How I stop letting perfectionism hold me back by Kim Argetsinger #perfectionistproblems

Hi friends, Wendy here! Welcome to the #perfectionistproblems interview series. My mission with The Gratefulist is to help creatives let go of their perfectionism and embrace their perfectly imperfect selves.

I’ve personally learned so much from other people's perfectionist stories and that’s why I’m sharing these stories in a weekly interview series on the blog, in the hope of helping you deal with your perfectionism. Reading about personal experiences is a powerful thing and I believe there’s so much you can learn from these stories and insights.

Today, I’m very grateful to share Kim Argetsinger from ‘s perfectionist story. Over to you Kim!

 How I stop letting perfectionism hold me back by Kim Argetsinger - With the #perfectionistproblems interview series it's my mission to help creatives let go of their perfectionism and embrace their perfectly imperfect selves through sharing real honest stories, insights, and experiences of dealing with perfectionism. Click through to read the entire interview. Plus, there's a free perfectionism-busting workbook!

In what way does perfectionism show up in your life?


Perfectionism shows up in my life in SO many ways, because I’m “aware” of my perfectionism, it’s gotten smart and sometimes shows up in sneaky ways!

For example, I was working on material for a workshop I was teaching recently. In the past, my perfectionism might have shown up as my not doing the workshop at all, because I’m not “perfectly” ready. Now it shows up as over-planning, over-rehearsing and over-prepping. I put a ridiculous amount of time into the prep of the workshop which was a direct result of the fear born of my perfectionism! I still did it, but I put undue pressure and parameters around myself. Of course, I wasn’t aware of it at the time!

Another way perfectionism shows up for me is in the work I share on social media, on my website, my blog, etc.  

In the past, perfectionism kept me from sharing my work at all! It took me a full year into my coaching to get over my perfectionism and fear and begin posting on social media. A year! Now it will still rear its head in that arena, but in a more subtle way - again as over-preparing and overthinking.


Why do you think perfectionism is such a dream killer?


Perfectionism stops us in every way. It stops us from starting; it stops us from trying new things; it keeps us from sharing our work; it keeps us stuck in a loop polishing the same piece of work again and again instead of putting it out there, learning, and moving on. It keeps us hiding. It keeps us from playing full out.

Perfectionism also creates procrastination, stagnation, and inaction because we think why bother if it can’t be perfect. Perfectionism eats away and our self-confidence and self-worth, two important ingredients in building our dreams. Perfectionism keeps us sitting on the sidelines of life as we wait for the perfect moment to start, except that perfect moment never comes…

I could go on and on here. Perfectionism really kills our dreams in every way. We may think perfectionism helps us achieve our dreams by giving us higher standards, but that’s a fallacy backed by research that shows perfectionists actually achieve less success.


How does perfectionism affect your soul and success, both in work and life?


Perfectionism is the voice of my inner mean girl, who is constantly pointing out the flaws and imperfections in the work I do, which crushes my soul. Perfectionism also gnaws at my self-image and confidence, which affects my success in both my personal life and business. Perfectionism has kept me up late at night worrying and from putting myself out there in the biggest way I can. Perfectionism also get me stuck in my head worrying about what other people think. It can become a very self-centered place of “me” instead of taking the focus off of myself and how I can help others, which keeps me from showing up as my best in my work and life!


What does embracing imperfection mean to you?


Embracing imperfect, to me, is vulnerability and authenticity. It’s accepting all the parts of us and our work and life for what they are, glorious, imperfect, messy works in progress.

Embracing imperfect, to me, is also shifting the focus off ourselves. It’s getting out of that ego-space and out of the place where we derive our sense of worth and value from the outside world. Embracing imperfection is self-love, it’s creating worth from the inside out.


What’s the single most important thing about perfectionism that’s holding you back?


That idea that we have to have it all perfectly figured out or know everything in advance is a side effect of perfectionism that can hold me back big time. I’ll catch myself and have a reality check because consciously I know this isn’t the way things work, but ooohhh, it can trip me up. It’s a reminder to lean into the uncertainty, and knowledge that there is beauty in imperfection. It’s in the space of imperfection that humanity lives and that we discover, learn, and grow.


Tips and tricks about dealing with perfectionism? Share them!


Yes! I wrote a blog post about this, but I’ll share a few of my tips from there.

  1. Look at people you admire. How are they perfectly imperfect? This isn't about comparing yourself or knocking others down. It's about seeing the beauty and humanity in imperfection.

  2. Remember the 80/20 principle: for many events, 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. Take that, perfection!

  3. Where are you driving yourself hard? Look for the places you are putting pressure on yourself to perform perfectly. Show yourself some compassion and accept your best instead.

  4. Take a cue from John Green, "I just give myself permission to suck...I find this hugely liberating." Give yourself permission to suck. While this may sound negative, in all sincerity, just giving myself permission to suck takes the pressure of off perfect.

I also had a friend the other day talk about the shitty first draft, which I believe comes from Brene Brown. Get the shitty first draft out and know you can always write another draft. I call this the “first pancake” because when I make Dutch pancakes (so good, by the way!), the first pancake is always crap because the heat isn’t just right. But I have to get that first pancake made to adjust the temperature accordingly so I get to the amazing second and third pancake. I think about not only giving myself permission to make the first crappy pancake, but how it is a necessity in making the rest!


Share a favorite quote or mantra that you use to remind yourself that who you are and what you do is good enough?


“I am enough.”

“I’m fucking awesome.” (Ha!)

This next one isn’t a mantra, but I like to remind myself that showing up is everything. It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about showing up and playing full out. I also like to remind myself that no one actually likes perfect, and waiting until anything is perfect serves no one. I can connect and do my work as a coach better through my imperfections and examples of them.

The Gratefulist Kim Argetsinger


Kim Argetsinger is a success + mindset coach who helps creative, ambitious high achievers define and create their version of success. Her compassionate style of coaching helps clients strengthen their mindset, get out of their own way, and create a personalized plan of action so they can play full out and bring their business and life to the next level. When Kim isn’t coaching you can find her getting her sweat on in a spin class, rocking out to country + rap, exploring Manhattan, or indulging in a glass of wine with loved ones.

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Wendy, again! Phew, that was SO powerful! Thank you, Kim, for sharing your story so courageously. Make sure to show Kim some love in any of the places linked above.

Are you inspired by Kim's story and ready to let go of your perfectionism? Make sure to download my FREE perfectionism-busting workbook. Just click the button below!