Perfectionism – The Secret Killer Of Creativity and Wealth

Perfectionism – The Secret Killer Of Creativity and Wealth

What unrealistic expectations
will do to your
 life and business success

Entrepreneurs and perfectionism don’t mix. I am so passionate about the topic of perfectionism because I think it is a nasty disease that’s growing as fast as diabetes in the United States and undermining your creativity, success and wealth. Just like diabetes, it can go undetected until there are real (life and business) health problems.

When you start thinking that you are broken, that something is wrong with you, that you have bad luck, are not good, smart or worthy enough to have success and live a wealthy life the perfectionist disease is already consuming your healthy sense of self.

So I am asking you to take the time, even if you don’t think you are a perfectionist, to really look inside yourself and ask three simple questions:

Am I highly critical of others and myself?

Do I often think, after I complete something, that I could/should have done better?

Am I usually disappointed in myself?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, keep reading!


The Secret Killer of Success, Creativity and Accumulating Wealth 

Entrepreneurs and creative people are full of amazing, valuable ideas. You probably come up with new ideas daily. But then you put off doing something because you want to know how it will turn out before you put the energy in it. Because you’ve never done this before (or maybe nobody’s ever done this before!) you are worried about making mistakes. Or what if this idea is great and people love it? Then you might stand out, get a lot of attention, and have people ask you questions.


When you make the decision to actually do something, you go for it. But if you aren’t sure your decision is the right one, because you don’t know how everything will turn out in your favor, you will procrastinate and not go for it. Things need to be just so, or else you’re wasting your time, right? It would be embarrassing if someone noticed you didn’t have all the answers and know exactly how to meet your goal or develop your product.

Did you identify with any of the above? Wake up, you are holding yourself back with your perfectionism. Yes! You probably are a perfectionist. 

There’s a good reason so many of you are perfectionists.



As a child you made a Vow To Be Perfect because you think it is necessary for you to survive, feel safe and be loved. Because you were not getting your needs met and feared for your safety you created a strategy. If you are a “good girl/boy” and behave like people want you to behave, then you will get what you need and desire, feel safe and loved.

Here are some examples of childhood vows that created the perfectionist in you:

  • If I’m good enough and make them (parents/spouse/boss/friends….) happy then I will be happy.
  • If I become the nurturer and make people feel better, then I will feel safe because I am needed and loved for what I do for them.
  • If I am perfect, then my depressed, addicted, or physically ill parent will get better and  take care of me. I won’t be abandoned.
  • If I behave like a perfect angel/ good boy, then I will be worthy of love and good things in life
  • If I follow all the rules and don’t cause any problems, I won’t get physically/verbally/sexually abused by anyone
  • If follow all the rules, then I will go to heaven

We all have a little bit of perfectionism in us and that’s good because it helps you to strive to be your best self and create amazing results in your life. But it quickly gets in your way when your attention is always focused outward, concerned with what others will think of you if you’re not perfect.

When the vow to be perfect limits your purpose and passions from being expressed you need to manage your inner critic and redefine success.

Perfectionism at its extreme dis-empowers you and prevents you from being creative, innovative, and intuitive, and keeps you from being a risk taker and expand your ability to be of service (and live a wealthy life.) It keeps your life energy low and doesn’t benefit anyone, least of yourself. Trust yourself and that you will come up with solutions to whichever problem you might encounter. You will be surprised about how innovative you become after you take the first steps to creating something. The opportunities and people that come your way when you follow your intuition and just get started instead of having everything laid out perfectly before you begin will help you excel.


Here is how perfectionism limits you:

    • Perfectionism turns you into a  people-pleaser rather than a leader, team player, teacher, or innovator. Doing things to look good or make others feel good without any concern for yourself keeps you from being your authentic self.
    • You become less efficient. When you complete projects you keep looking for ways to improve it and never get done. It not only leads to a lot of unfinished products, but also to unhappiness because you are always left wanting more. You don’t feel accomplished and you spend way more time on a task than is required.
    • You procrastinate, as you wait for a “perfect” moment when you know “it will all work out.” Your desire to “perfect” everything makes you over-complicate everything with  the expectation of perfection that can never be meet. So you keep thinking about it and don’t take action until you have to. You don’t want to feel the pain of rejection, humiliation, disappointment or criticism that you expect should it not be perfect.
    • You become less effective. You do simple things because they seem like a “good addition” without consciously thinking whether they’re really necessary.  You do things that make you feel busy but don’t move the big picture towards completion. These busy distractions keep you from having to put yourself out there.
    • You become lost in the details and loose the bigger picture. Your world becomes what you are working on and not the vision.
    • You focus on potential problems rather than creating and setting yourself up for success and your goal.

Perfectionism becomes a problem when it turns into an obsession.



When you obsess over every detail, your vow to be perfect becomes neurotic and you refuse to accept anything less than perfect. In this process, you miss the whole point about life being a journey not a string of perfect results.  Federica Marchionni, the CEO of Land’s End said in the current issue of Marie Claire  “I’m always saying that perfection doesn’t exist. Excellence is good enough.” And she has a good point. Perfection doesn’t exist! But that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to do something well, to becomes amazing at something, to strive for excellence.
The answer isn’t to stop being a perfectionist. It’s to be conscious of your perfectionist tendencies and manage them accordingly. When you can see yourself holding back because you think you need to be perfect before you can take even the first step, you have created compassion for your inner-child‘s programming and redirected your awareness to the bigger picture and what is really important.

Here are 3 steps I take to override my vow to be perfect:

1. I strive for 80% completion, because I will never reach 100%.  I can always find something that can be better. It used to take me a couple of days writing an important email because it was never perfect! Now I trust my intuition about the topic and give myself a couple of hours at the most. 
2. I make sure I don’t take myself so seriously! This is so important! I stay very light-hearted and when I see my perfectionist thinking running back and forth between the past and the future I show compassion for myself and stop it. I get myself present in the moment and realize that in this moment there is no problem!
3. I do tapping to stop the fight/flight response I feel when the inner critic appears or I’m feeling unsafe.  (See video link below and use my guided tapping session)

(If you want to tap along this guided tapping session click on the link “TAPPING FOR PERFECTIONISM“)


It is not easy to let go of your deeply hidden habits to be perfect. You created them to feel safe and secure. To change your perfectionist thinking will require you to become conscious about your perfectionist thinking and notice where it is sabotaging and dis-empowering you. You have to become aware of the thoughts and habits and accept them while staying compassionate. Make it a habit to recognize thoughts that are critical of yourself or others. Notice when you are criticizing yourself or others or when you feel disappointed in yourself or someone else. Keep track of it in a journal. You are going to be amazed to see how often you have those self-defeating and ‘perfectionist’ thoughts and for what reasons. Realize what these thoughts and (in)actions are costing you. It is a very stressful way of being and thinking with no positive outcomes or celebrations.

If you have the tendency to criticize yourself and others or are often disappointed in yourself, call me for a complimentary DISCOVERY SESSION. Together we will explore what is limiting you and what next steps you can take to turn your life ON and reach your goals.  



I’d love to know if you had any Ah Has! or have comments or questions, so please continue the conversation below.

If you find this valuable, Please SHARE this with your friends and family

Loving you,



  1. Marilyn, I really enjoyed your article and found the “childhood perfectionism” information very interesting. What was sad, however, is that your article was riddled with grammatical, spelling and other errors which in my mind, really took away from the content of your article and it’s effectiveness. Please consider having it edited. Apart from that, great work! As you have probably already guessed, I am perfectionists you are writing about….

    • Oops! What I meant to say was “I am one of the perfectionists you are writing about”!! Sometimes you have to eat crow to make a point! And yes, I am definitely working on those “perfectionist tendencies” — it only took me a few minutes to write this email, hence my errors in the email above.

      • Go for it Mary! You’re very funny!

  2. I like setting a time limit on work. That helps kill the “p” word ;D

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