Guess what – perfection doesn’t exist, in terms of the definition you have in your head.
Let me argue it this way – you are already perfect. Perfect the way you were made – with strengths and challenges … we all have them.
Gone is the notion that we can simply put something back in and we will become whole. No.
Each of us is born with strengths and things that are not in our “sweet spot”. These things typically take us longer to start or work on because we don’t know how to start or it simply doesn’t come easily to us.
In the areas where you are challenged (or downright weak), you simply need to be trending towards improvement, and not striving for perfection.
The reasons are clear: striving for perfection in all aspects of your life leads to misery, leaves little room for joy, encourages fear-based behaviours (like hiding when you do make a mistake). The final reason why striving for perfection is ineffective is that often times with this type of “drive”, people will waste time working on something far too long when there is little to no ‘return-on-investment’ to be gained.
Let me also suggest that many of you will start telling a story that hanging onto being perfect gives you drive and keeps you motivated and that somehow without it, you will come to be substandard — you will slide off into oblivion. It is as if you think giving up the ideal of perfection somehow means you will end up on the opposite end of the spectrum – failing at work, disshelved and sloppy. It is not true. This type of thinking fails to acknowledge all that you show up with day-after-day to generate and live life.
So the tip of this week is two-fold:
1) recognize yourself as perfect just as you are—celebrate your strengths, develop around your weaknesses; and
2) if you have a habit of hanging onto work too long and potentially “over delivering” (which likely wastes your personal time as well as time spent at work), you need to define a “what good is good enough” standard on any given project. Mechanical work as an airplane mechanic or life-saving work as a doctor needs to be fairly close to precise and high quality (notice I didn’t say perfect). Work in-house and among colleagues often can withstand having a standard that’s less high (“work worth doing also needs to get done”).
See if you can roll things out with an iterative mindset – meaning it can always be improved and will be improved through incorporating feedback. There is always room to incorporate new and better ideas and you’ll create more space for things to be “the best they could be with the information and knowledge we had at the time”, because undoubtedly better ideas will come in time.
Are you an ‘over-deliverer’?
Joanne Spalton, Senior Consultant