Facing the fear and anxiety of perfectionism

I am typical of my star sign, I am a Virgo and we are well known for our perfectionist, OCD tendencies.
Although this trait can have good qualities, such as doing the job right and well, what they don’t tell you is that the perfectionist streak causes an irrational fear of failing and anxiety.

Does anyone else think a body without a head is a tad disconcerting?

It’s strange because you know you CAN do what you set out to do but because you fear it isn’t going to be perfect, up to ones standards or others aren’t going to like it; you end up not doing it, sabotaging it or procrastinating (ie stuffing around doing other things) so you don’t ‘get around’ to doing what you were supposed to have been doing.

So inevitably, all of the things I need to do build up, then I’m overwhelmed, then comes the anxiety and eventually depression because I can’t cope with everything I need to do.

Well… Dah!

An example of my perfectionism causing issues in my life: I have had a dream of publishing an online magazine for the last 5 years. I have loved magazines from when I bought my first ‘Smash Hits” when I was eight years old and having had experience in marketing and e-commerce, I thought online media would be a perfect opportunity for me to start my dream.
I have been in the process of developing it for the last three year and now it is in the ‘beta’ stage or ‘prelaunch stage’, all I need to do is put up more article and it is ready to roll.
The last few weeks I have been somewhat frozen, I guess you could call it, from doing anything further on it. I have some fantastic writers and contributors for the site an eager to get going but something is holding me back.
I has everything to do with my perfectionism and those negative thoughts in my head. ‘What if people don’t like it?’, ‘Am I good enough writer for it?” “Can I really do this?”… the doubts and fears are holding me back.

Another fear I have is attending events (ie. networking or blogging events, launches etc), particularly events where I won’t know anyone. Again it’s the perfectionist in me ‘What if I’m not wearing the right thing?’ “What if they don’t like me?’ ‘What if I’m left there standing on my own like an awkward turtle and that makes me look like an idiot and then the brand won’t work with me?’ Gah!

This year the perfectionism has got to a stage where I make plans with friends and then cancel them because of the stupid doubts in my head ‘You haven’t finished all of your work!’, “All of the housework hasn’t been done!”, “You have nothing to wear and you look fat in everything!”…. I’ve started to call this ‘perfectionist guilt”… the guilt of not having done everything to perfection and if I leave the things I should be doing, it’s not good enough.

Perfectionist guilt also creeps up when I sit down to read a magazine and have a cuppa “You know you should be working or doing some housework, don’t you?”. It is beyond ridiculous!

They say the first step is recognising you have a problem, well yes I know I have a problem but how to deal with it is the issue.

I had an ‘a ha!’ moment while reading Mrs Woog from Woog’s World while reading her post titled “The Fat Chick with a Tranny/Trucker Voice. Aka… ME! I found myself nodding along with what she was saying. Although I don’t have a Tranny/Trucker voice, I am fat and have the same ‘friends’ in Mrs Self Doubt and Madame Anxiety. 

In a way, the post surprised me because I’ve always seen Mrs Woog as a confident, outgoing, all round cool chick, who has a lovely family, gorgeous house and holiday home, heaps of friends and an amazing career/ success. 

In some ways, I guess I used to be jealous of her successes and thought “Why can’t I have a life like that?”.  I hadn’t realised that Mrs Woog had the same doubts and anxieties that I had, yet she managed to fight them off and accomplish amazing things. Mrs Woog had said “F You” to her doubts and anxiety demons, had let go of the fear and gone out and did what she had to do. I really admire her for that and now, after reading that post I think “Hey, if Mrs Woog can have the same doubts & anxieties I do and has accomplished great things, I CAN get past my perfectionism, fear and anxiety and do great things too.” Even though she probably doesn’t realise it, Mrs Woog has given me the kick up the butt I needed.
If I want to succeed, I need to make myself do things…. no matter what those pesky negative voices in my head are saying!

You see a perfectionist views their own life as far from perfect. Even though I have a gorgeous house and car I love, three amazing boys, I get to work from home doing what I love to do, my fantastic family and friends and I have amazing support from my ex husband and best friend, Tim… I couldn’t see that, to others, my life is probably a perfect life. I am quite lucky and fortunate to have what I have and I should be happy and grateful for those things. 

Now I just need to get to work on what I need to do to go out and do the things I need to do to get to where I should be going…. 

So on the advice of Mrs Woog to me via Twitter, I will be starting off with “baby steps” to get to where I need to go…. wish me luck!


  • Dannie Wallace

    Awesome Post ! I agree and also had the same think and moment from that story by woogsie xxx You rock chook keep going <3

  • Mrs Woog

    Thanks for your kind mention. I just KNOW you can achieve plenty. Set little goals to start with. Much love to you and I look forward to seeing you fly xx

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