Letting go of Perfection

Is perfect worth it?

Love or loathe it, Facebook is one of the most successful businesses of our age and emblazoned on its office walls are a series of powerful company values. One is “done is better than perfect”. Another, “move fast and break things”. Could Mark Zuckerberg’s rejection of perfection be key to the success of this trailblazing company?

Over the course of my years coaching and training business people, I’ve found that conscientious people can have a tendency to strive for perfection. Yet far from driving success, this mentality can prevent it. Seeking perfection can put an enormous and unnecessary strain on a person and this strain leads to ineffectiveness, thus taking you further from the desired levels of achievement. Equally, in aiming for perfection, you can hold back opinions or ideas and avoid taking initiative for fear of being ‘wrong’. Self-doubt and ‘am I good enough’ kick in. In discussions, you self-censor your valuable knowledge, experience and creativity because you worry that you haven’t got ‘the right answer’. Right according to whom, anyway?

Instead, take a leaf out of Zuckerberg’s (Face)book. Their irreverent values represent an ethos of how to do business. Be bold. Be realistic. Life isn’t perfect – nor are people. Things are often ambiguous. Struggle and mistakes are all part of the process of growth, development and achievement. If we embrace them, we (and our organisations) benefit from the ‘real’ us – and we stop limiting ourselves. We are free to direct our energy into ‘being ourselves’ and letting our individual qualities shine and be seen.

But doesn’t perfectionism go hand-in-hand with setting the bar high? Yes – yet that doesn’t make it any less debilitating. You can let go of perfectionism and still have high standards – the difference is, those standards take into account the imperfect nature of things and they recognise reality more. Being ‘not perfect’ allows you to express yourself more freely, experiment, take risks and, ultimately, achieve more than the ‘perfectionist you’ ever could.

If you’re interested in putting on Tall Spaghetti workshops or coaching in your business to help your employees to make best use of their non-vocational skills, then give me a call on 07876 495 968 or fill in the quick contact form.

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