An Antidote to Perfectionism. Finding the Joy in this.
Perfectionists are great at contemplation and planning. They’re typically not so great at moving and going and taking action, even with a plan. They’re too concerned with how actually doing the thing will make them look to others and so they do nothing. They sit back and wait. And wait. And wait. Never getting any closer to what it is they want now. You gotta MOVE and take active steps toward where it is you want to go. You’re ready now. You already have everything you need to go. You need nothing but determination and will and discipline. Sure, it might be scary, but go anyway. It can only get better from here.
Action feels so much better than doing nothing. Because momentum toward our goal is obviously fueled by action taking. We get nowhere just thinking and ruminating on the thing we say we want. We require movement. We need to build. We need our creativity. We need to innovate and test. No one’s going to build the product for us. No one’s going to initially promote the product for us. No one will be as excited about our creation as we are. No one will be as excited about our Mission as we will be. We have never marketed our product enough no matter what we think. There is always more to be done: more promotion; more offer testing; more marketing; building another product. This is why our work is never finished. We’re always taking further action toward our goal.
Many perfectionists are scared of taking the wrong action. They’re so scared about this that it is debilitating to the point of doing nothing. So, they’re stuck. Yet there is great news for them: all action is correctable. Even if your first three acts are wrong or don’t move you closer to your goal, you’re still moving. You’re still going. You’re not stuck. Which means it is WAY easier to course correct while you’re moving. Nearly all decisions are reversible. You can always change direction. And it usually isn’t that big of a deal. Leaders change direction all the time. Startups pivot all the time. Being stuck on a decision or doing nothing is not great leadership. Being decisive about something and moving forward with it is great leadership. Great leadership takes decisive, bold action toward goals.
If you don’t know what to do, start testing one thing. Early testing builds momentum. Testing is action. If you have an MVP or near finished product, have influencers in the space test it out. Give it away to a few people. See what they like and don’t like. Give them something for helping you. Then, when you finish the product, see if they’ll help you promote it. Early adopters have skin in the game. And they love to promote things they love before anyone else. They want to be cutting edge. Give them the full taste. Let them give you their feedback. Iterate and improve the product. Then, promote. Promote. Promote. Never stop talking about it. If you’re stuck on what to do, ask for help. Find an industry expert, a mentor. See what they’d do. Pick one thing and improve it. Then, pick another thing and improve that. You’re always iterating anyway. And you’re always marketing your thing. Always.
A great antidote to perfectionism is to take joy in the imperfect that surrounds you. Find the benefits in human made creations that will always be imperfect. See the humanity. Humans make imperfect things. Companies — big companies — create imperfect things and release them to the world. Software companies. Car companies. Bakeries. Resturants. Bars. Home builders. Small and large companies make imperfect things and release them to the marketplace. Take joy in that! Most of these companies don’t even think about perfection. They focus on greatness. Greatness requires that you release your imperfect thing into the world even if it is scary, even if it’s not ready. It may never be really ready. You just set a deadline and release it. Set the launch date and GO for it. After you release it, you gather market feedback and iterate forward into the new version. You can always improve it next. That’ll be your next act. You release something knowing full well that it isn’t perfect. And that’s OK. Nothing ever is. We can always make it better and better. Take joy in imperfection. Take joy in improvement. Take joy in making things better.