Are you stopping yourself?

Are you drained from chasing the perfect outcome? The expectation to get it all right every single time is like pressure cooker.  Fun projects turn into frustrations when you hold onto them for too long. So if you’ve been stopping yourself and ready to put the extra worries behind you, then consider shifting from perfection to good enough.

Yes, there are times when getting it perfect the first time matters. Brain surgeons, engineers and accountants understand the dire consequences of mistakes. For most professionals obsessing over the tiniest details until they’re absolutely right is overkill. Perfectionism is a “dressed up” version of procrastination. The energy spent to get the final 1-2% perfect usually outweighs the potential gains.

The pyramid effect

How are you stopping yourself?

How are you stopping yourself?

Here’s where I encourage my clients to shift from perfection to excellence. Think about a pyramid. Perfectionism lives at the top point of the pyramid. Any mistake, no matter how small, causes you to topple. Excellence, unlike perfection, acknowledges that you’re human. Instead of toppling when a mistake arises, you now have room to adjust.

Allow yourself some room for improvement. How you’re doing has greater value than how you look. Getting results for your clients is more important than the packaging. Perfection stifles growth; whereas, excellence gets results.

The strategy is to go with “good enough.” My clients are high achievers. They get more stuff done by taking fast action. That’s because they’re receiving faster feedback about their work. This accelerates business growth because they acted imperfectly, not in spite of it.

Your flight plan

Success is an adaptable process; not a concrete end result.  Think of this as a plane that’s flying from Seattle to Chicago. The flight plan is entered and the coordinates for Chicago are set. External conditions like wind, storms or turbulence will impact the flight. The plane will only be on course about 80% of the time. Course adjustments are made throughout the flight. No one even noticed the flight was ever off course. Instead everyone was happy to arrive safely (and on time) at their destination.

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Here’s how to shift from perfection to excellence:

  1. Mastery mindset. Masters are students first. They strive to continually improve.
  2. Excellence. You aim to do your best. The reality is that mistakes will happen. Valuable opportunities for growth and advancement are born from mistakes. Stopping yourself because of a possible mistakes will hinder your growth.
  3. Insight. Things don’t always go smoothly as planned. Choose to seek out the learning opportunities. The end result is not the only indicator of success or failure. Discover what went well although you experienced a less than ideal outcome. Then identify how you’ll approach things differently the next time around. This helps prepare you for future challenges.

Shifting away from perfection is a mindset adjustment. Only one thing will keep you stuck in perfection – your ego. It’s highly critical about all that goes wrong. The criticism downplays your achievements and chips away at your self-worth.  Your ego connects all mistakes to your identity. I fully believe, however, that you are so much more than any one action or mistake.

How can you shift from perfection to good enough?

How can you shift from perfection to good enough?

Perfection doesn’t exist

Those beliefs are meant to keep you safe. Stopping yourself may have served a purpose when you were younger. Do they still apply today? If not, then challenge those beliefs. This is like upgrading from your very first car to a newer, more luxurious model.

The steps to switch from perfection to excellence:

  1. Choose. How much time and energy do you want to spend on a particular project? Make that decision prior to starting the project.
  2. Contain. Fine tuning the tiny details are time consuming. Follow this rule of thumb: when 80% of the project is complete and you start to struggle with the last 20%, then put the project aside for the day. Stepping away from the project serves a purpose. Your stroke of insight is more likely to occur when you’re relaxed. Some of the best “a-ha” moments happen as you’re lying in bed half asleep or in the shower.
  3. Challenge. Challenge the belief which has you holding onto a project for too long. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you go with good enough? Imagine the worst case scenario and how you choose to respond.
  4. Curious. What would be different if you weren’t a perfectionist? My clients who are tired of being perfectionists acknowledge that mistakes will occur. Would you have a different experience if you believed good enough was acceptable?
  5. Compassion. How would your response differ if an associate you admired made the same mistake? Would you be more forgiving of that person? While you’re lenient with others, you hold yourself to a higher standard. There’s nothing wrong with having a high standard. Self criticism and dwelling on the mistake is the problem. Treating another person the way you treat yourself would be considered abusive.

Challenge yourself

Yes, going with good enough is uncomfortable for perfectionists. This is meant to challenge your comfort zone. Let’s agree that mistakes are not fun. They are, however, fantastic learning opportunities. Success is an evolution.

Successful entrepreneurs are like pilots. They are willing to continually adjust and course correct. Instead of stopping yourself recognize that each action advances you. The shift from perfection to excellence is a process. You are so much greater than any one action. Your challenge is to experiment with excellence and good enough for two weeks. Notice the difference. Then decide whether to continue pursuing excellence or returning to perfection.

Now, are you tired of stopping yourself and ready to get unstuck? My complimentary Grow Your Ideal Business Strategy Session is a private conversation where you’ll discover how to grow your business and get results.

Apply for a complimentary “Grow Your Ideal Business” Strategy Session.


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