“Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination” Michael Hyatt
It literally took me hours to write this intro, not to mention the hundreds of “write and deletes” I went through.
“Why?” you may ask given that it’s a pretty basic sentence.
Because I couldn’t make it perfect.
Perfectionism has been a life-long partner and has gotten in the way of everything I do.
I cannot leave the house until my hair is just perfect, which of course it never is and so I spend my morning running around in a mad panic as it turns out I’m running late again. And that also grates on me because being perfect means not being late!
I dread presenting, handing in work done or being in the spot-light for anything because that means weeks of agonising beforehand trying to make it all perfect and then hours after spent criticising myself for not doing it 100% “right”.
Of course the area of my finances has not been spared my perfectionist tendencies and this has led to a lot of money being wasted, a lot of opportunities being missed and a lot of lost value!
Here are the ways perfectionism costs
Giving up on your budget at the first excess
Perfectionists are all or nothing people and these unattainable high standards set us on a path to almost certain failure.
This is like binge eating on an overly strict diet.
We read all the guidelines for what the “perfect” budget should be and then think we can implement that into our own very specific circumstances.
That’s why I hate the word budget it sounds so restrictive and set in stone – an ideal trap for the perfectionist.
I prefer a conscious spending plan which is more about working within our own lifestyles and creating what is maybe imperfect but more suited for us and our life goals.
Not investing because you are not 100% sure you can be perfect at it
Men seem to just get the investing game which kind of makes sense seeing as financial services was pretty much created by men for their main target client, men, without much thought for how women may like to approach it.
And while this does mean we are starting off on the back foot here, we have also come up with our own unique spin on not doing it which typically revolves around our “perfect view” of it. This perfect generally means;
- We have to be wealthy to invest, and so we can’t do it until we have enough money
- We view ourselves as bad with money and see investing as another mistake we will make with it
- We see ourselves as to young, to old, too early to late, insert your own take on this, to get started;
- Or we view it as some dark magic that seems too overwhelming or boring to learn and so it’s easier to rely on someone else to do it for us.
The truth of all of this is we are just too afraid to stop procrastinating and to find our how to do it.
In doing the research you will find out you can invest from as little as £25, so no, you don’t have to be wealthy, but this is the way to become that.
The “I’m bad with money excuse” is actually the “I’m too afraid, ashamed or whatever your own personal avoidance sauce is, to take the steps to get educated and get better.
Being too young, too old or whatever reason you are using, is totally untrue. The best time to start investing is when you are young but the second best time is right now, wherever you are.
And finally leaving it to someone else to take care of is giving away your power. Knowledge is power and what you don’t know WILL hurt you. The best person to care about your money and what it’s doing is you.
Facing a big financial decision and sitting in decision paralysis
You are hell-bent on making the perfectly correct choice and your current circumstances mean your idea of perfect isn’t possible so you do nothing.
Paying off debt or investing? “It will take you forever to pay off your debt and you don’t really know about investing so what should you do!”
Buying a house? Well you cannot afford the house on the beach with the infinity pool and 10 bedrooms, and the small two bedroom apartment just can’t compete so you do nothing.
Clearly perfectionism keeps you stuck. It’s the perfect antidote to action.
So how do you overcome this hurdle to financial success?
You have to accept the fact that there is no perfect (yes, hard to believe) and your money situation and the actions you take to make it work are never going to be “cookie cutter” visions of perfection.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The thing that does have to happen though is action!