Strive for progress not perfection. When you focus on every single detail being perfect all the time, you start to lose sight of all the progress you’ve made. It’s empowering and gives you a confidence boost when you’ve seen the progress you’ve made. However, when you focus on every single thing being perfect, it can cause unnecessary stress and worry that no one needs.
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 Ashley Blain.
Ashley Blain is the founder and CEO of ZenLuxCo, a New York based women’s wellness and beauty business that promotes self-love and empowerment for women and girls, and provides practical solutions to ultimately help them be their best selves. Her mission is to help women of all ages and walks of life, present their best foot forward through self-care and self-love. Through the sales of her business and her philanthropic cause, she has also managed to help young women and girls who are less fortunate, to live out their full potential.
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?
Thanks so much for having me! I am so thankful for this opportunity. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised by my mom and dad as an only child. My parents always instilled education in me, so going the traditional 9–5 office job route was expected. I did the corporate life for a few years after graduating college, but found myself never truly happy with it, despite getting and working my dream job in my field for a while. Once both my parents retired, my dad started a lucrative security business and this was one of the big factors that propelled me to go on my own entrepreneurial pursuit, and start my own business that I’ve always longed to do. Important values they always instilled in me growing up, is whatever you do, follow through and give it your all. Having a great support system in whatever you do is vital as an entrepreneur. Having the confidence to ‘Just Do It’ helps you to move forward in the direction of your goals and dreams. It is what separates the winners from everyone else.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite life lesson quotes is “Move in Silence Execute Relentlessly”. This resonates so much with my entrepreneurial journey because when I first started actively making moves for my business, I held back in announcing to the world what I was doing. I only initially told close friends and family that I knew had my best interest at heart and would only fill me with confidence and words of affirmation. Living in the age of social media, everyone is oversharing so much of their lives. Making silent moves not only preserves what’s for you, but it also protects yourself from outside energies and wards off those who feel entitled to your life. Protecting your peace and energy so you can solely focus on executing and growing your business is essential.
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?
One of my favorite books I distinctly remember reading is ‘The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles’ by Marianne Williamson. I read this book in my sophomore year of college before I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It in a way, helped pave the way for my life years down the line. Some of the key points I’ve taken away from it are:
- We each have the power to bring what we want into existence.
- Having a lacking mindset, and an abundant mindset makes a world of a difference.
- If we think a miracle is possible, it will happen.
- Every thought we have carries an energy that is always released in some way.
- Everything happens for a reason whether good or bad.
Throughout the book, the author points out how important manifestation is. If you believe something good will happen, it will happen. If you expect something bad to happen, it will happen. We all have the power to create exactly what we want to happen in our lives. Your mindset is everything, and that is the starting point of how most things will carry out.
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?
Selflove, confidence and time management have been the three character traits that have been the most instrumental to my success.
- Selflove: You have to believe that you deserve all things good and positive. In order to put your best foot forward, you have to extend love to yourself before you can extend love to anything else and anyone else. In order to pour into others’ cups, you must first fill your own cup. I look at selflove as a superpower to have. When you have true selflove, you know your power, what you are capable of, and accept yourself fully as a person.
- Confidence: You cannot be an entrepreneur without having confidence. Being able to take risks, and dive into the unknown requires you to believe in yourself and your power. When you believe in your own ability and power, it propels you to take action in what you want. In my case, my confidence was built over time through my experiences and the wisdom gained from these experiences. Having confidence also means no one can successfully project their own insecurities and shortcomings onto you, because you know who you are and are confident in who you are.
- Time Management: I believe you have to have good time management skills in any career you have, but especially in being an entrepreneur. As a business owner, you handle many different tasks and have many different responsibilities. It’s so important to manage your time well and to always be mindful of what needs to be done. I prioritize tasks based on it’s urgency and deadline. Using this method helps me to be proactive with my goals, and ensures all of my responsibilities get completed.
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?
My definition of a perfectionist is someone who has extremely high expectations of themselves and is truly never satisfied. They typically want everything they work on to be absolutely perfect and are also usually very hard on themselves. They tend to look at shortcomings and setbacks as actual failures within themselves. Perfectionists also try to achieve this level of flawlessness that is virtually impossible for any human being and usually tie their identity to being flawless. They also tend to tie their identity solely to their work and accomplishments.
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?
When you think about it, perfectionism is not all entirely negative. Since perfectionists want everything to be flawless without any room for improvement, they typically don’t leave any room for slack when going after their accomplishments. They typically strive for nothing less than excellence. This reminds me of that quote ‘Shoot for the moon. If you miss it, you will still land among the stars.’ I interpret that as strive to be the best and for excellence, but if you fall short, at least you will still be looked at as a winner because you will still be ahead of most.
What are the negative aspects of being a perfectionist? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
Being a perfectionist has more negative aspects than positive ones. One of these negative aspects is not being able to brush off small shortcomings or mistakes. All of us in some form are perfectionists. None of us enjoy failing at something and most of us regret it when we don’t do something to our full potential. Most of us don’t like falling short of achievement or have a hard time getting over mistakes we have made that delayed us in succeeding. I sometimes notice my perfectionist tendencies jump out when I’m over critical about choices I’ve made and when I second guess simple decisions.
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?
I would say the fear of making a mistake and receiving criticism are some common ones. Many perfectionists fear making mistakes, whether big or small. When they fall short of perfection, they view it as a character flaw within themselves. They are also terrified of any type of criticism and any type of feedback that is anything but positive. In consequence, there is no true room for true improvement if constructive criticism is not welcomed. Constructive criticism is important for progression and improvement. However, with perfectionists, they tend to not receive it well even if they can benefit from it.
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?”
- There is always room for improvement- Perfectionists don’t like any criticism, but constructive criticism brings to light that there is room for improvement and progress. You take the joy away that comes from seeing the progress you have made, when you try to make every single thing perfect all the time.
- Failure doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of success- Nobody on Earth is perfect, and we all have bumps in the road that we can fail at climbing over. Use these bumps in the road as an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge. No human is perfect at any point in time, so expect to have hiccups along the way.
- Have confidence in everything you do- When you have confidence in your ability and power, you are more than likely going to strive for excellence and reach it. This doesn’t mean everything will turn out perfect because we are human, but having the confidence to ‘Just Do It’, is what initially sets apart the winners from everyone else.
- Talk back to your inner critic- Perfectionists are known to be very harsh on themselves. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy, and can judge yourself so harshly. I notice when I talk back to my inner critic, it helps me to control my thoughts that are negative and judgemental. We create the world we live in, and keeping your mind filled with positive self-talk and positive affirmations helps make the journey of reaching your goals more enjoyable.
- Strive for progress not perfection- When you focus on every single detail being perfect all the time, you start to lose sight of all the progress you’ve made. It’s empowering and gives you a confidence boost when you’ve seen the progress you’ve made. However, when you focus on every single thing being perfect, it can cause unnecessary stress and worry that no one needs.
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?
Selfcare is not selfish. I believe if we all took the time to indulge in ourselves, and nourish our mind, body and soul, it helps us to better face any obstacles life throws at us. We cannot pour into other cups if our own cup is empty. Replenishing and restoring ourselves, helps us to have a more mindful relationship with ourselves which in turn brings more positive outcomes.
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 lunch with Rihanna. She is so unapologetically herself and such a great business woman to look up to. She’s a woman that wears many belts and is so multifaceted who has no limitations on what she can do.
How can our readers follow you online?
To connect with me online:
ZenLuxCo on Instagram www.instagram.com.zenluxco
Our website www.zenluxco.com
My personal Instagram www.instagram.com/heyyashleyyb
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
It was truly my pleasure being a part of this!