Things are going well, you have a plan, you know what you need to do to get what you want. Everything feels good. Great even. Then sneaky little perfectionism sits on your shoulder and starts to whisper.
"You can't do this. You're not good enough. Why are you bothering? This is too hard. You're wasting your time. There must be something else you can do, something that's easier, that you would be better at. Just stop. Now."
Sound familiar? Maybe your perfectionism has its own specific little mantra it says to you. Funny how it knows exactly the right thing to say to get you to stop doing the one thing you really want.
I get that it's trying to protect me, to avoid any possible way of getting hurt. What could be more painful than failing at my deepest desire? The thing is I don't know that I will fail, I can't predict what will happen but I do know that if I stop writing my novel now then I have failed. It won't become the book that I dream of.
So how to calm that terrified voice inside? Because that's what it is - fear, terror, child-like panic. The clutching feeling around my heart, the tightness in my throat. It's anxiety; but I'm not running from a tiger or being chased off a cliff. I'm safe, on my sofa, typing on my laptop. I am safe, even if my emotions don't think so.
It's time to be brave, to be the adult and reassure my inner perfectionist that everything is ok. In this moment I am safe, typing sentences I never have to show anyone. I have time to work on my novel, to get it as good as I want it to be. There's no rush and no pressure.
I need to stop trying to predict the future, trying to jump ahead to see how everything turns out. I would never do it if I was reading a book and so I have to stop doing that in my life.
What one thing is perfectionism stopping you from doing? What could you do today to take one small step towards that dream? Pop on over to Facebook and let me know.
Need some help in following through and achieving your BIG DREAM? Check out the Celebrate & Create posters I've created to help turn your dream into reality, with support to help with sneaky perfectionism.
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.