What all business owners should know about Atelophobia
What is Atelophobia?
Atelophobia is the fear of imperfection, fear of not being good enough. Also known as impostor syndrome. This comes up a lot in my line of work as a business coach and it manifests itself in lots of different ways *ahem, sometimes excuses* with my business owner clients; ‘It’s not the right time for me to get this done right now, I’m too busy with XY and Z,’ ‘That thing I’m putting together that will attract loads more clients; it’s not quite ready yet’ or ‘I just need to get more *insert any one of – confidence, money, time, knowledge, qualifications…’
This fear of imperfection can be debilitating to your business and your own personal development. It stops you from setting goals of any kind for fear of not reaching them and ‘failing’; it prevents you from really going after what you want and what you know you could achieve, but most of all it stops you from ever finishing projects or tasks you start – which in turn has a negative impact on your mindset and becomes a fully prophesying circle of inaction. You never gain the business development traction you know you could achieve. Many projects you once had huge enthusiasm for sit dormant in folders and in-trays at 80% complete.
In our fast paced environment, if we’re not moving forwards, we’re moving backwards. I once worked with a business owner, a coach actually, who suffered with this fear of imperfection. She put together some amazing new coaching programmes she just knew would attract the kind of clients she would love to work with and knew she could really help achieve massive, positive change. Once she’d done that she filed the beautifully prepared coaching programmes and filed them in her in-tray. Job done. She’d gone ahead and completed 80%. You never achieve results from things you don’t finish. Obvious, right?
Strategy to remove your doubts (and impostor syndrome)
I use many tools with the business owners I work with to help them move through the perfection paralysis. One strategy is to gauge your perception of the effort and results you achieve of tasks and projects you are involved in, as a percentage. Really think about what and how you deliver, review the results. Once you think and discuss this you may find you over-deliver – way above and beyond 100%. It will stop you feeling ‘not good enough’ or undervaluing yourself or allowing your clients to control your business more than you do.
Clare Whalley will be celebrating 10 years in business this year. She graduated with an International degree in English and Education and went into corporate life to pursue a career outside of teaching. Successfully passing a rigorous graduate scheme into a blue chip company; working in several positions across team management, customer service and sales roles. A working trip to India helped her decide to resign, retrain and set up her own coaching and training business.
Clare works with fellow business owners to help them create a business they love too. She uses strategies and tools which will help business owners get to the clients they love to work with, with more consistency and ease.