As First-Gen Latinas, oftentimes there’s pressures around progressing and succeeding in life. Having parents that sacrificed to provide a higher quality of life can add to this. In this post I’m going to give you tips on how to overcome perfectionism so you can begin to take action towards the goals you’ve put off.
One of the most common challenges my clients face is wanting to do things perfectly. Feeling like they have to continue preparing (learning, getting certifications, consuming more information) instead of taking action. Some are afraid of what others will think if they do things imperfectly. Others have placed extremely high standards on themselves which causes them to not act either. If you resonate with this, you’re not alone.
I have to note that it is valid if you struggle with this. Having cultural expectations and pressure to make your parents’ sacrifices “worth it” is a unique experience that other people don’t face. Also, many of us have seen women in our family “do it all” without complaining. I know for me, my mom has always worked alongside my dad on top of taking care of the household and children too. So I have to acknowledge those things before proceeding. That being said, continue reading for some tips on how to overcome perfectionism.
Self-awareness is key
One of the first steps that will help overcome perfectionism is to recognize your tendencies. Do you feel a heavy feeling that paralyzes you from taking action? When did this start for you? Can you think of why this started? It is important to choose to see things differently from an outside lens so that you can recognize your patterns. Awareness is the first step as well as acknowledging that you have this challenge.
Focus on your progress
Perfectionism causes stress from having a fear of failing, unattainable goal seeking and self-criticism. You’re basically focusing on lack. On not doing or being enough. So one of my next tips involves shifting your mindset by focusing on the positives. What have you done in the past that you’re proud of? I encourage you to set intentional time aside to do this. Write down a list of all the things you have accomplished in the past.
You can even start from the very beginning if you want. You made it through the education system and learned how to read and write. For some of us First-Gen Latinas, we have relatives that didn’t get that opportunity and never learned those important skills. So focus on the progress you have already made in the past. Especially the moments where you challenged yourself and took “messy action.” You have already done things imperfectly in the past (at one point or another) and survived so focus on that.
Choose a strong “why”
Take the time to recognize the purpose behind your goals. Are you choosing your goals for yourself or to please others? Release the “shoulds” and other pressures you’ve placed on yourself. When you recognize your strong “why” (which is hopefully centered around being of service to others) it will help release the need to be perfect. When you shift your focus to the people waiting to be served, impacted and inspired by you, nothing else will matter. You’re here to shine your light, imperfectly.
Choose your goals wisely
Another tip on how to overcome perfectionism is to reevaluate your intentions or goals by breaking them down in simple steps. This will help you if you typically place unrealistic high standards or expectations on yourself. By breaking down your goals, they’ll feel easier to accomplish. This in turn, will give you momentum to keep going and before you know it, you’ll be further along than you expected.
This next tip can seem easier said than done but you have to stay focused without comparing yourself to others. If you’re using social media to get inspiration or to compare yourself to what others are doing, please remember that people only share highlights. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Not only can they be struggling with the same challenges as you but they can also be on their chapter 20 while you’re on chapter 2.
Aim to “fail”
In order to overcome perfectionism, face it head-on. Challenge yourself to act with the intention to “fail.” This will be super challenging at first. It will push you to step out of your comfort zone but with time and practice, it’ll feel easier. This works like a muscle. When you choose to frame your thoughts on action intending to “fail,” you’ll progress no matter what.
There is no such thing as failure anyway. When you “fail” it is simply a redirection towards a new path. Choose to view “failure” as an opportunity for growth because you’re learning through it all. When you focus on action instead of perfection, being imperfect will matter less. Ultimately, you’ll find you’re actually not failing at all because you are learning and overcoming perfectionism. It’s a win win.
Be kind to yourself
Remind yourself that perfection doesn’t exist. What does it even mean? No one is perfect and there is no way to do things perfectly. Treat yourself as you would treat a close friend. Your relationship with yourself is the most important after all. Have compassion and grace for yourself especially after recognizing the root cause of your perfectionism. And especially after recognizing that everyone experiences something like this at one point or another. If you learn about your role models’ journey, you’ll most likely find that they also experienced similar challenges to you.
It also helps to connect with other like minded people. Put yourself in environments where you’re seeing and interacting with other high achieving First-Gen Latinas that are going through similar challenges. This will help alleviate the pressures you’ve placed on yourself and it will also help you recognize that you’re not alone.
A final thought I have on how to overcome perfectionism is to seek support if and when you need it. Stop struggling by yourself especially if this has been a long term challenge for you. You have everything you need within you already. You are worthy and deserving of more without needing to be or do things “perfectly.” There is nothing wrong with seeking support whether you choose therapy or coaching. Those resources are available for a reason.
I’m here to guide you when you’re ready to dive deeper. Book your free consultation call to work with me here. I can help you shift your beliefs, feel safe in your body and feel unstoppable confidence to create the life you want. You’ll also be held accountable throughout our time working together.
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