Many entrepreneurs are multi-passionate individuals who always have lots of new ideas. It can be hard to focus on just one thing, like your startup, business, or project at hand. Sounds familiar?
In today's #AskAkua episode, Executive Leadership Coach Akua Nyame-Mensah answers a question she received via Twitter: How do I stop myself from seeing problems and coming up with new ideas while focusing on my startup?
This is an applicable question for any sector of business, whether you're a CEO, manager, or team leader. Learn how to recognize whether focusing on a problem serves you or if it's a symptom of overwhelm. You'll also learn the importance of managing your expectations and welcoming new ideas without letting them monopolize your attention.
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What's Covered in this Episode About Perfectionism
- Most entrepreneurs struggle with seeing problems and wanting to fix them.
- Remember: perfectionism is the enemy - a symptom of overwhelm.
- Humans are naturally negative, but it is sometimes just a habit that can be broken.
- It is important to recognize when things are going well and take time to celebrate and acknowledge your wins.
- Learn some strategies for changing your negative perspective into positive thinking.
- Many times our "problems" are a matter of perspective. Try reframing and ask yourself if focusing on this problem is serving you.
- Recognize that your ability to "stop seeing problems" may not stop, but how you talk or communicate about the issue can shift.
- If you have lots of ideas but want to focus, ask yourself, "Can I have many projects in development at once?" Everyone is different.
- Feeling overwhelmed with ideas? Write them down, keep a notebook or use Evernote or OneNote for easy access later.
- Be intentional about focusing only on the things that will help you attain your goals.
- Realistic expectations are important. Be aware you may be setting your sights too high for the energy and time you have.
- Look for external influences that could be hindering your ability to build better habits. (E.g., are you getting enough rest?)
Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations
- "Perfectionism is your enemy." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
- "Recognising that naturally as human beings, right, we have things that we sometimes have to overcome and work through." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
Mentioned in #AskAkua - How Do I Stop Myself From Seeing Problems and Coming Up With New Ideas While I Focus on My Start up?
Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast
Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.
Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive.
Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit. Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.
Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:
Here’s the transcript for episode 65 about Perfectionism
NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time, and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that, think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this hashtag ask Akua episode of the open door conversations podcast really excited about today's question because it actually comes from a tweet. So somebody tagged me in a tweet. And the question was, how do I stop myself from seeing problems and coming up with new ideas while I focus on my startup, and you can probably replace startup with my business with my current position. And my department, you can replace it really with whatever you want. And I think that this is such a great question. So if this is something that resonates, this is something that you struggle with, please keep listening. So as I mentioned before, this is something that I was tagged in. And so the initial response that I gave, because as I mentioned before, this was a tweet was that I think most entrepreneurial minded humans have those challenges. Alright, I know I can't see you, but raise your hands, drop a like, reach out. And let me know if that's something that you struggle with. From my perspective, I sort of see it as being multi passionate, I'm having lots of interest. Other people might see it more, as you know, the shiny object syndrome, I think is what they call it, where you're sort of running to one thing running to another thing, imagine or picture a dog, you know, running after a squirrel and then seeing another sort of creature and then like jumping after it. For some people, that might be how they visualise it. But overall, I think that a lot of people that are interested in solving problems, doing entrepreneurial things, they are constantly seeing challenges as opportunities. They're constantly seeing opportunities in general. And I know I'm personally someone that constantly sees opportunities. And that's one of the reasons why I have a career, right, I've built a business that's quite project based, because it allows me to do lots of different things, and to do lots of things that I am somewhat good at. I mean, some might say, I'm not an expert in all of it. But it does allow me to do things and allows me to show up and be excited. So part of it's also just knowing what works best for you and recognising that you don't have to fit yourself in a box. But it is important that if you're aware of the fact that you tend to show up in a way where it might come across scattered. So there's a part of this where you have to ask yourself, like, is it more of the perception of being scattered? that's bothering me? Where do I feel like I'm not following through on things? And if you're not following through on things, how can you build systems? How can you bring people on to complement you to help you get to that end goal, right? So just recognising that not all of us are necessarily meant to establish something or found something, grow it and then extend it right? Leaders, a lot of times work on different parts of those businesses and in businesses at different parts of its lifecycle. Right? That's why we have serial entrepreneurs, people just like the start stuff, and then they'll bring in a management team. And that's fine. I feel like I've kind of gone off on a tangent, but let me read out this entire tweet response first, and then we'll get back into it. So my response was, I think most entrepreneurial minded humans have those challenges. Perfectionism is your enemy. Ask yourself if bringing up the problem is useful, and push yourself to start with the positive first, as for the ideas, keep track of them. So there's a lot in this tweets, unfortunately, right when you tweet you are only given a certain amount of space. So I wanted to break this down a little bit more. So this first element that I talked about here in terms of perfectionism, sort of being your enemy, when I work with my clients, and when I think about the, you know, leaders, I've supported the typical way, I described that as sort of overwhelmed. So feeling like things have to look a certain way be a certain way, you have to be a certain way in order to succeed. And a lot of times, those are just stories we tell ourselves that aren't very constructive, and make it very difficult for us to move forward. My version of overwhelm is not necessarily that something has to be perfect or look perfect, but that I have to use all the resources engaged with all the peoples, right, it's more of an analysis paralysis element for others, once again, rather than perfectionism, it might be more of that people pleasing element as in, everyone has to be in agreement. And that's not possible, it's actually impossible to have everyone on the same page. Before moving things forward. The idea is to try and get everyone as aligned as possible. But because all of us have different interests, different incentives, different reasons why we do things, it's it's more important that everyone's informed that everyone feels included, and can see how whatever's happening is aligned with whatever is interesting to them. Alright, so that's the first bit recognising that naturally as human beings, right, we have things that we sometimes have to overcome and work through. And I think for a lot of people, once again, that are very innovative, that are trying new things, they might feel like in order to put themselves out there or put their product out there, it has to be a certain way, right? And usually it doesn't, you just need to put something out there and get that feedback so you can improve it or pivot. All right. The second part I talk about here is ask yourself, if bringing up that problem is useful. I hear this a lot, especially from founders who find that they're constantly troubleshooting. And so they can only really see the negative side of things, I was actually having a conversation with someone and he was really, really struggling because he felt like he was constantly being negative, he didn't want to be negative. It was simply just a habit, right? At the end of the day, this individual had built a habit of seeing the problems and challenges, right? And so what he needs to do instead, or what any of you who have this challenge, or feel like you have this challenge need to do instead is build up a new habit to replace it. So what can you do intentionally to focus on what's going well, right, both in your own head and engage that you know, engage with others, right? So recognising that if you're on a team, and you constantly are just talking about the negative, negative, negative, you maybe assume that everyone sees the positive. The reality is that I think, and I think research shows this is that most humans are actually quite negative and will focus on the negative, right? You can say a million nice things about someone. But if you say one negative thing, they're probably going to focus on that one negative thing, right? I know, that's also something that I struggle with, and something I think about a lot. So it's really important to emphasise to make sure that you acknowledge what's going well, and what you need to continue doing. Right. And so it's really about building those habits. So whether it's about intentionally starting a conversation with some things that are going well, right, whether it's really building a culture of celebrating and acknowledging, right, and asking people how they want to be celebrated and acknowledged, right? And doing that for yourself, right. So for me, for example, when I start off the day, I make sure that I write down my wins, I talk about what I'm grateful for, right, I talk about what went well, that's a really helpful way for me to sort of recalibrate, what I feel is sometimes a negative bias, right? This ability that I have to really focus on what's not going well, what I could do better, the things I'm disappointed in. So you need to build up a new habit to replace it. And just get very curious to ask yourself, if bringing up that challenge or that issue, or whatever you describe as potentially negative is useful. And recognising that a lot of things are also just very perspective base, what you perceive as potentially being negative might not be negative, right. And there's also a difference between like having data, potentially an information. And once again, how you use it, right, and how you talk about it. So really just recognising there's a lot of power, and giving yourself the opportunity to reframe things, and also telling yourself like, Hey, that's not an important thing to engage with right now, or that's an important thing to focus on right now. Or that's an important thing to communicate at this point in time. And this last bit right, to reinforce that focus on what's going well, and what you could do next, especially if you're someone who has lots of different ideas, but you also feel like you need to be able to quote unquote, focus. And I will say that focus looks different for different people. Because I mentioned before, I have the ability to work on lots of different projects at the same time and pretty much you know, get them all done on time and get pretty good results. That not might not be the way that everyone shows up. I will say that I mean, this might sound slightly controversial, I don't really multitask. But I can have a lot of things going on at the same time. But I'm not working on all the things at the same time. All right, I'm happy to break that down in another podcast episode a little bit more. But not everyone can do that. Not everyone should do that. Not everyone enjoys doing that. So part of it's also just knowing you what works for you and what makes the most sense for you. But in terms of thinking about having lots of ideas, but wanting to be able to focus on maybe what you're doing now, I always recommend keeping track of those ideas. So for example, I have what I describe as a garage, I used to have it on Evernote. Now I have it on one notes. And in an upcoming conversation, I do talk about some of the tools that I use, or maybe it's come before this, I'm not sure. But I'll make sure I link that in the show notes. Because I also think that tools can help to support you focusing on what you need to focus on, right and not focusing on problems, but maybe problem solving and supporting others, so they can support you. tools can help you do that. All right. But the long and short of it is keep those ideas, right. If you're someone who likes to talk through them, you know, have voice notes, make sure that you title them right in a way where you can search them or come back to them. You can, as I mentioned before, have an Evernote or use OneNote. To keep track of them. I also have a running note on my phone. Well, I'll write down ideas that I have for things I can come back to especially in relation to my content, and putting together this podcast episode. So really just recognising that your ability to quote unquote, stop seeing problems doesn't necessarily stop. But the way in which you talk about it or communicate, it can shift and change, right. And maybe also your emotional connection and sort of how you you respond to it, I think can also evolve. But it really starts with you being very, very curious, and very intentional about focusing on the things that are going to help you get closer to whatever your goals are. All right. And just the last bit that I wanted to share in relation to this because I do focus on supporting leaders a lot of times with, you know, their productivity, their execution, helping them think about their performance. But a huge part of this is around that expectation setting. And I think that for a lot of us leaders, we set too high of expectations for ourselves in relation to thinking about focus, and also in relation to thinking about where we're spending the majority of our time and energy. So really just recognising that there is a lot of power in setting expectations about how you want to show up how you actually want to think and checking in with yourself and others and using them as accountability partners to see how far you've gone. All right. So if this is something that you really want to work on, this is a new habit that you really want to build, you need to be intentional about the routines around this. And it really could be as simple as starting with getting the right amount of rest. And I'll make sure I link that in the show notes. Because I do think that there's a correlation to how you feel and how you tend to show up. We talk a lot about this in coaching where it's, you know, your thoughts, your feelings, lead to behaviours, which lead to ultimately your habits and routines. And so if you want to have better habits and routines, it's really important that you are in the right mental, physical and emotional state. And that starts with you getting enough rest, right. So it could also be that there are other things that are having an impact on your ability, right to rebuild, right your habits and to show up differently. So checking in with that can be really helpful as well. And as I mentioned before, setting those expectations and checking in with yourself and using others around you as accountability partners to also see how far you've come. Alright, so that's all I think I wanted to share and today's hashtag ask Akua episode, if you have a question or you tweet at me or you you know, reach out of the DMS, feel free to ask me a question. I may put together a podcast episode all about it. Maybe I'll even bring you on. I'll make sure I put all of my social media details so that way if you do want to reach out, I'm happy to support thank you so much for taking the time to listen, stay safe and stay safe. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you Stacy. You've been saying