The Marketers Club Podcast
How to Escape the Perfection Trap with Paul McCarthy.
Do you have a powerful dream or big goal you want to achieve? If you do that's awesome. The only question now is how's it going?

Are you making meaningful progress towards the goal or are you stuck in a perfection trap?

In this episode I share 5 sure-fire ways to break free of the inertia and start to build positive momentum towards the achievement of your goals and dreams.
#26 How to Escape the Perfection Trap
Five proven strategies to get you on the path to goal achievement
Episode #26 Running time 33:51
Show Notes:

00:00:00:11 - 00:01:36:19
Paul: This week I want to talk to you about dreams and I'm not talking about the type of dream you have when you close your eyes at night and fall asleep in bed. I'm talking about the big dreams the dreams of things you want to achieve with your life. Are you pursuing a goal or a dream right now. Have you got plans to really achieve something special with your life. Maybe your dream is to start a business to find the courage to step away from paid employment and to become an entrepreneur. For the first time maybe you've already made that leap and you've started a business and now you're trying to figure out how you can make it grow and grow it into a company that could employ hundreds of people. Maybe you've always dreamt of starting a charity and supporting and being in the service of others. Maybe you've always wanted to write a book start a podcast. What ever your dream is. Here's my question. How's it going. Are you making meaningful progress towards your big dreams. Or do you feel a little stuck stuck in what I would call the perfection trap. Now if you are feeling a little stuck if you are finding it hard to build any positive momentum then this week's episode is for you. I'm going to share with you a story a true story one that happened to me one that changed my life. I'm gonna share with you the lessons that I got from that experience because I think these five ideas can really help you to get moving in the direction of achieving your big dreams. So I'm going to share these ideas with you on how you can start to move in the direction that you want build positive momentum and really have the impact that you want to have on this world that we live in. But first let's cue the intro

00:01:52:15 - 00:02:06:21
Warick: Welcome to the marketers club podcast. The show all about helping you work smarter earn more and accelerate your success. And now here's your host Paul McCarthy.

00:02:07:29 - 00:03:01:23
Paul: So, hello and welcome to Episode 26 of the marketers club podcast. I am your host Paul McCarthy and I'm here to help you market your talent so you can earn what you're worth and ultimately make more of a difference in the world. Great to have you company again for another episode and this week we're going have a conversation about something that I think impacts a lot of business owners. I see a lot of entrepreneurs that I meet that I work with wrestling with this and perhaps you've found yourself in a similar place it's what I call the perfection trap. You know it's where you're busy getting ready to be ready. You know when you're when you're in a perfection trap you procrastinate you organise you prepare you plan you polish you practice what you don't do is take action you don't pull the trigger and get going on things.

00:03:04:05 - 00:05:01:14
Paul: No I've lived my life by a pretty simple philosophy. It's called Ready Fire Aim everybody who knows me knows me for my ready fire aim approach. You know I think that the world is filled with people aiming to do things and what we need are more people who are willing to fire. Now I first came across this Ready Fire Aim principle when I was reading about Sam Walton who was the founder of Wal-Mart in the United States a billionaire philanthropist and he lived by this Ready Fire Aim philosophy and it was kind of just inherent to me that it was the natural way of doing things and when I read about him and the incredible success that he'd had and how much money he'd been donating to people and the impact that he'd had I thought well if it's good enough for him it's good enough for a kid from West Heidelberg to apply this principle. So I've been living ready fire aim ever since. You know I really think that perfection is a trap it's a trap that stopped people from building momentum. And primarily it happens because people are afraid they're afraid of making mistakes or that ideas might fail. Here's my advice if you choose to turn off the podcast right now and this is the only thing you hear here's my advice for you fail faster. Stop waiting for things to be perfect they never will be. We gotta stop waiting and start moving. You know it's this fear of failure that holds us in place so often. Now I really believe you already possess every thing you need to get started. Now that doesn'tmean you possess everything you need to achieve whatever your dream or goal is but you definitely possess what's required to start moving in that direction because it's in the process of thinking that we've got to have all the answers that every i dotted and t crossed and have the answer to every scenario already worked out that really stops us from making any progress.

00:05:08:00 - 00:07:08:14
Paul: It freezes us in place and so I'm going to encourage you to really start to think about how you can be willing to fail faster to understand that it is part of the success journey. We know that the Chinese have an expression which when translated into English turns into failure is the mother of success. The reality is there is no success without a willingness to fail that we're going to make mistakes along the way. And if we're afraid of that then it really locks us into this perfection trap that's waiting for everything to be lined up and it simply doesn't work that way. You know so after coaching thousands of entrepreneurs find that the first obstacle that so many people have to overcome is their own limiting beliefs their their own beliefs that the difference between knowing something and doing something you know. And this is the reality. Got to start applying so we can figure out if something's going to work for us. Now remember I was watching many many years ago was watching an ABC TV special and it was about a guy who'd created a system called House rapping and basically the theory was that he bought houses in really rundown sort of areas neighborhoods the houses were in pretty shabby condition and he would tidy the houses up a little bit and then he would sell them to people who otherwise wouldn't get financing in any other way. And he'd do that at a slightly elevated sort of level of interest. He would make his money there make a little bit of money on the on the house that he'd bought and then after about a year or so these people would be in a position to refinance. So he set up this process and then he developed into a system where he started training and teaching other people how to do this house rapping so this ABC documentary basically follow his seminars his journey into the seminar world where he was teaching people this process.

00:07:09:18 - 00:08:41:11
Paul: And it followed and mapped the first 20 couples that signed up to do his program. Now I think it was a couple of grand and you went for a weekend then you got a big folder full of all of the processes and he taught people the mechanics of doing the house wrapping and interesting you know out of the 20 couples that did it. Only about three or four of them actually did a House wrap. Most of them thought about it planned around it considered it but they never executed. They never took the leap into doing it. And although the most classic part of the whole documentary was it got to the end of this uh this doco and one guy that they had been tracking one of the customers that had bought the system from him and done the training but never did a House wrap. And it was a year later. So full 12 months it passed and he hadn't done it. And he looked down the barrel the camera when he was asked. So are you going to do a house wrap do you think at any time. And he said actually this is other system that's just come onto the market I've just signed up for it and I think that's going to be the thing and I think this is the kind of cycle and circle that people get themselves in where they're looking for this magic bullet thing where there's going to be a system that's so proven that it's all the mistakes are taken out. But the reality is there's always a leap required. There's always a jump that we've got to make. And there is a chance that it could go wrong or that we will make a mistake in the process but that's how we learn.

00:08:42:13 - 00:09:51:15
Paul: But that's how we make progress. And if we allow this idea of it not being perfect and and being guaranteed to prevent us then we're never going to make the meaningful progress that we could with our ideas with our dreams and with our law. So I think it's really important that we get that that it's up to us to take that leap and I suspect that there are things right now things that you've been contemplating doing thinking about that you've been holding onto and you've been waiting and just kind of tidying something else up or just waiting for something else to drop first before you make that decision. Maybe it's this call that you need to make or the investment that you need to make. The thing you need to purchase but you've been holding off or maybe it's time just to leap and start to move towards what it is because it's through the process of taking action that we get the information the feedback and we can start to correct and improve and redirect our energies there. But when we're static and that's the hardest part of it if you've ever had a car break down. But the hardest part of getting a broken car moving is that first mom breaking the inertia getting some momentum going.

00:09:53:06 - 00:11:12:25
Paul: And that's really the same in our lives. We got to get some momentum going towards what it is that we want and if we just keep waiting then it's never going to come to us. So I told you at the top of the episode that I was gonna share a story with you. This is a true story from my own life one that truly shaped me as a person. The experience was an incredible one and it really shaped who I became as a result of going through this and I'll share with you the learnings that I took from that experience in the hope that they will bring value to you in terms of ways that you can tackle maybe some of the roadblocks and challenges that are stopping you from getting moving on your dreams and goals. So I've got to wind back about 30 years I'm back in the 90s I was living in the United States I was working in an American summer camp in Connecticut teaching kids how to play soccer and my girlfriend who is now my wife was based in New York studying acting and the way that American summer camps work you're there for a couple of months and each week you get one day off and I'd banked a couple of days together so I could have a weekend and travel down to New York to visit with my girlfriend. So a buddy from the camp dropped me to a local town in Connecticut and from there I was going to catch a bus to New York and visit with my girlfriend over the weekend.

00:11:13:12 - 00:12:43:15
Paul: So armed with my trusty Visa card I walked up to the window of the bus company and asked for a return ticket to New York place and the woman promptly told me that they don't accept credit cards. Now I had a check an advance on my wage from the camp and I asked. Any chance that they would cash that and of course they wouldn't. And I didn't have. I only had a few dollars in my pocket. Not nearly enough money to buy a bus ticket. So I was left with what I thought was the only option available to me. So I started to hitchhike. Now I should point out that I did this knowing that it is illegal to hitchhike on New York highways but I've never been very good with rules so I just went out what the hell am I going to do it anyway. So off I went says it at 8:00 in the morning and I start walking along the highway a little knapsack on my back I've got my guitar sort of strapped to my front and I'm strolling along playing some tunes singing all the songs. I was quite happy and just walking along now is about two hours of walking and about 10 a.m. when finally the first car pulled over to give me a ride and it was a guy called Dan and he'd been out of it sort of hippie character he'd been out early morning fishing and had an esky in the back seat car stank of fish and. But he was only able to give me a lift for a very short time as maybe in the calf. You know seven 10 minutes max before he needed to drop me off because he was going in a different direction and I found myself quickly back on the highway again walking.

00:12:45:01 - 00:13:45:04
Paul: So I walked for about another two two and a half hours. It's now about twelve thirty in the afternoon. It's the middle of summer. It's about thirty eight degrees outside. Sun beating down on me. I've played every song I know at least twice. I've got no water. I'm really starting to lose my attitude. And then in the distance I could see a sign that said Dinner and underneath was the word visa and I thought Well least I can get something to eat and drink and refresh myself. So I went into this diner freshened up had a bite got some water in my backpack and out I went again and I started walking again and I'd been walking for about another two hours and now I was really starting to lose my shit I was thinking this is insane. What was I thinking this is nuts. I mean I can't walk all the way to New York what am I going to do. And then I remembered back to a course a program that I'd taken when I was about 18 19 years old.

00:13:47:09 - 00:15:30:28
Paul: A program in the power of positive visualization a Canadian guy had travelled to Melbourne and down this course and I'd gone to this sort of two day course with a buddy of mine about creative visualization and as I I thought that popped into my mind about doing that course and I thought Well that's right and I'm thinking about this thing all wrong you know I'm thinking about it negatively. It's never going to work out I'm going to change the way I'm thinking I'm got to start to see people pulling over and giving me a ride. So from that moment I started a little mantra to myself and here's how it went. I said I'm a nice guy I won't hurt anyone I deserve a lift I'm a nice guy I won't hurt anyone I deserve a lift and I just kept repeating that to myself. I started walking and I kept closing my eyes momentarily making sure I didn't walk out into traffic but just picturing people pulling over and just repeating that mantra over and over in my mind and I gotta tell you this incredible thing happened from the moment that I started thinking like that from the moment that I started applying that mantra and picturing what it was that I wanted. I never walked for more than five minutes again. I had nine cars pull over to offer me a lift. Six of them going in the direction that I needed to go. I mean I had people making me sign saying you know Aussie going to New York. And you know when they dropped me off so that I would be able to hold that out right down to the very last car that picked me up. I was walking along and I was at the foot of what's called the Bronx expressway.

00:15:33:02 - 00:16:59:11
Paul: Now if you've never been to New York or if you don't know too much about the Bronx is it kind of pretty hard neighborhood. And I'm walking along this two lane highway where there's nothing kind of like a half line for for emergency brake and light and a full width line and I'm walking along and there are cars that have broken down there and the only thing left of these cars is the shell of the car. Everything else is gone. I thought Man I'm in trouble. I don't mean I don't even know which direction I'm going. So when I get to the Bronx marathon not back to the mansion nice guy one anyone deserve a lift. And I just started picturing that and all of a sudden the car flew in front of me and a door flung open and I dived into the car and it was this mail man that had finished a shift the guy called Jason and I dived into the car and we took off down the road and he turned to me and he said you know what. I've never picked up anyone on this road before but I just had a feeling you're a nice guy and you'd be all right. He dropped me near the foot of the Central Park so I could make it quite comfortably to my girlfriend's apartment but I got to tell you that experience forever changed me it changed me because it showed me that the power of my own thinking and the impact that that can have the effect that it has and whether you believe in kind of uh the fact that the universe kind of provides or whatever it is that's out there for us.

00:17:00:24 - 00:18:10:26
Paul: You know I know that that experience it happens to me and it truly changed me as a result of it. So let me share with you five ideas that came to me from that experience. Five things that I've continue to work at applying in my life and I think that if you apply these five strategies that maybe they can help you to break free of the inertia of a perfection trap and get you moving towards the achievement of your own dreams and goals. So the first lesson that came out of for me was as I stood there in Connecticut that morning at that. At that bus station and I was told not you can't take the bus I was really confronted by two options two real options I could call back my buddy from the camp who would have come and collected me and take me back and just let my girlfriend know that it wasn't going to happen or I could choose to do the thing that I did which was hitchhike. You know it reminds me of one of my favorite poems and it's the Robert Frost poem. You know two roads diverged in the woods and I chose the one less traveled by And that has made all of the difference.

00:18:11:25 - 00:19:59:22
Paul: You know I've always looked to try and take the less traveled path. I think that one of the things that stops us achieving our dreams and our goals is when we follow the crowd. We do the safe thing we do what everybody else would do. So when you know people are saying yeah well I'm gonna go home and relax in front of the TV maybe you instead you go and you do that little bit extra work you read a book you invest into yourself in a different way the road less traveled is the path to your dreams. It's not by following what everyone else is doing you've got to listen to your heart. You've got to really listen to your instincts that are telling you to back yourself to believe in yourself. You know when you're on purpose when you have a clarity of a mission and I had a destination hey let's face it you know the 20 year old guy that hadn't seen his girlfriend in a while I was highly motivated and I wanted to to get there and I wasn't gonna let something like this stop me. Not something seemed so small really get in my way and prevent me from getting to my destination and I think often we let these little road blocks these barriers get in our way and stop us from moving in the direction that we want to go. So I mean when you're on purpose you find this resilience you find the ability to rise to the challenge and it really increases your potential of success. It moves you with much greater power. So the first step in terms of breaking this perfection trap is you've got some clarity about the goal where are we going. And say that you feel so strongly committed that you're going to push past these barriers when they're thrown up they'll always be an easy out.

00:20:01:22 - 00:21:24:18
Paul: They'll always be an excuse a reason not to move but I'm going to encourage you to stop investing into the excuse and instead invest into the dream to say I'm gonna take this step and let's see where it goes. And certainly for me you know it was a really worthwhile experience because it taught me this invaluable lesson as well as getting me to my destination which is where I was hoping to go. Step two is that you know once you've chosen a path I mean you have to start moving you have to put one foot in front of the other. I mean if I had stood in Connecticut and sat on a bench or at the bus stop and just tried to create a really visualize people stopping and picking me up I suspect I'd still be standing there now. It requires more than just visualization it requires more than just a mantra in your mind. It requires action you must move purposely. It's that momentum that the movement in the direction that you want to go that starts getting you where you want. That's when you can get the the forces of creative visualization and the power of your mind really aligned to it. But if you stay stuck if you stay in that inertia I don't think you get the the impacts of that.

00:21:26:06 - 00:22:25:10
Paul: And so I think it's a combination of that rewiring of your mind and getting the creative visualization picture guy as well as moving in the direction that you intend to go. Bottom line is that any worthwhile goal anything that you want is going to require energy. It's gonna require work. Nobody's going to hand you anything and simply meditating on it or visualizing it isn't gonna manifest it into your life. It is about work is about putting the energy in and putting the movement into what it is that you want. So what is it for you. What's that thing you need to take a step towards that you're gonna take an action on and I'd say that you're going to take an action on it today that you're going to do that first step to and not make any more time slip past not allow that to happen but to have the courage to take that step in the direction that you want to go.

00:22:26:02 - 00:24:29:20
Paul: The third step is once you've decided to move once you've started stepping towards what it is that you want. You're invariably going to encounter some obstacles. There are going to be some challenges. And I think that the very first thing that happens when we encounter challenges in our lives is that we often resort to beating up the only asset that we've truly got and that's ourselves. So the third tip is that you have to remind yourself that you deserve to win that you deserve success in your life. You know as I was walking along you know those first more than four or five hours of walking you know I got to the place where I the really beating myself up I was really having these negative dialogue with myself telling myself what an idiot I was how stupid I was what was I thinking. And it wasn't until I changed that self talk where I started to talk more lovingly with myself and said Hang on a second let me change the way I'm thinking about this let me remind myself that I'm a nice guy that I'm not going to hurt anyone I deserve a lift. And when I started to think that way then magic started to happen and I see it a lot in entrepreneurs that I work with that they face some challenges some obstacles. The thing they've been pursuing the dream the activities they've been applying haven't been working and they start to lose faith in themselves I start to doubt themselves. I start to really talk to themselves in a way they wouldn't talk to anybody else. And I think what we all fall into this trap of getting in our heads and kind of having this negative dialogue and it's really unhelpful to us. I mean you have to be your own greatest cheerleader. You have to remain a believer in yourself and have faith in yourself and not allow the external experiences those moments that are creeping up on you to knock your confidence in yourself.

00:24:31:20 - 00:25:52:10
Paul: You do have what it takes and you have the ability to continue to grow and learn and become better. And the obstacles may be an indication of the need to do those things. But if we lose faith in ourselves and we start to allow our self talk to deteriorate and beat ourselves up then we are already doomed. So we really have to make sure that we're being kind to ourselves. No body has ever achieved anything meaningful in their lives without overcoming obstacles they've faced moments of self-doubt. I mean look at any movie and whether true or fictional that is really the story is always of a hero you know who is flawed. They are struggling they are doubting I mean you look at Luke Skywalker in Star Wars you know it wasn't sure if he had what it took to become a Jedi and he had to go through a whole journey to figure that out to come out the other side. You know James Campbell's the hero's journey shows that. But we have to start by maintaining some positive self talk with ourselves staying in our own corner even when everybody else is abandoning us. We've got to hold true hold the faith and believe in ourselves.

00:25:52:18 - 00:27:37:16
Paul: So the fourth lesson that I took from the experience and I guess the fourth principle for you to think applying to help you break out of any perfection trap you're in is that you've got to put your thumb out. And what I mean is obviously that you've got to learn how to ask for the help that you want. You know I think that sometimes we think that we've got to do everything by ourselves but people are willing to help you. And they certainly become increasingly more willing to help you when they know what mission you're on when they know what you are trying to achieve and you get really clear about that. And then you get really clear about the sort of help or assistance that you're looking for. You know I find that most people in life are pretty generous in that way. And that when you're clear that those opportunities and those people will come in to your life. But you have to be willing to ask them and you have to be really clear about what it is that you're asking them for. What is that. The God and so not every person is gonna be able to help you do everything. Some people are there to just give you a little tiny bit of advice. I mean in my you know hitchhiking experience. You know I had nine cars pull over and six of them were going in the direction that I needed to go. That means that three people were willing to help me but they weren't going in a direction that was helpful to me. So I just had to politely declined the offer. Some only could give me a ride for a very short distance. Others great distances. And that's how it is in life. We're going to get different types of help and different lengths of help from different people. But we've got to be willing to ask for it and we've got to be clear about what we're asking for.

00:27:39:20 - 00:29:46:13
Paul: I think that when we're not clear on where we're going then we're not clear on the sort of assistance that we need to help us progress our journey. So being clear is going to help you. So if you know somebody who's around you and I suspect you know that the key to this is that you want someone who's going in the direction you're going or even better has already been there before they know the why. So reaching out asking for a mentor to give you some guidance asking someone to share an insight about how they did something I think you'll find that when you start reaching out and asking very specific questions of people and whether they would be generous enough to share some insights and ideas assist you with things that these people start to arrive they are there a rancher and it's usually because we're not clear at what we want is why they're not clear on how they can help us but if we start to clarify our mission and know what assistance we need then we can start to pinpoint the people who have already walked the journey ahead of us who can provide us with the insights to take that next step and help us accelerate our journey. And the final lesson the final step is the reality that when opportunities come that you have to accept them you have to be willing to dive in. You know when you're hitchhiking and a car pulls over and a door swings open and you kind of you dive in there is an element of risk is a real element of risk there. And there could be a failure. And life is kind of the same. There's opportunities knock on your door and you have to have the courage to dive into them to see where they're going to lead them and if you are clear about your purpose if you are moving confidently in the direction that you're going if you remind yourself that success is something that you deserve to achieve and that you are doing the work and moving towards that you will have these opportunities arrive in your life there's nothing surer.

00:29:48:16 - 00:31:52:07
Paul: The only question is are you not seeing the opportunities because you're waiting for everything to be perfect before you move. No I think a life of regret is the life that I least want to have. I don't want to regret that I missed opportunities that I didn't take a chance that I didn't step into something for fear that it could go wrong. I've made lots of mistakes and living a ready fire aim life is certainly one that uh builds the resilience because you make errors along the way but I learn and I grow and I think I'm a better person for having gone through those experiences than I would have been if I had been sitting stationary preparing and planning and trying to organize so that I could execute a mission without fear of mistakes because I simply don't believe that that's possible. A guy called Tim Calloway a tennis coach put together a formula and his formula was p minus I equals EP and what it stood for was your potential minus the interference factors equals your end performance. The bottom line is that the performance that you have right now you're in performance now is nothing compared to your potential and the only difference between your potential and your end performance are the interference factors the things that you allow to stop you moving and fulfilling your true potential. The things that stop you that lock you into a perfection trap. So it's about eliminating these interference factors about having the courage to step up to the opportunities that are coming your way. So I hope that this episode has provided you with some inspiration to start moving towards what you know you truly capable of about moving towards your big dream or goal or at least starting to form that goal and dream and having the courage to start stepping towards it.

00:31:54:00 - 00:32:24:23
Paul: So remember the first step is to choose the road less traveled by. Don't be content to just follow along with what everyone else is doing listen to your heart. What is it that you feel like you're here. Do you really start to step towards your line 20 your special path to then take that first step. Start moving in the direction that you want to go. You can't just see it and visualize and hope with your fingers crossed. It's about moving in that direction you've got gotta have the courage to start when you start.

00:32:27:25 - 00:32:58:26
Make sure that you're kind to yourself along the road. Keep reminding yourself that it will be tough but you're a good person and that you deserve to get where you're going. Don't be afraid to ask people along the way for help people who have already traveled your path know it well and can advise you and help you accelerate your journey. And when those opportunities knock as they always do make sure that you're ready to open the door embrace them and see where they can take you.

00:33:00:03 - 00:33:29:10
So I wish you well on your journey over the course of this next week. And of course the much longer journey of your life. And I look forward to joining you again for another episode of the markets club podcast. Thanks again for listening. Thanks for sharing it with people in your world and inviting them onto this podcast. And it's a great pleasure to deliver it for you. And I look forward to bringing you another episode next week. So until we speak again I wish you nothing but the best of luck with your businesses.

00:33:31:00 - 00:33:33:07
But much more importantly with your lives.

00:33:33:12 - 00:33:34:17
Take care. Bye for now.

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