Antrese Wood

How to stop perfectionism from ruining your painting practice.

Do you find yourself struggling with perfectionism? What do you do to turn down the volume and focus on what really matters? I’ve heard from so many of my friends and peers over the years about this topic that I decided to open it up to my Groth Studio participants. Several students were kind enough to open up about how they’ve dealt with perfectionism in the past and the strategies they used to overcome. If you are ready to wrestle back control of your life from the clutches of perfectionism - then this is the episode for you - you don’t want to miss it! 

Confusing perfectionism with excellence 

What’s so bad about perfectionism? Doesn’t a good dose of nervous paranoia help fuel you on your journey to excellence? No! Perfectionism and excellence are not the same things. Excellence is internally motivated - it causes us to reach higher, to become a forever student, and continually improve our creative process. Your baseline with excellence is that you belong at the table - you have something worthy to offer. 

On the other hand, perfectionism is externally motivated - it makes you always ask, “What will THEY think?” Perfectionism starts and ends with - I am not enough. When your starting point is “I am not enough” it encourages judgment of yourself and other people - it causes you to contract and shrink. 

Which route sounds best to you? Do you want to be constrained by what others think or do you want a more positive and healthy outlook? What are you going to do today to put you on the path that’s best for you? There’s no time like right now! 


Don’t let fear have control!

Remember that last thing you had to do that you absolutely dreaded about? Do you remember how your muscles tensed up, your temperature rose, and your heart started beating faster? Were all that worry, stress, and fear really worth it in the end? Why are we letting fear have control over our lives? It’s time we learned how to stand up to the circumstances that life throws our way in a healthy and constructive manner. Allow yourself to slow down, acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing, and then move on. Just because you experience a wave of frustration and anger, it doesn’t mean you have to lose your temper - let the feeling come and then let it pass - you have the control! 

Embrace accidents and paint from a place of love

The biggest casualty to the trap of perfectionism is often our artwork. Just think of all the amazing projects that never came to light because we listened to another voice - the wrong voice. I don’t want my life ruled by fear and the opinion of others - there is too much freedom out there to enjoy! Over the years, I have found that the best way to move forward is to remember that I paint from a place of love. I love myself, I love my life, and I love my art - it might sound silly but just starting with those intentions can make all the difference. What will you do to conquer the power of perfectionism in your life? Let me know what works for you! 

Outline of this episode

  • [2:00] My introduction to today’s episode on perfectionism.
  • [5:00] Confusing perfectionism with excellence. 
  • [7:30] Jenny opens up about her struggles with perfectionism. 
  • [10:30] How fear hijacks our lives. 
  • [13:45] Dancing with fear. 
  • [18:15] We always have a choice. 
  • [21:30] How confirmation bias works. 
  • [23:30] Painting from a place of love. 
  • [30:30] The danger of falling into the comparison trap. 
  • [38:00] Choose the thought that moves you forward. 
  • [41:30] Learning to embrace accidents. 
  • [44:00] Don’t edit yourself - take your power back!

mentioned in this episode:

Tara Brach tells the concept of inviting Mara to tea in her book - Radical Acceptance

Seth Godin - Dancing with Fear

Brene Brown and Oprah:

Jamie Foxx interview on Tim Ferriss show:

Get better results in your studio Today.

When you feel confident about your work and you are solid in your self concept as an artist, you stop worrying about how long the painting takes, or when you will “make it.” Instead, you focus on what you know is working. You allow time for your process to unwind. You let go of all the chatter. This is what you will create for yourself in Growth Studio - the unwavering belief in yourself as an artist so that you make art that matters to you. Click here to join.

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