Audrey Holst helps people reform their perfectionism so they can reclaim their agency and put their full energy into what really matters. Her work uses a combination of mindfulness and neuroscience tools and combines over a decade of experience teaching yoga with deep knowledge of the nervous system and extensive training and work as a Certified Professional Coach. Through her Fortitude & Flow® Process, Audrey guides individuals and groups through a holistic experience to shift the way they approach themselves and the things that matter to them – for good.
In this episode, Audrey and I share a conversation about how perfectionism can impact your brand – and Audrey has some tips on how to overcome it.
Trigger warning: In this episode we talk about bullying and the long term effects it can have – and I do get quite personal at one point. If you feel like that would trigger you or be uncomfortable to listen to, please skip this episode. And if you want to talk about these issues, my inbox is always open!
TL;DR: For those who want to connect with Audrey, you can find her here:
Right: on to the episode!
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then edited by me and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s most certainly not 100% accurate.
P: Welcome to the show, Audrey and thank you for joining me.
A: Thanks so much for having me. I’m super psyched for this conversation.
P: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for a while, ever since we first spoke, actually. And we’re going to be talking about perfectionism, which is something that I really have a love/hate relationship with, because on the one hand it helps me to produce my best work. But then, on the other hand, it’s holding me back from reaching my goals and, like I feel like either way, perfectionism is totally real. It’s something that most of us have to manage at some point, so I am super excited to hear your views on the topic. Of course, we’re going to be looking at this from a branding perspective. So just to start us off, how would you say that perfectionism can affect your brand?
A: So one of the things that I look at when it comes to perfectionism is it’s sort of all influencing quality on everything that one touches, right? So, you know, it’s like everything. Everything that we create is… you know it comes from us. So if we are embodying that perfectionism, if we are using those perfectionism behaviors – that is going to show up in the things around us. So when people are creating their brands, I think one of the things that really does a disservice to somebody using perfectionism in their brand is the lack of them, the lack of flavour, the lack of interest. It becomes very manufactured, this is what everybody else looks like… there’s no uniqueness. And it’s one of those things, like engaging with people…. I found that myself personally, and I think this is true for a lot of people, it’s like I want to engage with a person, I want to engage with a personality, I wanna engage with something that is talking back to me, right? And perfectionism deletes you from the conversation. It deletes the person with those perfections and behaviors from the conversation and puts in this like, you know, sort of “ideal” being that has absolutely nothing to say. You know, unique, interesting… And when it comes to brands, that’s the whole point, right? You want uniqueness, you want your unique perspective. You want your personality, you want who you are and your beliefs and the amazing things that you stand for to come through. And perfectionism completely eliminates that possibility.
P: I love that perspective. I think that as consumers… and our dream clients have become more aware in the recent years and feel that brands should have their own personalities, so to speak, and that they come to expect something more from a brand other than just being a commodity… you know… something product based or service based that they just go and buy. It’s more than a transaction. It’s more of an interaction so I really liked that perspective on things. I know when I started my business four and a half years ago, I was very much afraid to ruffle feathers and to come across as unprofessional. And I was really hung up on how I presented myself and like, how would people perceive me? And that I feel was really holding me back in the beginning, until I started doing things differently.
A: Absolutely. And I think that that’s a really common experience. I can totally relate to that. And I think it’s definitely a line that we all have to find our sort of own footing on. Um, you know, I’ve had a conversation with several people who are – especially, especially those of us in the coaching industry or people who are putting out thought leadership stuff – there is this kind of fine line to walk between being vulnerable, being honest and also like just being unprofessional. Or, you know, one of the things that I find that seems to happen a lot is this feeling of “Well, I have to have it all figured out”, right? Like, if I go through something, I’m gonna make sure that in that Instagram post, in that blog post, in that… whatever… that I gotta wrap it all up in a neat bow and say “This is what I went through, and then I figured it all out.” And this is how things are and you know what I mean? Like, there’s this very neat narrative that we are kind of expected to follow, which is not not always true. You know, it doesn’t always come out great on the other end. It doesn’t always have this lesson attached to it. So, I think starting to figure that out and realize that that’s part of the process of building a brand right, is those feelings that you just named of being a little bit scared, of being not sure, – because there is that sort of feeling your way into it. There’s the building of the experience. There is the building of relationships, and I think something that popped up as you were talking is this concept of permission. Like when your brand is infused with something that’s that’s more… I’ll just use the word substantial… more substantial than “ this is the pretty brand thing you’re supposed to do.” It gives people who are engaging with your brand permission to be more of themselves too. The things that we see, the things that we put out there perpetuate certain behaviors, certain standards – and by maybe not adhering to those shifting things. Honestly, we need a lot more of that.
P: We definitely do. And I think you’re really on to something there. I think there’s a bigger picture to this, and I think that we as brands, as entrepreneurs, have a responsibility as well. To not build any more of this perfectionism culture. I think that if we start to dare and show up, the more of us that show up and are not so worried about being perfect all the time, the easier it will become for those who follow. Does that make sense?
A: Yeah, 100%. And I think one of the things that’s important to talk about when it comes to perfectionism is… what is the standard that we’re trying to meet, right? Like if I’m trying to be perfect, there’s something that I’m looking at that I’m trying to look like, right? And a lot of those things that I found people tend to be trying to adhere to are often very white and very male. Very rooted in this sort of productive “go go go!” capitalism model. So if that’s what you want to be aligned with, then by all means keep on that perfectionism path. But if your beliefs… and I believe that if people are listening to you and following you, that’s not the path they wanna be walking down. They want to be creating a different path for themselves and for the people that engage with them. Time to turn away from that and start and start looking at something else.
P: And also, when you look up to someone and you look at someone to be your muse, that you really admire. I think there’s a tendency to forget that you’re not seeing the whole picture. You’re not seeing everything that they do in the background. You’re just seeing the final results. You’re seeing what they are putting out there. You’re seeing what they want you to see, and not taking into consideration all the hard work and all the failures, and all the half arsed projects that came before.
A: Oh yes, 100%. And that’s why I think it’s nice to have these conversations where people are… I know that it’s helpful for me, the way that I work, when I hear people’s stories and they’re sort of progressions and not neat and tidy. And when they’re when they’re like “this is kind of the thing that I did, and it didn’t really work for a while.” Neat narratives are not helpful to me. I don’t want to hear the smooth story. I wanna have a conversation, and I want to know about the things that didn’t work, and how people overcame those … because that’s what I relate to. You know, I don’t go through life, everything going smoothly and wonderfully… When I hit a hiccup, you know, sometimes it makes me be like “Oh my gosh, it’s over.” You know, it’s like “No, this is just a part of it” – and to normalize that.
P: Yeah, I think that’s really important. I think you and I and all of the other small business owners. Everyone can really take that power back by just daring to let go of perfectionism. I’ve mentioned this before in another episode, but I put off this podcast for at least two years, possibly three, because I wanted it to be so perfect. And it was only last year that I realized that if I wait for it to be perfect, it’s not going to happen. Like, ever. And when I became aware of that, that’s when I also started to think that well, if I was having those thoughts and if I was putting things off because it wasn’t perfect – how many other people are there out there with the exact same feelings, and what can I do to help them overcome their perfectionism? And really, the only way I could think of to do that was to just show them that I could do it. It didn’t have to be perfect. I could just get it out there.
A: Yeah, yeah, definitely. One of the things about perfectionism that is so tricky is it’s essentially a survival mechanism, right? It’s this behavior that we’ve learned and that’s been reinforced in us from the beginning of time. And so we feel like if I do it perfectly, I’m going to be able to basically avoid any sort of conflict, avoid any sort of pain. You know… I’m going to be able to belong to the group. It’s this false narrative that we have going on in our brains and our bodies; perfectionism is the thing I need to do to survive, to belong… And it’s constantly reinforced by other things, right? It’s like… the standards, the media, the way people look, the way people speak… all of these sort of things. They’re constantly reinforced. If you don’t do it this way, you’re gonna be somehow the outcast. And it is important, I wanted to mention that you know, there’s a lot of talk about doing things your way and being individual and all that sort of stuff. But there is a really biological component to belonging, like it’s actually wired into us as human beings. So when people get upset or frustrated with themselves for being like “Well, I don’t know why I can’t just say screw it and just go for it!” Well, you have an actual biological wiring in you that is scared of breaking away from the group, because it feels like that’s risky. So I think one of the things that’s been so helpful for me is knowing people like you, the people who are in the same sort of soup as you. Right? Be with the people who are interested in doing things differently. But do it in a collective, be supported, have people who have your back. So when you start taking these scary steps and you’re like “I’m pretty sure that if I do this thing, everybody’s gonna hate me and nobody’s gonna like anything” they’ll literally say to you “Yeah, no. That’s not the reality.” One of the one of the sayings that I love so much is this concept that “it is real, but it’s not the truth”, meaning the feelings you have, the thoughts you have, the fears you have… They’re all real. They exist, like don’t downplay them. They’re actually in your body, in your mind, in your system. But just because they exist within you doesn’t mean that they are true. And that’s one of the things that I use with my clients: noticing and starting to discern the difference between “Okay, just because I’m feeling this particular thing does not mean that this thing over here is the truth or the result that’s gonna happen just because my brain thinks that’s what’s gonna happen.”
P: I’ve been looking at my own thought patterns and trying to analyze why it is… because I am a perfectionist. I have been for a very long time, ever since childhood, really. And I’ve been trying to have a think about what I think might have influenced me to become a perfectionist, or to become trapped in perfectionism, in certain aspects of my life. And this is where I get a bit personal, so you’ll have to excuse that. But I’m thinking most listeners can handle this. When I was a young child, right from I was about five up until I was about 15… so for 10 years, I was severely bullied in school. And so this fear of being mocked, this fear of being laughed at, of people thinking I’m stupid, of people literally just mocking me, has followed me since I was about five years old. That’s some powerful shit; that’s a long time for a child to sort of be in that situation. So it’s no wonder it stayed with me. But another thing that it impacted, I think, is… I’m not a doctor, so I’m not going to diagnose myself, but I’m sure most people have heard of the term selective mutism. I was for a very long time, really, really scared of speaking English. I’m half English, half Norwegian. Grew up in Norway with a British dad and a Norwegian mom – and for so many years, right up until my very young adulthood, I refused to speak English in front of people. I could speak it in front of kids, not in front of adults, not even my own grandparents, aunties, uncles. No. I was just gesturing and trying to make myself understood without using language – because I wanted it to be perfect. I did not want to speak English out loud until I knew it was perfect. That’s something I’ve only just recently come to realize was tied back into those fears of being mocked. And I think I can also relate it to… I have a fear of driving, which became progressively worse as I put off learning how to drive. It became this huge thing in my head, because this is this thing that most people, most adult people know how to do, and I don’t know how to do it. And what if I do it wrong? What if I’m crap at driving a car? And this obviously has nothing to do with branding at all. It’s just to show how deeply ingrained perfectionism can be in us, and how things we experience in our lives can make us become trapped in that perfectionism somehow.
A: Totally, totally.
P: And that that was a novel.
A: Yeah, but thank you for sharing that. And first of all, I’m sorry you went through that because I also went through my own bullying phase. I was bullied, also as when I was younger. And everything you just said, it’s so relatable to me, even though I haven’t gone through the same situations as a lot of the stuff you’re talking about in the same way, I could relate to similar situations that I’ve gone through myself, and then it affected me in the same ways. And I think that’s so important to talk about, because there is a lot of talk of, you know, there’s a certain tone that some people take – and everybody’s an individual, right? So everybody has a different way into things – but there’s a certain tone that has never worked for me. And that’s the sort of push through the field of fear and do it anyway. And this one’s the worst: “If you know if it really matters to you, then you would do it.” That sort of stuff is so messed up, and so not taking a person into consideration, right? This is why I have some issues, and we can talk about this later too, around mindset and the way people talk about these sort of things. But I think what’s really important and what you said to, especially for listeners and for people who are trying to develop their own brand and develop their own voice, is: the fear of the thing is worse than the thing itself. And just like you said, the longer (and hey, I 100% am this person too, I could totally relate to)… the longer you put the thing off, the bigger it becomes in your mind’s eye, the bigger the obstacle. All of a sudden it becomes blown up out of proportion. And then when you actually get to the thing itself, it’s like “Oh. Okay, this was hard, but it wasn’t the monstrosity that I had made it out to be in my mind.” And so thank you for sharing that because I think they’re gonna be so many people listening to this. They’re like “Oh yeah, I get that. I can relate to it.”
P: I feel like I just have to say that I don’t want anybody to pity me because I was bullied when I was younger and that it still lingers. But I feel like it’s actually helped me in other ways. So in some ways it’s held me back, but in other ways… like… I’m a really empath, so I can really, like, get into other people’s feelings and I can sense almost how they feel, what they’re thinking – and that’s helped me in my line of work so I can empathise with people when they’ve gone through hard things. And so that’s something that I then carry through into my brand, which has helped me strengthen my brand. Because, you know, I truly care about the people that I serve and I want that to shine through.
A: Totally, totally. I don’t think there’s any… obviously I would never wish it upon anybody, right? I would never say like “Well, you know, it was terrible, awful things that happened to you, but they made you stronger.” I would never say that to anybody. And I agree with you when I reflect on my own skill set and the things that I am really gifted at. A lot of that, I think, did come out of hard experiences and being able to really understand the embodiment. Because that’s what a lot of this perfectionism work I do… it’s around the sort of physicality and the and the nervous system and all that sort of stuff. Like how we actually experience these things in our bodies and being able to relate to that feeling, which is really, you know, what helps us relate to other people is being able to feel what it’s like to to be in connection with somebody else or to go through an experience. And I think that a lot of that… with brands it’s how does somebody feel in relation to your brand? How does somebody feel when they interact with you and your brand?
P: And branding is all about feelings? It’s all about that emotional connection. I mean, we can forget about the logo, that’s just something to, you know, make you recognisable. But the core of your brand is more of like, how are you going to communicate to your audience in a way that touches them emotionally?
A: Yeah, totally.
P: And with branding and relating all this into branding, I think it’s like we’re all striving to be like the cool kids. But then, in reality, what that does is it just makes us blend in when all we really want to do is to stand out. But standing out somehow feels a bit scary, so it feels safer to blend in… And then we’ve got the vicious circle going.
A: Yeah, and I think that’s why the community aspect is really important. You know, finding people that you… and community is… I know for myself when I first started, getting into this right community was kind of like a strong word where I was like “Well, I don’t know a bunch of people!” But it’s like just making one connection, right? If people are resonating with your message when they just start, you know, just following people on social media who are saying the things that you want to believe and are showing up in a way that that resonates with you. You know, I try to show up as… I have a lot of really beautiful headshots that I use in some of my branding. But when I show up in social media and that sort of stuff I really try to show up very often with no makeup, you know, just as is. Because that’s what I want to see more of in the world, right? And that’s my brand. My brand is you know… be the brand… anti perfectionism, right? Reforming perfectionism. It does not serve anybody if I’m showing up perfectly clothed and reading off a script all the time, that does not work. That is not the embodiment of the thing that I want to see more in the world.
P: I’ve experienced the exact same thing. In the last couple of years I’ve been very mindful of trying to manage my perfectionism, because I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. It’s always gonna be like a little voice in the back of my head saying “are you sure this is good enough?” But I want to manage it. And then the last couple of years, where I’ve been mindful about putting out more of the unpolished me, I’ve made so many connections with like minded people, you know, like yourself. And I find that once that snowball starts to roll, it rolls fast. And the amount of people I have in my network now, that think very much in the same lines around this, it’s mind blowing. And I love it.
A: It’s true, it’s true! And it’s like you start to find the people who know 500 other people, right? So it’s like if you’re if you connect to one person, then they’re like “Oh, you need to talk with so and so” and “Actually, I think you would really get along with so and so” – and all of a sudden there’s this sort of… because I think all of us understand the importance of being connected with the people who can be helpful and genuinely helpful. I mean, I am regularly just floored by the helpfulness and the generosity and the big heartedness of the people that I connect with. You know, it is really one of those things that I come back to over and over again, because it can be very scary out there in the world of business… and small business and personal brands and all of that sort of stuff. But when you’re talking to people as people, it’s less intimidating and you start to realise that actually, people are very generous and people do want to be helpful and they do want other people to thrive, right? Like that’s the whole thing. Like, let’s all be thriving businesses and we can all exist in the same marketplace and do well and support each other. That’s one of the things that I think that… there’s a couple of aspects I just wanna name that I’ve found to be very constant with perfectionism. And that’s the concept of control, comparison, competition and then conditional. And I use that, especially in terms of relationships, that we can only be liked by a person if we meet certain standards and do certain things. And so you know, these things are the things that really put a stranglehold on real connection, real relationships. And when you start to be able to let go of these, that’s when the real connections happen, and that’s when the real generosity happens.
P: And that’s what can open up new opportunities for your brand. Especially if you’re a personal brand. It might be a little bit different for the big multinational corporations out there, although I still feel that there is room for this discussion within that context as well. I think most of my listeners are small business owners and they’re building their brands one brick at a time, and they’re building solid brands. And I think to take this perspective is really gonna help with building strong, genuine brands that people connect with – and not just some kind of perfect image of something that’s not even close to reality. Because if something is fake and glossed over, people will know.
A: Yes, and I think something that’s that’s really… I talk a lot about the concept of energy and how exhausting perfectionism is. And the same thing in relation to your brand… If you are creating something that is not aligned, then the amount of effort that you will need to use in order to like, basically keep up the charade… is astronomical. It’s a lot of effort to be constantly pretending or pushing against… or when you’re not able to just relax your body and just be who you are in your brand space. It’s a lot of energy drain, and there is so much energy that is needed to run a business, anyway… that if you’re wasting your energy on trying to pretend to have a brand or have a message or whatever, that’s not aligned with you – it’s just like one extra layer you do not need. That’s one of the things for me, at least in entrepreneurship, is trying to manage… I’ve got limited amounts of energy as a human being. I’ve got a limited amount of hours in a day. How do I use that time? How do I use that energy? And please do not put it towards faking your brand… like don’t do that. That’s just one thing that you do not need to be putting your effort into.
P: I so agree. So if say… (I’m raising my hand here) you’re a person prone to perfectionism, how can you turn that around? Do you think you can actually use it to your advantage? You know, instead of allowing it to hold you back and sort of eat you up, is it even possible do you think?
A: Yeah, I think that a lot of the things that you’ve talked about even, just the awareness of it. The starting point is just to be like “Hey, I’m noticing that there are certain behaviors, certain thoughts, certain things in my life that I’m interested in doing, feeling, having, experiencing… that I’m not able to access based on what’s going on right now.” Right, like that’s usually what it is like; people want to have an experience. People want to be doing things and they literally can’t get to it. It feels like a block that they’re unable to get to these things. So just being like “Okay, so the first thing is, there’s this perfectionism thing that I’m starting to notice about myself that seems to be holding me back from the stuff that really matters.” A lot of it is the stuff that really matters, because we don’t wanna mess those things up. So it’s like we’re almost more precious about the things that matter. And we almost engage less with them, which is kind of funny, right? So the number one thing that I teach people in the beginning of working together is just noticing. Not taking it personally, not analyzing it, not judging it – because that’s the other thing that perfectionism does; it makes you notice something, and you instantly address it. I call it the perfectionist two-step, which is you see, and you fix, you see, and you nail it, you see, and you get it right. There’s this very like, reactive way of dealing with the world. It’s either like you jump in full on, or you completely avoid it because you don’t wanna mess it up right? That it’s these two sort of like strange dynamics that happen. So just starting to, like notice… moving through the day – and a lot of it I relate back to our bodies because our bodies are informing our experiences; the way we feel about things when we feel resistance. We talked about having resistance to doing something. It’s usually not just a thought that says “You shouldn’t do that.” There’s actually a physical reaction associated with that thought in our bodies that is saying there is something here that feels like a threat, that is shutting our system down. So a lot of this is just starting to differentiate and separate these thoughts, these concepts, these stories… from our own physical reality experience. A lot of it is just starting to notice the reality of sitting at a desk looking at a notebook, as opposed to sitting at a desk looking at a notebook, riding the catastrophe train to all the terrible things that are gonna happen when you don’t write this blog post perfectly… you know what I mean? So that’s kind of a long explanation for your answer. But a lot of it is just slowing down and just starting to notice and starting to discern and then taking small and doable and experimental actions to address the things you wanna do.
P: I love that you bring forward the point that you know… this affects your body. These are physical responses. Because I know I keep going back to this, and hopefully noeone is being triggered by this episode. But for me, when I was growing up, I had serious digestive issues and nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. And it’s only in adulthood that I realised that “Hey, do you know what? When I’m feeling stressed about something, whatever it is… that comes back!” I guess that’s why they couldn’t figure out what it was, because it was a physical response to something that was happening in my brain.
A: Yes, yes.
P: Same for panic attacks. I could have panic attacks while driving. Thankfully, not for a long while now, but in the beginning. And then I knew that “You know what? This is my mind creating this fight or flight response in my body.” And then to have the power to connect that to that perfectionism aspect of it. It makes sense.
A: Yeah, total sense. And that’s you know, that’s the piece that I don’t think people… And this is why I have such an issue with just talking about mindset… Because my experience with mindset was me trying to wrestle my thoughts and failing miserably at it – and then feeling like there was something wrong with me, that I couldn’t wrestle my thoughts. When I started to realise that for me, how I function through the world, I’m a very kinesthetic person. I’m a very physical person. I’m very connected with the way that I’m feeling about things, or how I’m experiencing my physical self as I move through the world. And so when I started to understand “Okay, that’s so interesting…” right? Like, actually feeling that there are these sensations that come up in my body. There’s tightness. There’s restriction, there’s contraction. There’s all of these things. When I start to track like “Oh, these are actually sensations in my body”… because sometimes it goes right through to feeling, but often it goes from feeling to thought. I have this feeling, and now all of a sudden there’s this thought that pops up in relation to it, and now there’s a story, right? There’s this whole chain of events that happens, that if we just start to slow down – and again, everybody has their different way into this work. Some people will relate very strongly to relating to their thoughts and working that way. For me, it was just a huge failure. Did not work for me. It made me feel worse about myself. So that’s why a lot of the work that I do and my background is 16 years of movement, meditation, yoga. So that’s how I relate to this work; through the physicality of how I feel, how I move through the world and actually working from the bottom up because, as I mentioned before, that survival response, right? So if the body feels safe and if the body has all the physiological states to feel relaxed, the mind can also let go.
P: I really like that you have that neuroscience approach to everything as well, because I’m a very pragmatic person. I’m a skeptic and I’m very much… in my business and in my life I’m very much non-woo. I do sometimes feel like the entire online business world is all about mindset, manifesting… those kind of things, and I don’t feel at home in that space. I’m probably not the only one, and I’m not by any means dissing anyone who is into these things. But for me, that doesn’t work. And so having that scientific approach to it, it’s just so helpful to me… to be able to process what’s going on. And so much easier when there’s actually a physical reason behind things.
A: Totally. And you know, I’ve swung from all different sort of perspectives and a lot of the issues that I found in my earlier years with the yoga community was this concept of spiritual bypassing. Where it’s just like “Oh, no, no, no… it’s all love and light. It’s all good.” And it was a lot of avoiding and a lot of not dealing with reality and a lot of manifesting and all that sort of stuff. And I do think there are… you know, just even using what we know about the body and the nervous system, interacting with other people, how the brain works… I don’t think that that is stuff that we can completely write off, but the way that people use it in that particular way is not helpful. And it’s actually really harmful. Like I said, everybody is gonna find their way. I’ve gone from, you know, super super pragmatic. I’ve swung the direction into sort of like more esoteric stuff, and I have sort of a balanced approach to everything and what works for me now. But I think it is important for everybody to find… if something does not resonate with you, don’t keep pushing that boulder up the hill because there are so many other ways into getting what you want, what you need.
P: I feel like we could talk for hours and hours on this topic.
A: I do talk for hours and hours on this topic.
P: You might have to come back another time, then.
A: Totally. Hey, I’m down, down for more episodes!
P: Fantastic. So I was wondering, do you think that there are any tell-tale signs that people should be aware of, like… how do you know if it’s perfectionism they’re experiencing, or if it’s actually a real and valid concern that they should take into account?
A: Yeah, I mean… it’s such a tricky balance between what’s considered… This sort of gray area is like what’s considered something that you bring to like your therapist versus, what is something that you would work with like a coach with? That’s kind of the line that’s trying to be walked. Um… so I guess the way that I would approach it is figuring out the level of disruption that it’s causing in your life. So you know, telltale signs, things that I tend to notice, or common experiences that people tend to have, is feeling like they can’t say what they need. They can’t speak their full mind, so they’re constantly censoring themselves. So whether that’s speaking in conversation or editing emails three billion times before they hit send. So people who are in your space who are probably listening to this around building their brand… Editing, re editing, editing, re editing… three million times before they hit send. You know… recording your video five billion times before you can actually feel like it’s okay to be posted. Feeling like you have to show up exactly a certain way or you can’t do it. You know, I’ve got a zit today, so I mean… I by nature just do not have great skin. And, man, I have showed up some serious breakouts on Instagram. You know what? The world did not end and nobody cared! You know, these sort of things. Not being able to… one of the things that’s gonna help you be successful as a business owner and be successful as a brand is you have to be in front of people, right? So if this is something that you are not able to do on a regular basis (and it’s not necessarily because of some underlying condition – maybe you’re dealing with some chronic fatigue, or maybe you are going through some depression… or maybe there’s something that is keeping you from showing up that needs different modality to deal with) I think that’s one of the biggest things for people building a brand… feeling like they can’t do it until it’s right. That’s a very common thing. “Well, when I get this right that I can move on” or “I can’t do this until I do this, this and this” – and I think the experience of building a brand and the experience of being in business is this constant feeling of building the airplane as you’re flying it. It just never feels like anything is complete, and I think that it’s important for people to get to. You are never going to feel like you’ve gotten all the components perfect. If you are waiting for that, you are never going to go anywhere. Three quarters of the way built and you’re into it. And you’re like “Oh yeah, well… I’m still kind of working on this.” Hopefully that’s clear enough for people just to kind of have an idea of what they might be looking at.
P: Yeah, and I think then, as a business owner… maybe having a level that you define for yourself that, you know… “once I get to this point, I’m going to say it’s good enough.”
P: And knowing what that level is… that could potentially be very helpful for someone, because then they’ve got something that’s rational and logical. It’s like “Okay… well, I know that once I’ve done this, that’s good enough. And I don’t have to spend three more hours tweaking the letter A in that logo because nobody’s gonna notice.”
A: Yeah, and getting some feedback, right? And I’m always I’m gonna come back to this over and over again because this is the other thing that perfectionism does: perfectionism is very individualistic. It’s very DIY. It’s very “you’re a failure if you can’t figure this out yourself.” It’s very isolating. So I think it’s important to work with somebody like you with the branding for instance, somebody who could be like “Hey, listen, you do not need to tweak this 500 million times. This is great. I’m gonna be an objective somebody you trust that says “No, we’re good. Move on. Don’t waste more energy on it.” Because we do need that help from other people outside of us that are gonna be like… This is a story that I’ll share with your listeners that I think is relevant. There are so many times in my own business where I was like “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I’m not up to the task. I’m not the kind of person” right? “I’m not built for this.” And I had people that I would text and tell them this in my business circles and then be like “No, no, you don’t get to stop. This is not your time. You have so much to say. You have so much to do, you’re okay.” I would have conversations like that, like you have to keep going… and people would push me. I had people in my circle push me through. And if it wasn’t for those people in my circle that were like “You’re going to keep going, what you do matters” I would not be still doing what I’m doing. So I think that it’s really important to surround yourself, hire people that are really awesome, get into business circles that are really awesome… you know, connect with people that are really awesome. Follow them, have conversations with them, be with those people. And I know this is easier said than done, especially to people who are new to the business space. But, like… connect with me. I’m happy to connect with people and be in conversations. So between Petchy and me, you’ve got two people right now on your side! Connect with us. I probably just went off on a tangent there, but I just wanted to share that because this is the reality. And even in the last year I’ve had several conversations with different entrepreneurs who were like “You know, about every three months, I go through this cycle of do I want to still do this or do I want to go get a job somewhere where the stakes are lower? And I could have some more defined benefits and all that sort of stuff.” We all go through that.
P: Oh, yeah, we do.
A: Yeah. Yeah. And this is conversations with many people, you know, people who are successful in their businesses. So, you know, we’re just being honest about the path and that we continue to choose it anyway, because there’s something here that resonates with us, and because we are really passionate and believe in what we’re doing and what we have to offer.
P: I think it’s getting towards the time when we should be rounding off here. We’ve been chatting for quite a while, but before we do that, do you have one simple tip for our listeners? If they want to start to combat their perfectionism, something they could implement really easily, something they could do like right now – today even, if they wanted to. What would that be? What would be the first step?
A: Just notice. You know, even as you’re listening to this right now… just notice. You can look around you and just notice the room you’re in, realise the reality of your current environment. Just notice your feet on the ground or your butt in the chair. Just notice that you have this body that is moving through space. Just notice that you’re breathing and just constantly come back to that simplicity. And you know, our complicated brains think that the solution to everything has to be complicated. But sometimes it’s not. And so just starting to notice is a really, really important first step. Starting from scratch and reconnecting with what I call your unique operating system.
P: Well, that should be manageable for most people. Just start to notice. So if my listeners now want to connect with you and learn more from you, where is the best place for them to go and find you?
A: Well, I put out a regular regular email to my community. If you go to fortitudeandflow.com/podcastinterview, I have a series of noticing meditations. So that concept I just talked about, noticing, I have some recorded meditations that people can actually go through and have the experience of what it’s like to start to notice. So that’s a really good way to engage in the work that I do. And I’m mostly on Instagram, so @fortitudeandflow on Instagram is the best way to find me. I am on Facebook, but not that much. Really the best way to continuously engage and sort of see what I’m up to is just join the community, get in the circle, and I send out tips and tools and perspectives and services and all sorts of stuff to my community, through my emails on a regular basis.
P: Fantastic! For anyone who’s listening now; I really want to help other people combat their perfectionism. If there’s ever anything, just tag me on Instagram and, you know, ask for feedback, support, validation. Whatever it is that you need to get over that urgent sense of perfectionism there and then – just, you know, reach out!
A: Totally, totally and the same. You know, some people will say “jump into my DMs” – I mean that. If you’re listening right now and you’re like “I just need to ask a question” or something – you’ve got two people now, Petchy and m, that you could just jump into our DMs. Ask a question. Get a perspective and go live your best life, have your best brand, and have a successful business.
P: Fantastic. Thank you so much for a great conversation, Audrey!
A: Thanks so much for having me. This was so much fun.
I hope you all enjoyed that conversation with Audrey as much as I did!
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