Are you a perfectionist? Or, has anyone ever told you that you’re a perfectionist? If you’re starting or operating a business, please read on…
I consider myself a reformed perfectionist, for want of a better term! I’m not keen on labels, but that does succinctly sum it up. I say reformed because somewhere along the way I realised a strong drive within me and realistically perfectionism wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go.
Perfectionism is kind of deceptive, really. Especially if you identify as being a perfectionist and even experience some pride in stating that that’s just how you are. I think it often starts when we are young. We develop certain ways of operating in the world to get our needs met.
Years later down the track, we have these habits ingrained. We have to do things in a certain way. We have to keep and maintain a high standard and we often feel very guilty if we make even one tiny mistake. Think about it. When was the last time you made an error or forgot something? What was your first thought? What did you feel? It’s this fear of making mistakes that will hold you back in your business and of course your life.
Creating a business can often involve a lot of trial and error. This is the nature of entrepreneurship. You have ideas and you bring them to fruition in the world however you can. The journey is not an easy, straight road. You must embrace experimentation and learning. And you need to be flexible. You need to be willing to put things out there in the world, over and above creating something that is perfect.
What needs to come to the fore is your drive to create and connect. This will take your focus away from perfection. I know it can be hard, especially at first, to put something out in the world that is not 100%. The main reason we’ve become perfectionists is because we fear criticism. So I know that the idea of voluntarily posting something we can improve on is not a natural instinct for a perfectionist. But, as I said, focus on that drive to create and connect. You can’t create change in the world, talk about your product/service if you are still working on your presentation or blog post. And this is what often happens with perfection. Not a lot of action.
Like it or not, perfectionism slows us down.
Instead of seeking perfection, embrace your ideas and take action, review and modify. Then, repeat. You’ll find that once you try it a few times (and you don’t die) that it is kind of thrilling. Try it!