Killer Perfection


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I’ve been a card-carrying perfectionist all my life. For decades I was proud of it. Every single aspect of my life, and certainly my career, had to be just right. I was driven beyond belief to make sure everything was perfect.

Every business plan, go-to-market strategy, positioning story and market launch had to live up to my perfectionist expectations. That meant that every “I” was dotted and every “T” crossed. Every powerpoint and product sheet was perfect, every word in every press release was agonized over, every graphic, caption, color and font planned ( make that agonized over) for its ultimate impact.

I was so proud of my perfection – until a friend helped me realize the truth.

I was driving people around me nuts.

The truth is that the old 80/20 or 90/10 rule really is true. That last 10 to 20% of the journey to perfection will kill you. I know that now. In reality, no one knows about or notices that last 10 to 20% – except you. Reaching perfection can suck your resources dry. Perfection also takes a lot of time – and in today’s dynamic markets, we must evolve too quickly for perfection to be the ultimate goal.

It’s not just about the time and resources spent in the quest for perfection. It’s also about the stress caused to those around us. Perfection is a form of Gravity, based on our own very personal perspectives. What we think is perfect may not be (and most likely isn’t) what another sees as perfect. in striving for perfection we’re trying to control others to meet our standards – driving everyone crazy in the pursuit of something that may or may not matter to anyone but us.

Today, I know that my pursuit of perfection in every aspect of my life was the result of some old beleifs that limited me. Today, I’m learning to be imperfect.

You heard me right. I’m learning to embrace imperfection.

Here are three steps I’m taking to be more flexible, more productive and a better leader!

  1. I’m letting go of my control-freak self. The problem with control freaks is that they drive the rest of the world crazy in the name of “well done”. Just because I see something needing to be done in one way doesn’t mean that another way to do it that’s just as effective. By pushing others to do things in one specific way to reach a perfect goal – mine – the level of frustration rises. That’s not leadership – that’s control. I’m learning to allow others to choose their own way, their own approach, as long as we reach the same goal.
  2. I’m learning when to call it “good enough”. All that nitpicking to reach the final state of perfection wastes valuable time – time that can be used to listen to your markets and adapt, time to spend on other pursuits. If we are focused on perfection ( based on what we knew yesterday), we can’t focus on the future and shifting to meet the new needs of our customers. I’m learning that good enough really is. Period. That doesn’t mean low quality – it does mean good enough with high standards.
  3. I’m celebrating the achievement. I think this is one of my biggest lessons. I remember launching companies and products to great success. Yet I never celebrated. I was too busy looking at all the mistakes; the phrase I didn’t like on the website or in the press release, the graphic that wasn’t quite right, the sales book that was missing one objection. I’m learning to take the time to celebrate even small achievements. To accept success – even if it isn’t quite perfect.

Want to learn more about the Gravity of perception and how it’s impacting yourself?

I’d love to hear from you. Together we can learn the value of being, well, imperfect.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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