How to Overcome Perfectionist Fantasies and Tomorrow Timelines

When it comes to reading the words “perfectionist fantasies” my long experience has shown me that 2 responses normally happen. 

The nod, that somewhere in your stomach you know that this is something for you.  Or the “I’m curious” but it doesn’t land with you straight away.

So what are perfectionist fantasies?

Before we dive in here, let’s go back a stage to what is the problem with having perfectionist fantasies?  As such a perfectionist fantasy is a longed-for illusion that can keep you stuck in a negative benefit frustration cycle.

You believe that it is only your illusory perfect self who can accomplish goals, once perfection has been achieved.

Or you believe that only the perfect launch, perfect messaging, perfect USP, perfect copy, perfect audience build, perfect audience identification, perfect need qualify.. will lead to the results that you crave.

I have also seen this emerge with corporate clients and leadership coaching, whereby the client is:

  • Looking for the perfect position with the perfect benefits, in the perfect location
  • Looking for the perfect career trajectory within an organisation
  • Wanting to manage the perfect team
  • Wanting to attract the perfect talent

In essence, the perfectionist fantasy can be linked to:

  • Your whole life
  • A perceived perfection of one aspect of your life
  • As an entrepreneur to one element of your business
  • In your career, your role

The conclusion from the article so far could be a net positive from your perspective, all traits that help you create the legacy you desire.  Perfectionist fantasies can be self-motivating, a towards motivation to help you overcome challenges and achieve the success you crave.

So what are the negatives of having perfectionist fantasies?

When perfectionist fantasies have you living too much in the future and can become toxic.

Instead of a towards motivation, you are led by fear of not being perfect, and as such avoiding any activity that might result in something less than perfect or failure.

The motivational force becomes a negative orientation and a fixed mindset can set in, to only do those things of which you think that you will succeed at.

How do you know if you are setting perfectionist fantasies or big hairy goals?

  • You set unrealistic high expectations that are highly unlikely to be met
  • You are very quick to find why things are not perfect
  • You are overly critical of your performance compared to how you would speak to a friend
  • You procrastinate on projects or of fear if perfectionism isn’t guaranteed
  • You “foul off” or dismiss compliments
  • You forget to celebrate your success, even though you might mean to

Hands up if you nodded to one or more of the points above?

Ready to admit that you might be experiencing perfectionist fantasies?

Another way of identifying if you are creating a big hairy goal or a perfectionist fantasy is how it feels.

When you think about the goal you are looking to create, are you excited but also a bit nervous?  Or when you think about the goal does it feel a relief from your negative internal voice and delight at imagining yourself in your ideal future?  Are there any negative feelings?  If not when you think about the goal, it is probably perfectionist fantasy.

One last question to give you even more context.  

When it comes to knowing if you’ve achieved perfection, what is your frame of reference:

  1. Internal – you just know
  2. External – you check in with others to find out
  3. Balanced – both a and b equally
  4. Internal with an external check – you are pretty sure you just know, but do a little check externally.
  5. External with an internal check – you find out what others think first and then consider if you agree or disagree with the external findings.

Hint if you are b or e, then keep on reading.

Perfectionist Fantasies also manifest themselves in three domains.

Self-orientated perfectionism – imposing unrealistic desire to be perfect on oneself.

Other-orientated perfectionism – imposing unrealistic standards on others.

Socially-prescribed perfectionism – unrealistic expectations of perfection from others.

To reiterate perfectionism isn’t a binary issue, that is to say, that it isn’t good or bad.  Perfectionistic tendencies can be a strength especially when a details orientated person or tasks are being undertaken.

They become negative when they impact legacy creation.

What are tomorrow's timelines?

When we talk about legacy, we talk about those legacies from our past that come into the present day and then those legacies that we are seeking to create in the future.

The negative impact of perfectionist fantasies is that you live for a perfect future you in the tomorrow, rather than working with the present moment to create from where you are.

The timeline of your thinking is always in the tomorrow, because in that version of the future the perfect illusion is still whole. 

Most people who struggle with perfectionism and perfectionist fantasies can not live up to the ideal that they have created for themselves and others, so the present day is filled with disappointments.

These tendencies can show up in the following examples with clients;

  • Starting tomorrow with time blocking as today has run away as is not perfect
  • Starting again tomorrow as they forgot to do it that morning
  • Creating exercise plans that they will start tomorrow as that is all set for it to be perfect
  • Launching a mastermind/ course/ program tomorrow as it’s not perfect today to start it.
  • Starting a new habit and not doing it perfectly, and will start again tomorrow

In particular, I have noticed the “Monday principle” for many of these.  No matter where the client is in the week, if it hasn’t gone 100% perfectly, they will give up the entire rest of the week and start again on a Monday.

This cycle can be addictive to create a perceived illusion of perfection and constantly be disappointed that the illusion can’t be met.

Why is the tomorrow timeline damaging over time?

Firstly you lose integrity with yourself and your unconscious mind is logging all the attempts that you haven’t done perfectly. This results in the unconscious mind sabotaging and knowing you aren’t really going to do the thing you are fantasising about anyway.

Secondly, you can get lost in the planning of the perfectionist fantasy and stuck in the planning cycle, rather than ever taking inspired messy action and moving forward.

Thirdly the anticipation of the results of the fantasy often outweigh the results experienced in the present moment.   If you are dreaming of a 6 figure coaching business, and how you will be in that version of tomorrow, even having a £16,000 launch isn’t going to seem that exciting.

So how do we overcome perfectionist fantasies and tomorrow timelines?

You need to understand that right now you are out of integrity with yourself. You’ve set big goals and not achieved them, so now you don’t need a chance to pile onto your evidence that you can’t achieve what you want.

You need to start small and set smaller goals and minimum viable options, so you can set and achieve that which you desire to, otherwise, procrastination can set in.

You will start to create new muscle memory for success and goals, which isn’t based on illusion but reality.

An example with time blocking and calendars, don’t schedule your whole week within 10 minutes of everything.  Start my calendaring only 2 hours a day and actually do what’s in there no matter what.

The main focus on combatting your perfectionist fantasies is about consistency and the small wins.

When you’re ready to explore your legacysuccess, and impact on the world, here are ways to start the journey: 

Wielding Legacy – weekly audio insights from Laura to help you build a legacy for yourself and your family.

If you are looking to create a hugely impactful legacy, my one-to-one success coaching will change everything. Contact me to arrange a call to discuss how I can help you.  


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