Nicole Burgess of the Soulfilled Sisterhood podcast about being a recovering perfectionist and why it matters. confronting your perfectionism is perpetual work. Mind-Body Connection. The Brave Files Podcast with Heather Vickery.

Recovering Perfectionist

With Featured Guest

Nicole Burgess


Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • Failure is an event, not a person!
  • Perfectionism can be difficult to identify.
  • Confronting your perfectionism is perpetual work.
  • Stay connected in your  body because that’s where so much good information comes from.”
  • Gratitude-based mindfulness practices helpful when addressing perfectionism. (You can check out the gratitude journals that Heather wrote and designed here).
  • Human beings are resilient people, and perfectionism isn’t a death sentence.
  • You can unlearn misinformation and, when you do so, you’ll blossom.

Sneaky Little Thief

Nicole Burgess is a recovering perfectionist that calls perfectionism a “sneaky little thief.” Why is it so sneaky? Because these behaviors are deeply rooted, from birth, we believe they are normal. Perfectionism, however, is anything but “normal.” Often, perfectionist behaviors go unrecognized until they are pointed out to us, by others.

How can you know if you're a perfectionist? Nicole suggests looking inward and asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you work a lot and have trouble unwinding?
  • Are you afraid of criticism?
  • Do you procrastinate when you’re asked to complete a project that someone else will see?
  • Are your achievements wrapped up in your identity?

The truth about perfectionism

Perfectionism is a fear-motivated, maladaptive mindset that’s characterized by high self-expectations and toxic self-criticism. It operates in terms of black-and-white—“It’s either all A’s or I suck,”  Nicole illustrates with a laugh. “I talk quite a bit about embracing the grey, or the messiness in between. It’s failing forward. It’s remembering, too, that when you ‘fail,’ failure is an event, it’s not a person.”

Gender identity plays a powerful role in perfectionism. There's a rift between girls and boys created around age nine. There's a significant socialization difference between children assigned male at birth versus female. Young women are pressured to meet specific expectations. These expectations create a dangerous burden that breeds perfectionism. Perfectionist behaviors don't always show themselves early on because they are “slow creeping.” But, as Nicole explains, these harmful behaviors are starting to manifest in our children younger and younger.

Recovering Perfectionist

Nicole identifies as a “recovering perfectionist.” She admits to still confronting her perfectionist tendencies on a daily basis. However, it’s easier to identify these days and then nip them in the bud. She confronts her perfectionism through daily mindfulness exercises to address a common issue for perfectionists: “[perfectionist’s] are very much in their head and disconnected from their body,” she explains. Mindfulness practices like meditation and light exercise remind us to stay “connected in [our] body because that’s where so much good information comes from.” 

Get good with Gratitude

Gratitude-based mindfulness practices are another good place to start when addressing your perfectionism. Women in particular benefit from this, Nicole explains, because they are notorious for breezing over their wins for the day. Positive Psychology shows us that we can benefit both mentally and physically when we articulate what we’re doing right. (You can check out the gratitude journals that our host,  Heather Vickery, wrote and designed here).

Success and Leadership Coach, Heather Vickery author's New book. Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus

Suggested reading mentioned in the episode


Giving is Good

Nicole’s favorite charity is Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis, which uses a network of 550 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, and community partners to distribute food and grocery to their 21-county service area. They host specialty programs such as School-Based Pantry, Mobile Pantry, Summer Meals for Kids, and Senior Hunger Initiative to address the needs of demographics particularly vulnerable to hunger and/or food insecurity. You can support Gleaners here, and if you’d like to show some love to your local food bank, you can locate it here.

"You cannot dream of things you haven't imagined."

- Nicole Burgess

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

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