This is one of the questions our clients with a tendency for perfectionism usually ask us before signing up to coaching or our Gentle Ambition programme. 

Having built whole careers and lives on the ability to create outstanding outcomes I can see the reluctance in their face. Lowering my standards? The sheer thought sends ripples of disgust down their spines and calls forward visions of laziness, procrastination and – God forbid – mediocre results.

So they are usually very happy when I tell them: ‘’No, we won’t be working on lowering your standards. Instead we will help you define new standards, and shift the energy behind your drive towards excellence, from the one of a slave driver/judge to the one of a cheerleader/adventurer. And we’ll make sure to maximise the retention of all the positive by-products (to borrow a term from NLP) of your past perfectionistic behaviour along the way.’’

Getting to the source of unhelpful behaviour

A key misconception of coaching is that as coaches we focus on behaviour only. That change is being created through adapting new habits, tools and techniques.  

Imagine the pain a perfectionist feels when she drops some of her behaviours and in turn sees part of the thrill and enjoyment of doing an outstanding job going down the drain too. This would be a bit like telling an Olympic swimmer, that in order to take it slower, she simply had to stop using her legs from now on. Every single cell in her body would still want to kick the water. And the effort of keeping her legs still, whilst trying to swim, would either ultimately exhaust her and kill the fun, or she would abandon the new habit again as soon as she tried it.


Changing against the current of your belief system

If you have ever tried changing a habit against the current of your belief system then you will know what I’m talking about. Trying to create change this way might have even put you off personal or professional development and coaches, counselors and the like in the first place. 

The good news is that there is another way. A faster approach that leads to lasting change. Identity Evolution.

Identity Evolution – not for the faint of heart

But it’s not for the faint of heart. This is the road of the exploreress, the adventuress and the heroine. 

This journey will take you into the abyss, where the death of the old and the birth of the new occur. And yet if you’re ready for it you already know. The calling has already happened. You already found your way here. Time to bury your old (perfectionistic) self and birth the new you.


At Azkua we want to have our cake and eat it. We want to do great work AND have fun. We want to be ambitious AND gentle. We want to grow AND relax. We want to lead AND to follow. We want to have a career AND be with our families and friends.

Sounds like your future self? Welcome to your tribe.

Manuela Damant
Visionary Collective Leader Azkua


At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women like YOU, who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women.