Everyone has that thing that holds them back personally and professionally. For me, my two achilles heels are my overwhelming fear of being judged and perfectionism. And honestly, I believe they are the same.
I spent my entire childhood trying to make my parents proud.
Both my loving parents were extremely hard workers and expected nothing less of their children. They allowed us the freedom to choose what we wanted to do as long as we didn't settle for mediocrity. There was no room to be a victim of life because we were raised that we were 100% responsible for our actions, those of others and the success, or lack of, we would create. A gift I'm truly thankful for.
What it taught me was only bet on what I knew I could succeed at. I could rely on myself to produce the results if I were confident in what I was tackling. This is also known as “playing it safe”. I did not need to take big risks as long as I was producing the results I set forth to achieve.
I also learned to do my research first. Another valuable skill my Dad taught me. Collect all the data that would support me in succeeding. Not only would I apply this skill to my competitors in business but also if I were feeling cheeky and wanting to place some bets on sports. I would study odds, strengths, weaknesses, right down to the location of the sporting event. More often than not I was walking away with money in my pocket in an area others thought I knew nothing about.
After years of building a career in sales and finance, I boldly entered the world of fashion.
Some might think this is not playing safe, an industry I knew nothing about and walking away from a six-figure career. But what I know to be true is the fundamentals of business are all the same. What it personally takes to take big risks is the same. What I knew already, without a shadow of a doubt, was I was going to be successful. How I get there was what I needed to learn.
My overwhelming fear of being judged is another form of people-pleasing. Will I make them proud? Will they love the product I designed? Will I upset someone with my choice of words?
Do you think P!nk seeks validation from her girlfriends before committing to an outfit for a night out? I doubt it.
If you are anything like me, I invite you to ask yourself, what is the real difference between you and P!nk?
She does not have more years of experience at this game of life than we do, she too is insecure about parts of her body, she also sets goals, she cries, and she gets back up again. So, the next time the little voice of doubt enters your brain, as yourself, “what would P!nk do?”
Some of us are great at starting tasks, some of us are great at executing them and some of us sit in the idea without doing either. Perfectionists are great at starting but then start to criticize every little thing and have a hard time hitting the execution button. This is followed up with a fear of looking like you are not a professional, you don’t know what you’re doing, and you couldn’t bear the thought of looking messy.
Sound familiar? Yeah, me too. I have learned there are a LOT of tools out there to support the fear of not landing the message the first time. First impressions are everything, right? Between Grammarly, Canva, Photoshop and many more, these tools were designed to support people who want to look polished before hitting go.
I remember when I hired my first coach. I distinctly remember, on multiple occasions, saying “Just tell me what to do”. She would always remind me the point of a coach is to bring the answers out of YOU. *groan* This is where my overwhelming fear of being judged meets perfectionism. Having someone tell you what to do takes the pressure off of doing the wrong thing and permission to execute because it must be something people want to see or they wouldn’t have told you to do it, right?
This is what I know to be true:
People want to be around people they like. They also can smell an imposter. This is the difference between laughing at a funny joke or forcing a laugh at a bad joke.
When I hired my first stylist and she suggested I wear a lime green blouse, I was like, “Nah ah. It’s too loud.” She would reply, “for who?” which would lead to the same dialogue every time I would respond with a no:
Stylist: “What happens if you’re too loud?”
Me: “I will stand out”
Stylist: “And what happens if you stand out”
Me: “People might judge me”
Stylist: “What then?”
We are so consumed by what people are going to think of us rather than making a difference in someone’s life or being inspirational. Let me share a little secret with you… we are all too busy thinking of our own outfit that we are not thinking of yours.
This is not just about my insecurity of wearing something bold. How many pictures do you have to take before you post one? How many times did you edit your website before it went live? How many times did you opt for cleaning your house over playing with the kids?
When you can change your relationship with how people might perceive you, laugh only when the joke is funny, and be brave enough to say what’s on your heart, you can then, and only then, truly feel life’s fulfillment.
What do you need to let go of to find your success? Drop it in the comments below!
-Shauna Allan is the founder of Modern Match Lingerie Inc. and The Bra Bra Sisterhood – armed with a cup of java and her favorite pieces of lingerie, she hosts a safe space where women can simply just be women! Join our community here