Inner Voice Academy April 2017: Overcoming Perfectionism

Online Academy Session Replay:


Inner Voice Academy Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown


These practices can be done at any time and in any order. Please reach out if you have any questions, especially if you are going through these on your own.


Start thinking about the difference between perfectionism and healthy achievement and self-improvement. As (recovering) perfectionists, how do we suss out the difference? How do we continue to grow and evolve without feeling like it has to look a certain way? What are the first steps for you to begin to distinguish between perfectionism and healthy self-improvement?


One thing I've realized about my own perfectionism is that it is not equal in all areas of my life.

For example, I am a terrible housekeeper and am totally fine with that. It doesn't bother me at all that my house isn't perfect, in fact, I love the "lived-in" feel of our home. 

I want you to begin to identify the areas where the perfectionist in you rises up the most and the areas where she doesn't seem to be at all. (Feel free to share's always so insightful to see it out in print!)

Journaling prompt:

Why am I totally fine with being imperfect in some areas of our lives, but not others? How can I use some of that “totally fine” energy in the areas that need support?


Think of an area of your life where perfectionism seems to run rampant (feel free to do this with more than one...). Create a two column list on a sheet of paper. In one column write the word "PERFECT" and in the other column write the word "GOOD."

The PERFECT column will remain empty...because there is no way to be perfect. Perfect is not a possibility.

Under the GOOD column create a list of all the ways you can be good at something. By the time you are done you should have a LOT of ways to be good at this area of your life.

Then sit with the fact that doing (or being) just one of those things in the good list means you are good at that thing. You don't have to do all of them, you only have to do one. Doing more than one is not going to make you more good, it's just a different form of good. Wracking up "points" in the good column will never equal perfect. 

All we ever have to do is be good enough, and the beautiful thing is that we already are. Doing more will never make us more good enough. And remember from our practice about healthy self-improvement, that doesn't mean we can want to grow and change, it is just doing it in a loving, self-caring way that makes all the difference.

Practice: (be gentle here...this one is a biggie...)

Journal through something you are ashamed of. 

  • What are your fears around if people found this out about you?
  • How does trying to hide this shame magnify the fear of “being found out?” 
  • In what ways does this shame hold you hostage?
  • How can you begin to see you don't have to be defined by this secret? 


Journal on these prompts:

  • What would life look like for you if you were able to let go of your need to be perfect?
  • How would your inner self talk shift? What possibilities would that open up for you?


We've talked a lot about how perfectionism can hold us back and keep us stuck, but there are some qualities of a perfectionist that help us. Tapping into those qualities and separating them out from perfectionism is something we can use to help push us forward without that need to be perfect.

So how has perfectionism helped you? What qualities do you have that you've applied to being perfect that you can now use to help you feel your worthiness and for healthy self-improvement?


As perfectionists, we hold ourselves to a very high standard and, subsequently, we hold others to that high standard as well.

For the next few days take notice of your patterns of judging and being critical of others. Often you will see that the very things you judge others for are the same things you feel you are not being perfect at.

How does this help? The realization that our judgement of others is really judgement of ourselves helps us to to see how our perfectionism keeps us from making strong connections with people and keeps us stuck in the way of thinking that everything must look "just so." Seeing yourself in your judgement helps us to see ways to love ourselves AND others more.


Describe a time (or more than one) in your life when your perfectionism kept you from truly enjoying yourself in what should have been a happy moment.


As a recovering perfectionist, what practice, tool or strategy do you need to make sure you have in place going forward? It can be more than one, but what do you know you NEED to be practicing on a daily basis, and how will you create some accountability around that?