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Feb. 23, 2023

198. How to Break the Success-Perfectionism Cycle

Generate more energy to impact others powerfully and earn abundantly by learning to fully appreciate, celebrate and enjoy your wins.

Generate more energy to impact others powerfully and earn abundantly by learning to fully appreciate, celebrate and enjoy your wins.


In this episode, you will learn how to:

  1. Focus on what's imperfect and find ways to improve instead of striving for perfection
  2. Create a consistent level of results and repeatable success in building a thriving business
  3. Set realistic goals and overcome the fear of failure in entrepreneurship


Key takeaways:

  • Success can become a trap if we begin to expect it from ourselves
  • Imperfectionism is looking for imperfections rather than perfection
  • Celebrating successes and being realistic is important
  • Focus on repeatable successes to build a long-term business



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Hey, it's Wade here. I want to talk to you about something ridiculously important for entrepreneurs and for any person who's ever experienced success. There is this thing that can happen where we get success and then we get an expectation that more success is coming and we get really hard on ourselves, we get really hard on the people around us, we get really hard on life. Our expectations go through the roof and all of a sudden what was really fun, what was enjoyable, isn't so enjoyable. This is the same phenomenon that happens with athletes or world class performers. They win a championship, they get a role, they get nominated for something, they win an award, and they're so excited, and then they get it. That's it. That's all there is. What's next? Okay, let's go again. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go. The difference is, the first time we're doing something, it's like the first time you fall in love with somebody and you don't know what to expect, and you're just excited if they give you back attention, if they're nice to you, if they talk to you, whatever it is, you're just like, This is awesome.


And then you get used to that, Well, this person likes me. So now, of course, they always like me, or They did something nice for you. Now, They always do something for you. And this is the thing we do to ourselves. And so this success of ours, this ability for us to create an outcome that we desire, can become a trap if it's something that we begin to expect to demand from ourselves. And even more so, it can become very monotonous. So what I would suggest to you is this idea of perfectionism. You might have heard this before, that another way to look at it is it's imperfectionism. And that's the idea of somebody saying, rather than me looking about what's perfect with what's going on, I'm going to find what's imperfect. So I'm going to call it perfectionism, but perfectionism would focus on what's perfect, right? So if there were 99 things right, a true perfectionist would say, 99 things are right. 99 things are perfect. That's 99 out of 100. That's awesome. But an imperfectionist will say, I found one. There's one. I know it's not big, but it's one, and I found it.


Let me tell you, it's almost like watching the news for the bad stuff that happens. I found this one thing that's so horrible. It's so unbelievable. The crazy thing about this is this can turn us away from what's working for our success. It can change our expectations. It can fatigue us. It can tire us out. It can turn us into our own worst boss. And so I want to suggest to you is that this is not something to necessarily just say, Well, if I did something great, I'm going to celebrate it for a year, and that's awesome. No, I'm going to suggest you look at your data. So for example, you might prepare 10 hours or 20 hours for some outcome, and you get that outcome. And let's say you prepared 20 hours for something, and I'll just throw out a number. Let's say you made $2,000. So that made you $100 an hour. And again, your math might be different. You might say, Wait, I would be excited if I worked 20 hours and made $20,000. Whatever it is. So you made a certain amount, and then you decide, Well, you know what? I only actually presented this in two hours.


So even though there's 18 other hours of other things I did, this next one, I'm going to shortcut it. I'm going to do it in two hours, and I'm going to expect the same $2,000 or $20,000, whatever the result is that I got before with 20 hours. And even more so, I'm going to assume that just because I did something successful once, that it's going to be successful again the next time. So again, I would suggest to you that this is so much about gratitude, being able to celebrate your successes, being able to be realistic. And no, that's not a bad word for entrepreneurs. Sometimes we need to be grounded. We need to build long term businesses off of successes that are repeatable. And we can still shoot for the moon. We can still go for those grand slam home runs. We can still go for those unbelievable, awesome product launches or whatever it might be. But we also want to have that steady income. We want to have those steady successes. We want to have those things that we know that they might not be as exciting, but they allow us to create a consistent level result.


And so we don't need perfectionism to grow our business. We don't need success in every single thing, because if we need that success every single time, if we need to have success with every single activity, all of a sudden we're going to become fearful. And that's one of the worst things we can do as an entrepreneur is to become irrationally fearful and scared of that next failure, that thing that we know we need to do, we don't know when it's coming, but we know every once in a while we're going to do something, and we're going to be so excited about it, and it's just going to bomb. It's not going to work. I'm encouraging you to really look at what you've done recently that's really successful, that's been awesome, or what you've done that's been a minor success, and look at how did you treat yourself after? Did you really celebrate your success? Did you give yourself time to enjoy it and to be present with it? Or did you become that ingrateful boss, that manager, that person, that supervisor that you might have even left corporate America or corporate jobs for because you said, Man, this person is just always on top of me.


No matter what I do, it's never good enough. Are you becoming that person to yourself? It's one of the quickest ways to steal your joy from your work. It's one of the quickest ways to get burnt out. It's also a quick way to start making foolish decisions, expecting that everything needs to be this raging success, and then starting to take bigger risks and bigger gambles on things that don't need to happen when the key to a steady business, a key to a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy family and friends and life outside of work and allows you to do the work you most enjoy, is that sometimes you're going to do work that's not the most exciting. Very often you're going to find, it might be a little hard to take, that the most consistent income work for you is not going to be as exciting for you. It might be fulfilling. It might feel really competent because you're so good at it because you've done it so many times. That's why you're so good. That's why you're so consistent. That's why you can charge so much, and that's why people come to you.


And some of the more exciting work is maybe not going to make you money, or it might make you a lot, or it might make you nothing. It might be a waste of time. So I hope this serves you to get a clearer sense of a realistic understanding of that relationship between success and really almost recovery from your success. There is this concept in Daoism that whether you are successful or not, don't take it too seriously. Some of the best athletes will tell you that. If you hit the shot, you go about no big deal. You don't hit the shot, no big deal. You don't get too high, you don't get too low. You celebrate your successes, but you don't define yourself by them. You celebrate your failures and you learn from them, but you don't define yourself by them. So hope this serves you. If you have any questions on this or any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them. As always, look forward to helping you impact more peopleand make more money in less time. Do what you do best with your work so you can fully enjoy your family, your friends, your freedom, and your life outside of work.


Thanks so much for listening.

Wade GaltProfile Photo

Wade Galt

Author, Podcast Host & 3-Day Weekend Coach for Entrepreneurs & Employees


With over 30 years of experience working with entrepreneurs, I teach fundamentally sound strategies to help people Make More Money… In Less Time… Doing What They Do Best.
• I help Employees, Entrepreneurs & Business Owners create a sustainable 3-Day Weekend lifestyle.
• Insurance Agency Owners follow my strategies for sales process implementation plus recruiting & accountability enforcement.
• I've been a successful software company founder and owner for over 20 years.

I help people connect with the divinity within, so they can
1. Receive Guidance and Support from the Divine to Create the Life They Most Desire
2. Love Themselves the Way the Divine Loves Us
3. Love Others the Way the Divine Loves Us

I've led retreats and personal growth workshops, authored numerous books on spirituality, personal growth, finance, parenting, business growth & more.

Pulling from 15 years' experience as a productive employee and over 15 years as a software company founder & owner, corporate consultant, sales process implementation coach, accountability expert, recruiter of superstar talent, provider of mental health counseling (psychology) services, life coach and 3-day weekend entrepreneur - I teach others to create the life they most desire personally & professionally.

As a former Fortune 50 corporation software project leader and sales & management trainer, I've been a lifestyle solopreneur since the year 2000.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Auburn University, a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, and have earned the CLU & CPCU professional insurance industry designations. I also successfully qualified to be a Certified Integrative (Life) Coach with the Ford Institute.


I enjoy 3-day weekends, Friday's at the beach playing volleyball with friends, + weekends with my family.

My family and I have enjoyed living ocean-side in North America and South America while creating books, software and coaching programs to help fellow entrepreneurs.

I live happily with my wife, children & dog.