So a few months back the director of my department shared an email with her team on the subject of perfection and how the quest for perfectionism often keeps us from making progress. The point of her sharing this was to give us some food for thought in terms of keeping us on track for meeting our timelines and reaching our set goals.
The link she shared, which seemed to be an old entry from a defunct blog site led to a piece entitled Perfection Is the Enemy Of Progress. Heavy right? I think generally most people think that achieving perfection is something that we should constantly strive for but what happens when achieving perfection just gets in the way of our progress? Now I can certainly be anal retentive about certain things. I think being a creative type may have something to do with that. I want my creations, whatever they are (writings, paintings, outfits, etc.) to be the perfect manifestations of the image I had in my mind. I constantly feel the burdensome need to make my audience see it exactly as I had envisioned it. Oh and you certainly cannot see it before it’s finished. Even when I first declare something finished, it usually isn’t truly finished until three or four adjustments later.
You’ve probably often heard the phrase “he’s/she’s such a perfectionist” said with commendation and awe and I totally realize why people hold this quality in such high regard. Being a perfectionist is hard work. Where most people would have the tendency to give up, the perfectionist continues on. It can be interesting as all hell to watch. Picture the chef plating his dish and stooping down to eye level to make sure the dressing is just right or the sculptor going over the same area again and again to remove that annoying little imperfection. That’s fine and dandy but what I’m coming to realize in the business world, is sometimes good enough is good enough and the perfectionist in me has to let it go and not agonize over every minute detail.
When I think about all those emails or memos that have taken half an hour or more to write or choices that I agonize over that aren’t life changing or career altering or even really that important, it kind of makes me sick to my stomach. So much time and energy was lost when I could have been applying my time more usefully in some other area. It’s definitely something that I need to work on and am currently making a concerted effort to keep an eye out for. It’s honorable to strive for greatness but constantly running after perfection in each and every aspect of your work or personal boarders on insanity. I’m asking myself, ”What difference will it make if this is perfect versus just really good?.” If the answer is “Not much of a difference.” I should be comfortable with calling it finished and moving on to the next thing. So in that spirit, I’m only going to proof read this post once. Don’t judge me if you find any mistakes. I’m a work in progress people.
Thanks for reading. Now let’s make power moves ladies.
Read the post that inspired this one: Perfection is the Enemy Of Progress - Justin L Loyd.