explain?
A perfectionist is someone who sets for themselves extremely high standards and cannot accept results that come short of what they consider to be perfect. Achieving these standards is always extremely difficult because they are just too high.
The premise of this interview series is making the assumption that being a perfectionist is not a positive thing. But presumably, seeking perfection can’t be entirely bad. What are the positive aspects of being a perfectionist? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
Positive aspects of being a perfectionist include high level attention to detail, great organizational skills which can improve efficiency of processes, and error-free work. I, for one, pride myself in my impeccable organizational skills from the way my worktable is arranged to how I structure my work processes. Being organized means my output is higher and that is great for business.
What are the negative aspects of being a perfectionist? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
The negative aspects of being a perfectionist include being highly critical of yourself and others. This criticism can be a source of stress, and it can also erode your self-worth and self-esteem. Moreover, being highly critical of others can destroy their self-esteem, along with the relationship you have with them. Procrastination and fear of failure are also negative aspects of being a perfectionist.
If you are a perfectionist coach, you are highly likely to be overly critical of your clients. Criticizing them because they are unable to achieve the standards you’ve set whilst coaching them can ruin the relationship you have with these clients. Once this line is crossed, you risk losing the client and blocking other opportunities that this client could have opened for you.
From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common reasons that cause a perfectionist to “get stuck” and not move forward? Can you explain?
From my perspective, perfectionists tend to procrastinate and to be highly critical because of their overwhelming fear of failure. If you are afraid of failing, and if you want to get whatever you are doing absolutely right, you are going to be hesitant in taking any required/necessary action.
Here is the central question of our discussion. What are the five things a perfectionist needs to know to get past their perfectionism and “just do it?” Please share a story or example for each.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes: — your fear of making mistakes stops you from taking action. Acknowledge that mistakes are part of life, and welcome them as a leaning opportunity rather than a demonstration of your inferiority. For instance, if you are a writer, stop shooting for perfection in every writing assignment you have. Just write. Let the words flow, correct where it’s possible, submit, and move on to the next one.
- Break down your tasks into smaller pieces: — small victories and accomplishments keep you motivated and keep you going. For instance, if you are planning a birthday party, break the task down into its components. Tackle each at a time, and cross off what you have accomplished. That feeling of accomplishment pushes you to the next task and so on
- Setup a reward system: — reward yourself for every accomplishment you make, regardless of how small it is. Doing this helps to reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. Many times, perfectionists will procrastinate because they feel the task is too overwhelming. For instance, give yourself a fun treat every time you cross off a component of your task. This treat could be a 20 minute walk, or a snack, or even a nap!
- Track your time: — Set a timer for each task, and focus on that task for that specific amount of time. This way, you are not only getting the work done, but you are also reducing the anxiety that comes with feeling overwhelmed about not being able to reach certain standards.
- You also need to know the importance of self-care, and that starts by disputing harsh/untrue internal criticisms about yourself. Every time you hear yourself saying, ‘I’m a failure’, or ‘I am not good enough’, take a piece of paper and write down five things about yourself that you like. This helps heal your self-esteem, while training your mind to focus on your positives. You should also take more time off so that you can rejuvenate mentally, emotionally, and physically.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It would focus on proper leadership, from business to government. Lack of proper leadership in both business and government has created and exacerbated so many of the world’s current problems. We need leaders that inspire and motivate the rest of us to do right in our daily lives. We need leaders that do not sacrifice collective interests for their own. We also need leaders that are problem solvers and that inspire communities to be better, and to do better.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have a sit-down with Valorie Burton. She inspires me greatly through her work, and I would love to just sit down and hear her thoughts on different issues as they pertain to personal development.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can email me at: [email protected]
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!