Monday, July 31, 2006

Perfection Paralysis

Perfection Paralysis

Did your dad tell you that practice makes perfect?  Mine did.  He was a great guy with a very strict work ethic.  I can still hear him saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”  By right, he meant perfect. Now, it’s a wonderful sentiment but very difficult to live by.  Throughout my work life I’ve gotten feedback that generally stated my work was thorough and thoughtful, if only it didn’t take so long to produce.

Somewhere along the way I realized that seeking perfection is actually a way to sabotage myself.   Striving for the perfect sentence, marketing ad, or article slows me down until I’m paralyzed and unable to even address, much less, complete the task.

I’m having that sort of struggle now as I try to complete a new mini-course on retainer fees.  Days and days of research, writing and editing, and I’m still not satisfied with the outcome.  Not because it’s not good.  It is.  Because it’s not perfect.

Talking with my husband last night gave me a renewed sense of perspective and helped me plot a way out of "perfection paralysis".  Hearing him talk about waiting to publish our romance book until it was perfect reminded me of, well, me.  He was stalling because of fear that someone would find his work lacking.  I am delaying the new mini-course for the same reason.

Banish Fear

Then I remembered all the kudos I’d gotten over the years for my work.  A lot of work was close to perfect, some of it nowhere near perfection in my eyes; yet, people still found value and appreciated it.  I banished  my fears of being judged.  I’m ready to finish the course.

What About You?

What fears are keeping you from starting or finishing something?  What negative assumptions are playing like a broken record in the back of your head?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!



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