Scared of Screwing Up? Why Perfectionism is Holding You Back


Are you reluctant to start something new? Why do you think that is? My guess…you could be a perfectionist.

Steve Martin in "The Jerk." Photo Treatment: Oscar Ramos Orozco. From
Steve Martin in “The Jerk.” Photo Treatment: Oscar Ramos Orozco. From

There is one consistent fear that nearly 80% of my clients experience—the fear of failure. The fear that they will not be able to consistently make the necessary lifestyle changes it takes to work through the program successfully. While we all mess up from time to time, the mindset seems to be that making those changes is an all or nothing deal. When they mess up and take a wrong turn based on their structured plan to get healthy, they figure the whole day (or even week) is shot and there is no reason to stick to the plan anymore. They couldn’t be more wrong.

As referred to in Behance’s recent article Why You Should Give Yourself Permission to Screw Up, the author discusses two mindsets—the “Be-Good” and the “Get-Better.”


The “Be-Good” Mindset  

  • Focused on proving that they already have the ability and already know what they are doing
  • Much more likely to be a perfectionist
  • Commonly experience anxiety and frustration when new situations are encountered
  • Typically experience stress caused by the anxiety and frustration which causes performance levels to decrease
  • Work memory and high-brain function are disrupted because of the decrease in performance
  • Viewing minor setbacks as failures

Having a “Be-Good” mindset doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you; however, it is something that you should be aware of. It is very likely you could experience more mental and emotional stress, which makes you more likely to develop adrenal fatigue. Having the expectation that you should already know what you should be doing, or worse, you know what you should be doing and you get upset when you have trouble, makes recovery difficult.


A “Get-Better” Mindset

  • “Practically bullet-proof”
  • Tend to think in terms of learning and mastery
  • Accepting of mistakes
  • Less likely to experience stress in new situations
  • Embrace setbacks as stepping stones toward their ultimate goal
  • Consistent and motivated to keep practicing towards excellence

In terms of adrenal fatigue, those with a “Get-Better” mindset tend to take on the lifestyle changes necessary. They accept the fact that they will fall off the wagon from time to time and when they do, they will stand up, brush themselves off and get back on for the ride.

Suffering from adrenal fatigue affects your vision of the world and limits your ability to make good decisions. In moving forward with your recovery, don’t focus on being good; focus on getting better.


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