Ep 166. How to Break Free From Unrealistic Expectations

I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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Are you tired of the never ending pursuit of perfection, and this unrealistic idea of who you want to be or who you think you should be?

Maybe it’s just in general, maybe it’s in life, or in everything that you do feeling like it has to be perfect before you can put it out there or before you can try something new?

In episode 166, I’ll explore how perfectionism can actually often disguise itself as procrastination. I’ll also uncover some practical steps that will help you let go of these unrealistic expectations, unleash the power of really, truly embracing imperfection, and show you how to take that crucial first step towards setting realistic goals.

I think every new year brings new beginnings. But if we’re just going to repeat old patterns that we did last year, we’re not going to get very far.

Part of moving forward with new intentions and new expectations ismaking sure that we have first celebrated what we’ve done, and then move forward to decide what we want to do differently.

I really wanted to start the new year talking about perfectionism, and how that can hold us back in our business, and that can really hold us back in our personal life. And there’s just so many different way that perfectionism can really hinder us.

This Week’s Voxer Question: What are you procrastinating on right now or struggling with feeling like it needs to be perfect?

This could be your website, a new offering, digital product, social media, etc.

Keep this specific thing in mind as we walk through these steps on how to break from from unrealistic expectations.

How to Break Free From Unrealistic Expectations

#1: Acknowledge That You Can’t Perfect Something That Doesn’t Exist

I want you to get the first draft out into the world. And then you can work on editing it and tweaking it.

It’s really important that you have something to start with, and then you can always tweak it as you go.

I’m walking through this currently with a new masterclass I’ve been trying to launch. I have been bogged down by perfectionism with the process of it all. I’m planning to try and revisit the project in January.

We put these expectations on ourselves because we know that our clients are not going to notice it. We also put these expectations on ourselves, because we want to be someone different.

#2: Just Get Started

Ask yourself, what is the first baby step?

What’s the first thing that you need to do to at least just get the ball rolling?

I’ve recently ventured into a new niche of photography: food photography.

I went through a course, but then got stuck when it came time to take action.

I’m not even kidding you. It took me two months to take the first step, but once I finally did I made my first recipe and did all the photos in one day! (Which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend! haha)

#3: Embrace The Progress and Not Perfection

It’s really important that whatever you do, you understand that the goal is making progress on something. The goal is getting better. The goal is actually moving from step one to step two. The goal is not achieving perfection.

It’s important to understand that making mistakes and facing setbacks, are just natural parts of growth.

As adults, and especially when we’re business owners, we need to be okay with hard work.

We need to celebrate the fact that when we come up against some resistance, we are actually allowing ourselves to grow. And that is what is really the goal. And that is what is really important.

It’s also important that we start to be okay with ‘B’ work.

So instead of always feeling like everything has to be A+ work, we need to be okay with that B work. And just understand that ‘Done is better than perfect.’

And once we have something done, now we can work on getting another draft out into the world.

I also want you to work on celebrating your successes, and acknowledge your efforts along the way, no matter how big or how small.

Because what this does, is it reinforces a positive mindset. And it encourages continued progress.

And so it’s really important that we shift our perspective and we start to focus on abundance.

We start to focus on gratitude, and on what we do have and what we can have if we continue down the path of hard work, and continuing to take action and experimenting.

#4: Set Realistic Goals and Priorities

If you missed episode 161 and 162 on the podcast a few weeks ago, I totally recommend going back and listening to those. Episode 161 was about quarterly planning and how you can make it really simple. And then 162 was about executing that quarterly plan.

It’s really important that when you are thinking about your goals and your priorities, that you are breaking down those larger goals into smaller, achievable steps.

I think it’s important that we recognize our capacity as a business owner. We need to put into perspective what season of life that we are in, and how much support our family needs from us currently.

Because I think so often, we set these unrealistic expectations of how much energy we can exert, and how many things we think we should be able to get done.

And then at the end of the day, we typically feel like a failure because we didn’t get as much accomplished as we thought we could.

And so we must use the data to inform what our capacity is and how much we can accomplish in a day.

When it comes to editing perfectionism especially, I want you to ask yourself this question: Do I want to be a photographer? Or do I want to be a photo editor?

Because I truly believe the number one reason that mom photographers get burnt out as photographers is the overwhelm of editing and the fact that it just takes so much time and energy.

I really want to give you permission to get editing off your plate as quickly as possible. It really will hold you back from growing your business if you feel like you’re continually drowning in that editing.

You might love editing, and that’s great too! Go for it!

But, if it’s something that you feel like you’re drowning in and is holding you back, feel the freedom to outsource it and get it off of your plate.

Remember, perfectionism in any sense, can be paralyzing. And if we aren’t careful, it has the potential to really hold us back.

We want to do our best of course, and that’s great, but not at the cost of never getting started or constantly second-guessing ourselves.

What we need to do is focus more on enjoying that journey. We need to celebrate those small wins along the way, and realize that progress is more important than perfection.

So don’t be afraid to take that first step. Embrace imperfection, and you’ll be amazed as you achieve more than you ever thought possible.


  1. Episode 161 and Episode 162
  2. Need support managing your time well and creating systems to streamline your Photography Business? Join the Efficient Mom Photographer (12 Week Group Coaching Program)
  3. Message me on Voxer (My username is afreehan)
  4. Join the Waitlist for my Free Masterclass, The Profit Shift: 3 Strategies to Optimize Your Limited Time and Maximize Your Revenue as a Mom
  5. Have a question for me? Or a specific struggle you’re dealing with? I’ll address your question on the podcast. Submit your ‘Ask Ashley’ question here
  6. Looking for tips and strategies for making motherhood and business easier? Join Our Free Community – The Organized Mom Photographer
  7. Local to Gilbert/Mesa Arizona (For Mom Business Owners) Join our in person membership community

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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