Introverts and Perfectionism

spiders web - introverts & perfectionism

Prompted by a discussion in The Quiet Entrepreneur community, about Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection“, I’ve been wondering whether perfectionism might be one of the biggest challenges for introverts, and whether it’s one of the main reasons why we find it so hard to promote ourselves and our businesses.

That’s not to say that extroverts can’t also be perfectionists. But when introverts are being told all the time that our behaviour is in some way “wrong” or “unsociable”, it’s only natural that it might increase the tendency for us to question the validity of everything we do.

I’ve had to let go of being a perfectionist, recently, for the sake of my health – and simply to get stuff out of the door. But it’s not easy. I’m constantly worried that people might think my work isn’t good enough and ask for their money back!

When I was filming the videos for my latest e-course on video creation for introverts, I encountered more technical problems than I had done in the entire three years of filming to-camera videos previously. At one point, I started to wonder whether the Universe was trying to tell me something…

But I persevered. I re-recorded the videos that were out of focus, or where I looked uncomfortable (which was on quite a few, as I had a bad back at the time). And I decided to stop using my fancy new camera, which I hadn’t yet learned how to use, and to concentrate on filming videos with the kind of equipment I thought my clients would be using.

Even then, I had some technical problems – crackling on the sound track, caused by me moving my arms about as I talked. And I thought perhaps I should start filming them all over again.

But the problem with that is, you lose the spontaneity. In my opinion, that is the biggest problem with perfectionism. Sure, you might get a “perfect” product – but it lacks authenticity.

In this age of air-brushed images and CGI, it’s sometimes difficult to tell reality from fiction. And if you compare what you’re creating with that unreal world, then of course it’s going to look flawed and imperfect.

But that’s the point.

Life is flawed and imperfect. And if you’re not prepared to share your flawedness and imperfections with your community, then you’re doing them a disservice. Because you’re trying to pretend that you’re better than they are.

That’s why I decided to include some out-takes and early videos in my video creation course – just so that people can see how far I’ve come (even if it’s still not all that far!!), and can take comfort in knowing it’s possible to start off really badly and, with practice, get better.

Because, of course, you know that already.

Everything you are proficient at now, you have had to learn to do and practise until you became more competent at it. But if you’re anything like me, then you might have a desire to always start at the finishing line – to be super-competent at everything, even though you’re a beginner.

By tempering my perfectionism, I’m hoping to open a gateway to greater creativity, greater honesty and greater productivity. Watch this space…!

About the author Julia Barnickle - The Quiet EntrepreneurJulia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.

Follow Julia on Instagram | Youtube | Twitter | or on her website.

8 comments… add one
  • Janet

    Great post. I definitely think because we are already so self-conscious, we let perfectionism prevent us from giving are all. I’ll try not to be so hard on myself. :p

    • Thanks Janet. I’m glad you’re going to try not to be so hard on yourself! 🙂

  • Like Marla, the quote about being prepared to share your flawedness with your community is a key one for me.

    It’s something I aspire to, but still struggle with sometimes. Posts like this are excellent reminders that the struggle is definitely worth it!


    Tanja @ Conscious Introvert Success recently posted..Overcoming phone fear: wellness coach Charlotte (Shazza) Gonzalez’s storyMy Profile

    • Thanks Tanja. Yes, I struggle with it too, sometimes – it’s hard to admit we’re not perfect!! 🙂

  • Fabulous post Julia! And perfect for me in many ways – yes! I struggle with this too – the idea that I have to appear ‘all together’ or my Tribe won’t trust me to support them with their challenges. But I think you are so right – it’s *because* we are willing to show up in public ‘warts &all’ that we are so much more trustworthy than if we tried to pretend that everything is rosy all the time. I warm to writers and people who are willing to let me witness their vulnerability and I aspire to do the same myself. Bravo! And here’s to rising to the ongoing challenge of being who we really are – inspiring & empowering other to do the same. ( PS I am SO looking forward to learning with you on your video course – and for every little rustle or crinkle or out of focus snippet – I will smile a warm smile and say ‘yes’ … I can do this too! 🙂
    Ann Brown recently posted..3 Powerful Questions To Awaken Your Best Business SelfMy Profile

    • Thank you Anne! I’ve noticed you have been talking about vulnerability on your blog, recently – so bravo to you too! It’s been a real pleasure having you on the video creation course, and I look forward to seeing many more of your videos in the future. 🙂

  • “Life is flawed and imperfect. And if you’re not prepared to share your flawedness and imperfections with your community, then you’re doing them a disservice. Because you’re trying to pretend that you’re better than they are.”

    This quote jumped off the page for me Julia. As a coach and mentor, it’s something I find I always need to be aware of. I want to convey that I can be a trusted partner on a particular part of my clients’ journeys, and in trying to communicate that through blog and Facebook posts, I think there is a tendency to create the image that all is perfect – I’ve got it all figured out and my life is constantly blissful.

    Of course that’s not the case at all. Some days are better than others. Some parts of my life are feeling truer than others. I’m always questioning, learning, tweaking. Still, at the end of the day, I feel a sense of peacefulness.

    No matter who we are, authenticity requires vulnerability and courage. It’s about daily awareness and choice and it’s no easy task. We all need support along the way. And that’s ok.

    Thanks for the reminder…

    • Thank you Marla. I have fallen into that same trap myself, in the past – trying to create the image that all is perfect. After all, the thinking goes, why would anyone trust me to help them if my own life / business / whatever is in a mess?! But it’s exactly that mess that makes us more trustworthy – assuming that we’re not completely bogged down and overcome by it, but finding our way through it – because we can understand what others are going through and shine a light for them to help them find their own way.

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