I’m obsessed with figuring out the places where we hold ourselves back from getting visible and building the vision-board version of our businesses, and perfectionism is one of the worst culprits of all.
We can’t build a brand and find our dream clients when we’re in thinking mode, learning mode, or busywork mode…it happens when we’re in action mode.
But tell me if you relate…
You have a really great idea for getting people’s attention or making money (maybe that’s starting a blog or creating a digital product), but rather than just getting out there with it, you…
- Spend tons of time figuring out the “how” — the tech, the best practices, the “how other people have done it” stuff.
- You get started, but you get distracted and it never gets finished.
- It sits on your hard drive because it’s not yet perfect.
(One of the reasons my computer is running out of space has got to be that it’s littered with great ideas I never followed through to completion.)
If this sounds like you, you might be suffering from perfectionism. We think that’s a good thing (who doesn’t want to put perfect things into the world?) but it’s actually a primary excuse for remaining invisible.
Sometimes there are deep psychological reasons we suffer from perfectionism (and I’m not a psychologist or a life coach so I can’t help you work through those issues, but it’s good to be aware if that’s the case).
My wheelhouse is helping people with branding, and I know that there’s no way you can build your dream business, brand bravely, and get visible if you’re not creating things and putting them out there.
Sometimes it just takes a mind shift. So here are a few I’ve made to get over it and get on with it…
1. Be Willing To Be Wrong
This is a lesson I learned from Seth Godin:
“The reason you’re stuck is you want to be right. So if you’re willing to be wrong, then you’re not stuck anymore, because all you have to do is something that’s wrong. The most direct way to get unstuck is to do things you don’t think will work, discover that you’re correct that they don’t work, and then do something else. If you can continually do things that aren’t going to work, you will soon find something that will. And your subconscious will get tired of doing things that aren’t working so it will find the guts to do the brave, emotionally intelligent, generous emotional labor to create something that will work. Most of the time when we’re stuck, A) we don’t want to be wrong and B) we don’t want to do something that’s hard, or risky. So if you can suspend those things, you instantly get unstuck.”Being willing to be wrong means we open ourselves up to learning from failure as a way to move forward... and failure a better teacher than any course or guru's advice.Click To Tweet
2. Think About The People Who Need You
Inside of your brain is a solution to the pain someone is suffering from right now. They have a problem and you have answers–and they need you.
What they don’t need is for you to build a fancier website first or do more 37 more hours of research… they need you now.When perfectionism is holding you back, think about the people who need your help (who don't care if you're not perfect.) Click To Tweet
3. Adopt A “Push It Before It’s Perfect” Policy
We all want to create value and things of great quality. (I’m not suggesting that you slap any old thing together and put it out there.)
But we can allow ourselves the room to experiment, grow, and improve as we go.
I always aim to push it before it’s perfect because for perfectionists, we get things to 95% and then take forever to push ourselves that last 5%.
So I always push things at 95% and tell myself, “I’ll make this fancier later.”
For example, there are 80 billion things about my website that bug me–I’ve got a long list of things I need and want to improve and I get to those when I have breaks in my schedule. People who design websites for other people (like me) often struggle with their own websites. They’d rather have an under construction sign on their homepage than show the world they’re not perfect. But people with under construction signs are invisible.
I don’t let not having a perfect website stop me from showing up on this blog and doing my best to help others.
If I look back at the work I did 10 years ago I KNOW I’d cringe, I’d want to edit everything. But back then I was helping people just as I am today. 10 years from now I’ll be better than I am today.
What I’ll never be is perfect.
It’s pretty simple: perfection is an excuse for not showing up. Being willing to be imperfect is the way to get visible.
One thing that’s not said often enough is that IT’S OKAY TO GROW AS YOU GO. This means being vulnerable and brave enough to put something not-perfect out there and then look back on it and tell people about it: “Man, I created a real stink burger there didn’t I? But here’s what I learned…” Or maybe not, maybe it won’t be a stinkburger at all (it probably won’t be a stinkburger).
We desperately need you, perfectionists of the world!
The sad thing is, the perfectionists of the world are the ones who have a genuine desire to create real value. We’re all bombarded with low-value stuff all day every day–the people who are cranking out crap don’t care the way perfectionists do. We need perfectionists to show up and lead us… and we’re not going to care that you made a typo in the third paragraph.
99% of the Battle for Business Success Is Having The Right Mindset
In my book, The Client Attraction Mindset, I share all of my “Aha!” moments, paradigm shifts, and exercises that helped me go from learning mode, research mode, “I’m scared shitless” mode and put a real plan into action that helped me attract clients I love.
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.