Well here’s a post that’s going to be close to home for me. I’m going to feel a little called out. However, just because I struggle to follow this advice, does not mean it’s bad advice. A large number of highly successful people ascribe to this mentality, and I’ve been growing leaps and bounds in it.
Perfection is a Curse
In the Sims 4 there are traits. One trait is perfectionist. Tasks which create something take longer, but the quality is higher. However, it’s not a lot of time. Perfectionist doesn’t cause your sim to double over in doubt, and ponder, “Will this blackened bass be good enough for my guests? Is this painting worthy of an art gallery? Should I scrap the program I was creating?”
Perfectionists in real life are often stalling. They are stalling on their dreams, pushing them out into the future, saying, “I’ll do it when it’s perfect.”
It could also be skill based fear. My current series terrified me. It’s not the greatest thing I’ll ever write, but in my head, it was the pinnacle of my writing career. I finally published it after I realized this is just my first book (and a really bad break up). This will be my first series. My skills will differ greatly just between book one and book four.
Currently I’m holding up creating a theater YouTube series because I don’t have the skill to do shadow puppetry. For my day job (and my writing job), I want to create a newsletter, but I keep stalling because I don’t think it will be good enough. There’s also an accountability fear.
How Perfection Avoids Accountability
You’re talking about that podcast you want to do. You have a theme, you know what it will be about, but you sit down to come up with an outline, and you freeze. It’s like pre-emptive stage fright.
But it’s also an accountability issue. The podcast, once released, would be monthly. Every month you would have to sit down, belt out a podcast, and produce it, and release it. Everyone is watching, and if you slip, everyone is judging.
I’m going to have a half dozen newsletters. Four of them will be low maintenance. One of those four will be quarterly. I’m afraid of releasing a newsletter where accountability will be judged four times a year. But it has to be perfect, I’m not perfect at constructing newsletters, so I’ll wait. I bet you know that loop.
The Cure is Action
Break that procrastination/perfectionist loop. In the past month I’ve hammered out four landing sites. I sent it out to our sales people and my customers. I have people signed up now, waiting on my newsletter.
Did I execute perfectly? Not even close. My own newsletter has had a rocky start, though I’ve doubled my subscriptions since putting more effort into it. My click through, let alone sign up, is atrocious. But it’s out there, and I can only go up. Really. My click through is that bad, that I can only go up. I think, across the board, I’m at around 14%.
When it came to writing, once I published two books, the rest were pretty easy to get out there in the world. I published three books within two months. I’ll have three more out within the next six. It used to be a book every two years because it had to be perfect.
The cure to perfectionism and the fear it embodies is action. As the goddess of victory (or the shoe company) would say, “Just do it!” I’m not actually sure if Nike the goddess said it, but victory is putting yourself out there. One step at a time.
My next step is to get my newsletter out there this week. Friday. Keep an eye out. Sign up to keep my feet to the fire. It is a magnet, so you get a free story with it.
What is your next step? I’d love to hear about it!