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How to Overcome Perfectionist Tendencies with Elise Loehnen

Haley Paskalides  |  September 13, 2023

Freeing ourselves from the seven deadly sins that hold us back.

As women, we often feel pressure to always be “doing,” whether that’s working, going to the gym, prepping a project, or just getting ready for the next day. Many of us also have a hard time sitting still, and we may even be perfectionists about some things. (Yes, the data shows that women are more likely to be perfectionists than men.) As the former Chief Content Officer at Goop — and Gwyneth Paltrow’s second hire — Elise Loehnen knows this firsthand.

In her new book, On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to be Good” she breaks down all of the outward pressures that continue to hold women back. She shares how we can all break away from the societal notions of feeling like we have to be the “perfect” daughter, the “best” wife, or the “smartest” investor. 

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When Elise was faced with mounting career pressures in 2019, she hyperventilated for an entire month and she couldn’t figure out how to make it stop… She had convinced herself that eventually she would get to a point in her career where she would feel secure but eventually, she realized: “I can’t outrun this. It is getting worse, and I have to understand what it is that is sitting on my chest, making me feel like I’m going to die.”

Elise shares how she was able to stop her stress — and possibly save her life in the process. While writing her book, Elise Loehnen discovered that she was feeling so much pressure because women are often conditioned to be “good” and, she says, “the worst thing you can do to a woman is to harm her reputation, to accuse her of being unkind, an uncaring, unloving, bad mother, a mean woman.” She says that by understanding the seven deadly sins  — sloth, envy, pride, greed, gluttony, lust, and anger — women can reclaim them as our own. 

LISTEN: Why You Don’t Need A “Dream Job”

Take sloth, for example: We can push back against the need to always be “doing.” We can interrupt these patterns of thinking by recognizing what’s happening in our bodies and be present “instead of rushing, busying, or finding something to do to make all the bad feelings stay suppressed.”

In Mailbag, we talk about the best way to invest your required minimum distribution, and if you have the money, whether you should buy CDs or pay off a mortgage. In our money tip of the week, the differences between term and permanent life insurance and how to pick one. 


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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