Personal growth and self-improvement are so important in life and business. With growth comes pain, and it’s common to encounter roadblocks or other challenges that can foil progress. 

But more often it’s the inner battles that prove to be the toughest to overcome. These are the pains we shy away from, the fears we try to bury, and the doubts that hold us back. Recognizing, understanding and confronting this pain is crucial to unlocking our true potential. 

Here are common struggles we face—and some practical ways to overcome them. 

Perfectionism

I heard a phrase recently: “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

Essentially, this means that perfectionists can get so wrapped up in making things perfect that they never actually get anything accomplished. This is probably the thing I struggle with the most. Perfectionism is something that drives me to excellence, but at the same time, it can paralyze me with fear of not meeting the high standards I set for myself. 

One way to control perfectionist tendencies is to set realistic goals. I don’t overwhelm myself with too many tasks at once or too many big tasks. I break them up into smaller, more manageable steps. 

Instead of beating yourself up, embrace your imperfections and know that mistakes are a part of life, and most times, they’re the only way we learn. And most importantly, be kind to yourself! Nobody is perfect, including you.

Fear of Failure

This is another big one for me. There have been times when I have been so afraid of failing at something that it completely paralyzes me from even trying in the first place. It’s kept me from pursuing dreams I had and it’s definitely kept me from taking any sort of risks. 

I read a quote once that says, “Everything you want is on the other side of that fear.” Instead of being afraid of failure, face it head-on and get on the other side of it, no matter what. View failure as an opportunity to learn instead of a reason to be hard on yourself. For me, most times I have to make a conscious effort to try something new while giving myself a pep talk: “It’s OK if you do this and don’t do it well. It’s going to be OK.” 

People probably think I’m crazy because I have actually said it out loud to myself! Just remember that each time you encounter a failure, take stock of what went wrong and then work to improve it the next time. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” 

Imposter Syndrome

The self-doubt and feeling like a fraud no matter how qualified you are or how much you’ve accomplished struggle is real. You may say things like “I was just lucky” or, “I think they made a wrong choice picking me when there are so many others more qualified.”. 

You may even legit fear that someone will find out you’re a fraud and is going to put you on blast. It’s rough! Put a lid on that noise and challenge the negative self-talk. Something I do to help me overcome my own struggle with imposter syndrome is to write down my accomplishments – no matter how big or small – and celebrate them! I surround myself with the right friends, mentors, and other people I know and care about who encourage me and support me. Give yourself high fives and positive praise and know that you deserve all the good things that happen to you. 

Staying in Your Comfort Zone

I used to be Queen of staying in my comfort zone. But I realized that playing small and staying in a place where I didn’t experience any growing pains was no way to live and no way to achieve my goals. 

To get past this, I started seeking out opportunities to get in front of the people I wanted to meet and to go to events to make more connections and have more conversations. This is not easy for me! While being in your comfort zone gives you a sense of security, staying within its grip can limit your personal growth and development. Start by challenging yourself to go out of your way to find opportunities that push you beyond where you’re familiar and comfortable. Try something new you’ve never considered before. Instead of avoiding discomfort, lean into it. You might surprise yourself! 

The phrase “No Pain, No Gain,” was originally coined as a workout phrase that pertained to pain in the gym for your physical growth. Just like your first day in the gym being super painful, experiencing growth and change are the same way. It’s unfamiliar, you feel awkward and out of place, and you’re trying to figure out how to make the right moves and get into the groove. But the more you continue to show up and the more you continue to put in the work, the unfamiliar becomes more familiar. New is scary, but nothing is as painful as staying stuck. So embrace the suck and watch yourself grow.