January 29, 2012

Rachel Strella

Why Trying to Be Perfect Equals Business Disaster

I've been battling a sickness since Thursday night, which means I'm only getting top priority work done - client work! I thought it would be an appropriate time to share this blog which originally appeared as a guest piece for Ken Mueller of Inkling Media.

Did you ever start something never to finish? Come on, be honest. You know you have. You probably have piles of unfinished projects sitting right next to you.  Now, ask yourself: Why didn’t I finish those projects?

Maybe it’s because you got stuck, ran out of time, or wanted them to be better than they are…. even perfect. We should know by now that being perfect means we’ll never get anything done. This is a death sentence for any business owner. In order to propel our business – to make it successful – we must learn to strive for perfection, but settle for excellence.

This is a concept I struggle with every day and I am sure you do, too.  As business owners, we have a natural drive. This drive can be our friend and our enemy. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet deadlines, exceed customer expectations, and refine business operations. This self-inflicted pressure can sabotage our business if left un-checked.

Here are a few concepts that have helped me improve workflow and avoid falling into the trap of perfectionism.

When pursuing new work, ask yourself: Is it a project or an idea?

We have ton ideas and we truly have great intentions about pursuing all of them, but ask yourself:  Is this a project that I can conceptualize from start to finish? If not, it’s an idea and it gets filed in the “idea” bin!

Take action now.

Great, we got a project – can’t wait to get started. I’ll do that next weekend – or maybe after I finish my quarterly taxes, or maybe after the next client signs and I can get an employee….(blah, blah, blah)

If this project shows promise, don’t wait to get started - do something now! If we wait for everything to be “in-line,” we will never do it.

Get out of your own way.

You could be your biggest barrier to success simply because you want everything to be perfect.  Be honest and realistic about your goals and expectations. If in doubt, check out #4.

Rely on the buddy system.

Fortunately, we aren’t the only entrepreneurs to walk the earth.  Be proactive and regularly seek the advice of colleagues. You will likely find many of us struggle with the same things and that we support each other on our path to success.

Man or machine?

We can only do so much, so remember:  this is no such thing as perfect, your work will never be perfect and what makes you – you – is that you’re not perfect!

How have you learned to accept excellence?

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