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The main reasons why PERFECTION IS A PRODUCTIVITY KILLER

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

It’s totally OK not to be perfect, nobody is. Here is why.

I get it, we all want to look good when we go out, and we all want to make a good impression at work with our boss or during our presentations to stakeholders. It’s our future in our hands, and we want things to be perfect!


The problem with trying to be perfect is that we are our own worse critics, and it prevents us from moving forward.

We know we could do better and we strive to do things right. We don’t want to disappoint our bosses, our families, our friends … but little we know that when we seek perfection we inevitably stop real meaningful progress and trade it in for I call perceived progress. And what is perceived progress? – the progress we make that we keep to ourselves and never sees the day of light. We perceive it as progress, but really nobody else knows about it other than ourselves. In the eternal road to get the perfect article written, or the perfect equipment set up for your podcast, or gathering the championship winning team, you will miss on the opportunity of getting what you currently have done thus far and give it a shot.


Simply put, while we have work in progress and don’t share it with others, we end up not adding value at all to anybody, and the only one we end up disappointing is ourselves. Granted, the impact of inaction and perceived progress is much larger than that.

When you can’t reach that level of perfection you are looking for, you are going to get stressed, and you will feel undoubtedly unfulfilled. It is hard to constantly be seeking a level of perfection, it’s hard mentally and emotionally. Seeking perfection will also hamper your creativity, because you are not allowing yourself to try new things and fail. It decreases risk taking as you are not willing to “waste” valuable time on experimenting new things. And the problem with that lack of experimentations is that we will never learn new things unless we try them out.


I have personally struggled with this for a good bit in my corporate life, when I was asked consistently to make presentations to leadership on a topic I dominated. The problem was not the knowledge or the agenda, it was that I was not very savvy when it came to develop a PPT presentation. I have struggled for year to make a presentation that was visually appealing. And more than once I have failed to finish up my content because I was trying to get it to a perfect state before I presented to leadership. Mind you, I had the time, and I knew what I was talking about. But I have always found something that could be done a little better, or this slide a little prettier, or this font more readable, or how about this shadowed box in the corner of the slide that now has a shade and a gradient in it!!!


You get the idea.


HOW TO BREAK THE CYCLE

So the easiest way to avoid all the problems that come along with seeking perfection, is just to avoid procrastination and get become more comfortable with an iterative approach, where you simply put out there the best working version of what you currently have, and don’t wait till it is “complete, ready, or perfect”.


Just don’t wait to have of all of your ducks in a row, it will delay your growth. Literally. Every day that goes by without you taking action compounds over time.


So here are some tips on how to stop procrastinating and enable your own growth:


Show up as you are - Be vulnerable - You are enough
Show up as you are - Be vulnerable

  1. Show up as you are, present your best version of yourself, and be vulnerable. Showing vulnerabilities could be magnetic to some people, showing you also struggle will show you are also human, and people would be able to relate to you at a deeper level.

  2. Enable Rapid Prototyping. Define and create the simplest version of what you are trying to accomplish and get it in front of your stakeholders, your boss or your clients. This will provide you an opportunity to experiment safely and understand how your clients react to your offer, and then you can adapt your offer for a better outcome. Rapid prototyping accepts imperfection and embraces feedback at the very core to allow your offer to match your audience needs and wants in a much more efficient way. However, remember this is not an allowance to put a crappy offer out the door, find out what is the (MVP) minimum viable product first, which is to comply with their very minimum expectations first, and then grow from there.

  3. Take Action! Avoid procrastination and don’t wait for perfection to get your word out. Don’t waste any more time, it is the only thing you can’t buy back, so use your time wisely to get feedback as soon as possible.

  4. Give yourself grace and know your worth. Creativity and productivity evolve through working imperfections, so start with accepting that your work, your company, your products will be ever evolving, at a minimum to meet the ever-evolving market needs. Acknowledging this and accepting yourself is the first step towards a much more rewarding approach to delivering your product and services, and it will result in lowering your stress levels and a happier, more rewarding life. Remember, if you are constantly seeking perfection you are really not acknowledging how good and worthy of good stuff you already are!

  5. Perfection is subjective, accept yourself for who you are. What you may see and seek as perfect may not be so for someone else. Even when you are trying to perfect something that in your eyes may be unfinished, it may be perfect for someone else out there. Accept yourself for who you are, and even though you will be your biggest critic, the world will accept you for you are, so you should too.


Be vulnerable, acknowledge it’s a journey, take action to overcome the need for perfection, give yourself grace and acceptance yourself. This way you will get unstuck from seeking perfection and you will be able to start delivering value to you clients. And even if your content or offer may not be 100% perfect, it will be much better than not having delivered anything at all, or not having taken action, not getting feedback, not seeing progress and not loving your work and creating as you should.


Have you ever struggled with this?

How have you dealt with it?


Let me know if we can help you, happy to share thoughts on this.



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