The B- Approach
In This Post – The One Tip You Need for Overcoming Perfectionism
- Is perfectionism your badge of honor?
- One example of how perfectionism has held me back
- What perfectionism really is
- Using the B- Approach as an alternative
- 3 tips for using the B-Approach
Do you secretly wear your perfectionism as a badge of honor?
I used to love saying I was a perfectionist, for as far back as I can remember. I think I was given that label sometime in elementary school and I thought it was fabulous. It has the word perfect in it, what could be wrong with that?
Can you relate? Do you (or did you) secretly love being called a perfectionist?
But, there’s a dark side to it. I used the perfectionist label to communicate that I wanted to do things very well, to be a high achiever.
BUT, I also used it as an excuse. If I decided I couldn’t do something perfectly, I just wouldn’t do it. Or, I’d sabotage myself to (weirdly) prove myself right, that I couldn’t do something.
The biggest project that suffered from my perfectionism was a blog I started in 2010. I started a blog and was having a lot of fun writing mom tips.
- I wasn’t very consistent (aka not perfect), and that was eating me alive.
- I also felt guilty about the amount of time it was taking away from my son and husband.
- I was worried what I was writing wasn’t good enough.
So, instead of addressing those issues and finding a way to blog more consistently and faster, I stopped. I shut it down. It wasn’t “perfect” and I didn’t want my name on it anymore.
In hindsight, I can’t imagine where I’d be now if I had just kept going. I wonder what kind of online business I would have and how many other moms I would have already helped. I wonder what kind of tribe I could’ve built.
Overcoming the perfectionism
So, with that example and many more like it, I broke up with my perfectionist side. I can’t recall an official break-up date, it was gradual.
Here are the steps for overcoming perfectionism, and you can do it too.
I started setting mantras and themes for myself like:
- Take massive imperfect action
- Done is better than perfect – Scott Allen
- Perfect is the enemy of done – Unknown
I started celebrating my messy, imperfect, mistake-ridden projects and life. I took the pressure off.
Have you broken up with your perfectionist side yet?
What the experts say about overcoming perfectionism
Brown explains perfectionism as a shield:
“Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
To me, that was eye-opening. I loved her book, and it made me realize that my perfectionism wasn’t a badge of honor, it was a way for me to hide and to play small.
On his blog, Seth Godin says that perfectionism is a defense mechanism:
“…why are you so focused on perfect?
Perfect is the ideal defense mechanism, the work of Pressfield’s Resistance, the lizard brain giving you an out. Perfect lets you stall, ask more questions, do more reviews, dumb it down, safe it up and generally avoid doing anything that might fail (or anything important).
You’re not in the perfect business. Stop pretending that’s what the world wants from you.
Truly perfect is becoming friendly with your imperfections on the way to doing something remarkable.”
To me, his words are everything, and the critical reminder to jump in head first, even if you have NO IDEA what you’re doing. Don’t wait on the sideline for the “perfect time”.
Do you agree it’s time to kick perfectionism to the curb?
Where are you at with your relationship to perfectionism?
- Are you ready for the “overcoming perfectionism” project?
- Are you holding onto it, as part of your identity?
- Are you trying to give it up but having a hard time with the break-up?
- Have you fully kicked it to the curb?
The Alternative to Perfectionism is the B- Approach
If you suffer from perfectionism, either full-blown or occasional, this is the mindset that is a game-changer. It can shift you into massive progress and away from the paralysis caused by perfectionism, like it has for me.
THIS IS THE KEY STRATEGY, THE 1 TIP FOR OVERCOMING PERFECTIONISM.
It’s called the B- approach. It’s the concept of working to get a B (gasp, even a B-) instead of that A or A+. It’s the equivalent of getting a B-, or an 80% on a test.
The B- Approach is doing solid work, and not wasting the extra effort and mind games on that additional time to perfect what you’re doing.
- The B- Approach is based on the the law of diminishing returns. It’s an economic law that, loosely summarized, says a point will eventually be reached at which additional work will yield progressively smaller, or diminishing, increases in output.
- It’s also based on the Pareto Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) which says 80% of the outcome is determined by 20% of the work.
- And lastly, there’s the concept in software called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The B- Approach is another way to put out a minimum viable product. It’s a starting point, and a baseline from which to develop, grow, and improve.
What the B- Approach ISN’T
This isn’t about lowering your standards. You KNOW all about high standards and achievement. This is you making a conscious choice to put in just the ‘right’ amount of effort to maximize your results.
It’s smart. It’s savvy. It’s what high achievers do.
5 Tips for Implementing the B- Approach
- Set a timer. You know how long a task should take. Set a timer for that amount of time and then stop when it goes off. For example, this blog post should take me an hour. I set a timer for an hour and then race to finish it before the timer goes off. If I let myself work until it’s “done,” it would take 2-3 hours for very little additional benefit.
- Focus on the activity instead of the outcome. When you’re just starting out a new focus or new project, we often get bogged down in perfecting every step as a way to try to control the outcome. Instead, focus on consistent activity and don’t worry about the outcome just yet.The outcome will show itself from your consistency.
- Know that you’ll make mistakes. Know in advance that you’ll make mistakes. Think of whatever you’re doing as an experiment instead of a do or die project. Get excited when you make mistakes, instead of beating yourself up. Those mistakes mean you’re closer to your ultimate goal.
- Plan to refine and iterate. Schedule in steps and time for refinement. This B-Approach includes room for gradual progress and refinement and adaptation.
- Just start.
How do you feel about overcoming perfectionism and the B- Approach?
In this post, we covered overcoming perfectionism using the B- Approach:
- Perfectionism isn’t a badge of honor
- It’s a way to shield ourselves from judgement and to stay in our comfort zone
- Try the B- Approach as an alternative
- 5 tips for using the B-Approach
**There might be some typos in this post (and all my posts). My timer has gone off and the hour I aside for working on this post is up 🙂 I hope you will benefit from the information and forgive any imperfections.**
Did You Know?
I’m a success coach for working moms. I work with other moms to create and execute the mindset, strategies and routines that are required get out of survival mode and achieve your goals, both personally and professionally.
Think of it as a re-set for ambitious moms who want to maximize what they do, who they are, and all they impact to make the most out of life.
The first step is to meet for half an hour to talk about your goals, obstacles and mini action plan. If you want to create your own mini action plan, here’s the link to schedule the free session on my calendar.
I’ll coach you through building the plan and identifying your next steps. Then, we’ll talk for a few minutes at the end about what I do and if we might be good working together. I’m not a salesperson so don’t expect a sales call. I only accept clients who are a good fit.
This is time focused on you and your goals, and how to get to the next level.