This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m not sure I was born with perfectionist tendencies but if I wasn’t, school definitely gave them to me. So much so that when I entertained starting my first small business, breaking free of them involved a lot of kicking, screaming and banging my head against the wall.
Perfectionism may have its place in school because you are always aiming for that A+ grade, that 100%, that shiny little star sticker. But when launching something new as an entrepreneur it can be deadly. Sure, we all want to do our best work and be prepared and serve our clients as much as we possibly can. Those things are a given. But if it causes us to stay on the fence and never really get out there then that’s when it can become a major problem.
It’s more about fear than wanting it to be perfect.
One of my social media connections brought up this point recently when I mentioned writing this post. I absolutely agree with her. In fact this is why it was such a struggle for me. The whole idea of “good is good enough” was extremely uncomfortable to me. “But, but, but I still need to…I don’t think it’s completely ready to…I just want to tweak it a little bit more…”
Perfectionism in my case was just a form of procrastination. I suspect this is common, especially among first time business owners and solopreneurs. After all, it’s hard to argue with wanting to improve your product, service, article, blog, course, etc. Who wouldn’t want to? But we would be wise to look at what is really keeping us from taking action and going live.
Are you afraid that once you put it out there it might not sell and you’ll be disappointed and stressed over it? Are you afraid of what people think because you are constantly comparing yourself to others and how you stack up? Fears and anxieties like these are all normal but how badly are you short-changing yourself by not jumping in and at least testing the waters?
The thing is, there are so many opportunities you may be missing out on by not going for it. What if there are wonderful things waiting for you on the other side of your fears? The perfect time will never come, just like the perfect business doesn’t exist.
You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.
No doubt this stuff is tough to overcome. But like that oft-repeated tenet of being able to learn from our failures and mistakes, we can’t progress and improve if we don’t even give ourselves a chance.
By getting your product or service out there and knowing you’ve done a good enough job, you’ll start to see that momentum is on your side. The universe rewards action. Once you get this, you will wonder what you ever waited for. You can always go back and update and improve but something is often better than nothing.
Many times just the awareness of how you use perfectionism to avoid the possibility of a negative outcome can go a long way toward re-training yourself to take action instead of obsessing over every detail.
So how will you overcome the perfectionist trap that’s holding you back? How much more time will you waste hanging in the shadows? Believe that there are people in the world who need what you have to offer and stop cheating them and yourself.