your job is to shine. not to be perfect.

are you a perfectionist?

do you maybe have a bit of a perfectionist streak somewhere?

perfectionist: a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection.

it can come in to play in many ways in your biz, and it’s not inherently a bad thing. i think it is good to have high standards – to want to put your best work out there.

the trouble is when we don’t let ourselves put something out there if it is not perfect, or worse… if we measure our self-worth by an unobtainable idea of perfection.

it’s the whole “it’s not good enough/i’m not good enough” fear manifesting itself in our biz through perfectionism.

and it’s the stuff that can get in the way of you shining your light in this world.

so what do you do?

1. awareness

the first step is to see where it is happening. that need for perfection can pop up in all sorts of ways, in all sorts of places… and it is different for everyone.

try to take notice of where perfectionism might be rearing its head in your biz. ask yourself – is this really not good enough? or am i trying to obtain the unobtainable perfection?

for me, i see it popping up in two ways. the first is when i spend far too long tweaking and tweaking instead of just putting something out there. and the other is when i feel i haven’t reached a goal – i call this my A+ student problem: anything less than an A+ is not good enough – and that’s the bit that affects my self-worth.

now that i am aware of those things i can more easily let them go! i catch myself doing the tweaking thing and force myself to stop and press send/publish/whatever.  and i try not to set “number” goals because they usually backfire into my A+ problem;  instead i set goals like putting a certain product out there or helping people in a certain way.

2. embrace imperfection

for so many parts of our business, the gold is in just putting things out there, regardless of whether it is ready yet, or perfect enough yet.

when we put our stuff out there we see how people respond, we learn what works and what doesn’t, we figure out what we can do to make it better… we get clarity!

plus, when we put stuff out there that is not perfect yet, we are not so attached to it that we don’t want to make changes.

for instance if we create a product and spend tonnes of time and money and energy and emotion perfecting and perfecting, only to find out it’s not quite right, it is really hard to give ourselves permission to change it.

however, if we put it out in all of its imperfect glory ON PURPOSE, knowing that what we learn will go into making awesome tweaks and improvements that will help us get more customers and make more money, it is actually quite fun to be imperfect!

try considering and actually calling what you are putting out a beta test, prototype, mock-up, “portfolio building” offer,  pre-release, or some other title that makes you feel super comfy with releasing something in an imperfect state.

3. it’s only a picture

that state of perfection that you are trying to achieve is simply a picture in your mind. you have an idea of what you want your thing to look like, be like, feel like, sound like, or work like. and that picture is based on what you know, your experiences, your expertise… maybe what you have seen other people do.

can you picture that perfection in your mind?

well your customers can’t. they can’t see your picture.

so they will never know the million things that are wrong with it, or the parts that didn’t turn out the way you hoped, or the things that didn’t work, or the stuff that is missing.

in fact they have their own picture in their mind of what they are expecting, and generally it involves a solution to their problem. so if they get that, they will be happy with whatever you present them with!

which brings us to…

4. focus on helping people

our need for perfection can be a bit obsessive if we let it. (says the girl who will spend hours tweaking something that doesn’t need tweaking!)

let’s use that obsessive focus for good instead of evil! ha. let’s transfer it to helping people instead of tweaking or perfecting or beating ourselves up for not being perfect enough.

our customers have come to us because in their eyes we are the people who will help them or provide what they need. so let’s focus on doing that.

instead of focusing on perfection, let’s focus on helping people, being of service, genuinely connecting, and delighting our customers.

5. switch your mantra

for whichever little perfectionist streaks you have, try to switch your mantra or tell yourself a new story.

for instance, i used to worry a lot about putting imperfect stuff out there until i realized that i was going to be making changes to it anyhow as i gained more clarity and more information.

the mantra that helps me with that is:

it’s not a tattoo.

this one mantra has probably helped me with my perfectionist tweaking more than anything. it reminds me that nothing i am doing in my biz is permanent, it’s not a tattoo. it’s going to change and evolve and grow.

here are a few others that might help you:

  • done is better than perfect
  • imperfect action is better than perfect inaction
  • focus on progress not perfection
  • what you do does not have to be perfect to be helpful

remember, your job isn’t about being perfect. in fact being an entrepreneur is all about being imperfect… it’s about learning how to best share your purpose, your gifts, your light with the world, knowing that each time you do you take one more step on your journey.

remember the lighthouse…

your job is to shine, not be perfect.

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karen guntonComment