After my post yesterday on social media scaring people to the point where they are paralyzed, I began to think of ways to alleviate this pressure that many people seem to feel. In fact, I feel it myself sometimes. The other day, after feeling frustrated trying to update my own About page on my blog, I put this into the Twitersphere: Why is it I can write great copy for others but I get writers block for myself? I got a response back from @CristinaFugaru who told me: It’s the pressure of being awesome. And something clicked. That’s why I have trouble writing for myself, that’s why so many people are scared to dive into social media.
When you own your business, and your livelihood depends on other people being satisfied with your work, people tend to become perfectionists to the extreme. And anything we are not 100% confident we can master, we put on the backburner, until it disappears from our view completely.
In order to help you and me overcome the pressure of being awesome, I interviewed Dr. Jeff Sieracki, therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern, who specializes in helping his patients overcome anxiety. I hope they help.
1) Realize that everyone makes mistakes (you can’t possibly say or do everything correctly).
2) Think about the worst-case scenarios (ie, the consequences of the mistakes). For example, if some one is scared of meeting a new person because they don’t know the right thing to say, then what is the worse case scenario? That they say something stupid. All that means is someone who doesn’t know them thinks they may be nervous or not perfect, which really isn’t a big deal.
3) It expends unnecessary energy to be perfect (think about what it takes to get 100% on an exam vs. just getting an A – is it worth the extra energy?)
4) Remember that mistakes can be helpful tools to learn from.
5) Perfectionism comes from a good place, you want to do a good job on your work, but if you are not doing things because of a pressure for it to be perfect or if you are spending an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to get things just right, then you should do a cost-benefit analysis of whether the end outcome is going to be that much different than if you just gave 90-95%.
6) How do you know what perfect actually is? Especially in something as vague and newfangled as social media.
Thanks Dr. Sieracki for some wonderful tips to help me and others get over their fears and do what needs to be done.