How much pride do you take in your work? Are you ever truly satisfied with the finished result of your hard work?
Well if you are like me, the answer is no. You are someone who seeks perfection and drives themselves to achieve only the best possible result. How can you possibly be proud of your work as it stands?
I am here to tell you to “STOP!” (sorry for shouting). You are only as good as your last project and you will only get your last project completed if you avoid perfectionism.
As William Shawn, former “New Yorker” magazine editor reminds us “Falling short of perfection is a process that just never stops” (in other words, you will never reach perfection)
Sarah Robinson, founder of Fierce Loyalty believes that ”perfectionism is just another name for procrastination.”
Let’s be frank. Perfection doesn’t help you get anywhere fast. It creates plenty of stress and creates a strong desire to deliver the complete product or service first time round.
If you want to succeed, you have got to learn to accept failure. Failure may sound scary but in reality it is the fuel that will lead you towards success.
Perfectionists hate the word failure. It suggests that they are incapable of something. Failure will define who they are to others, which isn’t something a perfectionist wants.
If they succeed it reflects well on their image. After all, they are perfectionists because they want to deliver perfect results all the time.
But in order to start appreciating the work you produce, you have to learn to love failure.
Gretchen Rubin from “The Happiness Project” summarises the dilemma so well. She wrote the following back in June 2010:
“I’m very competitive, and perfectionist, and also insecure, and I hate, hate, hate the feeling of failure — but I know that failure is a necessary part of creativity, of risk-taking, of aiming high. I remind myself that if I’m not failing, I’m not trying hard enough.”
Acceptance is the most important part of reducing the perfectionist in you.
I have learnt this the hard way through my business life. I have tried countless business ideas such as creating a online music creation service, becoming a virtual assistant, writing for technology websites and trying to build a freelance career.
Each of these business ventures failed because I was being too perfectionist about matters such as the business models, words on the website etc.
However I learnt some immensely important lessons from failing such as accountability and trust that have served me really well in my business career so far.
You never know where the next business lesson will emerge.
For perfectionists, they are never ready to launch a business or write that important sales letter because they are taking the time to perfect it.
Furthermore potential small business owners wait for the right market conditions to launch a business. The fear of failure takes over. Will the market research pay off? Is the customer really willing to pay for this product or service?
The person with the idea for a new business just can’t accept that they will have to suffer failure for a long time to succeed.
I am still learning every single day. I want to tell you now, you don’t master a subject once and then launch a successful business which is profitable from day one.
If you aren’t taking the time to understand the new developments in business, you won’t have a successful business for long. Accept that you will fail before you miss a valuable opportunity to get going.
It won’t be an overnight success. In fact, the majority of smart and successful business owners have worked long hours for months or potentially years to get to where they are now.
The one thing the majority of them realised is that failure is just part of the game. Perfectionism isn’t suited to the business world.
I am not claiming to be great at avoiding perfectionism. I am as guilty as the rest of you reading this, but I understand the value of failure and working hard to succeed.
Photo Source: Flickr