We’re to hard on ourselves. We often times convince ourselves that if we don’t have some measure of perfection in our work, it’s not worth it. Anything less than perfect is a failure. We talk ourselves out of what might be one of the biggest break throughs of our careers or lives.
The first thing we have to regularly practice to get over this bias of being perfectionist is expect imperfection. Expecting imperfection and truly understanding that it’s going to arrive, because it will, is a great step towards achievement. Once it arrives, accepting it and even embracing the imperfection helps you see the real work. You get to truly understand where to begin. If you don’t ever hit an imperfect moment, the work or goal is to easy. Recalibrate with yourself and ask internally, “is this a worthwhile goal if it’s not pushing me.”
We adopt a certain degree of planning perfectionism. An example of this can be seen in being overly ambitious in how we go after the steps to get there. Realistically if we took the goals we are so ambitious around and cut them in half, our success rate would nearly double. Endorphins would be released and we’d go after more. We need a certain degree of planning fallacy built in to our strategies to get out of our own heads. Again, the best way to do this is reassess the goal and cut it in half. I did this for a week and the next two weeks after. I achieved three times more in those three weeks than in any of my goals where I was over ambitious the weeks prior to my test.
Lastly, be bad at something. It teaches a very valuable lesson about accepting imperfection as a learn and relying less on perfectionism as the focal point of your work. Reduce you pressure of thinking you have to be great at everything, because you won’t be. I often share with my teams, if we focus on trying to win at everything, we’ll fail at everything. You just can’t do it. Yet, we try all the time to do it. It’s super beneficial to be bad at things. Once you embrace that, you’ll become a super collaborator with others because you’ll start to realize others are great at what you will always lack. You need to build in a regular practice in trying to be strategically incompetent.
Our main hurdle we face in ourselves is when we try to finish our super projects with perfectionism. We get convinced through that relationship we have internally, anything less is a failure. It’s a very bad relationship and super unhealthy. If we can just accept nothing will ever be perfect, then we will truly be able to enjoy the rewards that come through the discoveries along the way in our work/life goals.
Above, the picture of a race I finished I have a medal around my neck that is for 2nd place, not 1st. You could with confidence say that was not a perfect race because I only got second. The true win however was less about being #1. It was in finishing this race which was part of a series of several races to win the certificate and coin in my hand. I received three rewards that day, not just one.