You own a business. You want to do things RIGHT. But is your perfectionism holding you — and your business — back?
Let’s take a look at the definition of perfectionism:
1: a the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person’s highest good
1: b the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth
2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable
Source: Perfectionism, Merriam-Webster
Let that definition sink in. Perfectionism is more than just coloring inside the lines.
Perfectionism is the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person’s highest good. It means that you have to be perfect to be your highest — best — self. Is that what you want? Is that what you believe?
Think about that for a minute. To be your best self you have to be perfect? Is that true for you?
Your other options are “freedom from sin” and regarding “anything short of perfection as unacceptable.”
Basically, with perfectionism, you’re stuck with a zero-sum game.
All or nothing.
No wonder you end up choosing nothing — it’s easier and you don’t feel like a failure.
Perfectionism: Are You Aware of the Decisions You’re Not Making?
Perfectionism means you don’t want to do anything unless you do it the right way.
And by saying that you’ll only do it if it’s done “the right way” what you’re doing is saying there’s only one right way. You just want to do it that one right way and if you can’t do it that one right way, then you’re not going to do it at all.
So you don’t.
And yet over and over again in business — and in life — we decide there’s only one right way to do things and then we just do it one way, or, worse yet we take no action at all out of fear.
Somewhere deep down we know that in the final analysis we do decide things and that even our decisions to let someone else decide are really our decisions. – Harvey G. Cox
That’s right, not to decide is to decide.
Are you sitting around doing nothing? Maybe you’re just talking about your ideas? Endlessly. All your hopes and all your dreams — all of it. But you’re not doing anything about it. That’s choosing to sit on the sidelines.
It doesn’t matter what fucking game we’re talking about.
It’s your choice to stop yourself.
You’re choosing not to follow your dreams.
You’re choosing to not help your customers.
You’re choosing not to be your best you.
Every day there’s someone doing more with less than you have RIGHT NOW.
You’re Invited to Choose Another Way
There’s another way. You might wrestle with it at first. Slowly you’ll grow comfortable with it.
Imperfect action is better for men and societies than perfection in waiting, for the errors wrought by action are cured by new action. — John Collier
You need to become comfortable with imperfect action. Perfectionism is a stall tactic. Imperfect action takes guts.
If you’re sitting on the sidelines, someone else is taking your place. Don’t miss your opportunity.
Imperfect action is where you learn. Imperfect action is where you push aside fear and worry. Fear and worry disguised as wanting to do it “right” paralyzes us.
When we take action, no matter how imperfect, we surrender. We exhale. And suddenly we have the energy to play the game. All that fear and worry — your personal perfection doctrine — exhausts you. Release the exhaustion. Share your ideas with the world.
Pursuing your dreams isn’t always about doing it the right way. It isn’t always about doing it one way. It isn’t always about doing it with a lavish budget and all the bells and whistles. Sometimes it’s just about getting started.
And you see the biggest problem with perfectionism in business is that it prevents you from getting started at all. Which means your ideas aren’t getting out there at all.
It’s so much easier to say I have to do a plan. I have to do this. I have to do that. So much easier to put up obstacles than it is to get started.
If you’re not taking action on your ideas how many people are missing out?
Just do something.
You’ve got to take imperfect action. Get out of your head.
You’ve got to decide that fear isn’t worth it. That anxiety isn’t worth it.
And you’ve got to take that leap of faith. We’re counting on you to take that leap of faith.
I hope you will.
In addition to solving hairy marketing operations problems, I host one of the best business podcasts for women, the Women Conquer Business podcast, which provides actionable strategies, business how-to’s, and real-world advice from subject matter experts and entrepreneurs to help you grow, nurture, and sustain your business. But if you want the REAL story, I am an uber-nerd who loves dad jokes, building seamless systems, and helping leaders find more joy in their work.