What Is Perfection Costing Your Business?

As leaders, we are very visible.  

We are visible to our clients, team, community, competitors, and vendors.  

When things go well, we are happy for them to see our success.  

However, that happiness is a double-edged sword. It can also lead us to hesitate on taking the next risk for fear that these same watchers will see our mistakes. 

This leads us to believe we must appear perfect to the world, and in turn, can stifle our growth and creativity. 

The solution? Brian Johnson, the founder of Heroic, says, “The moment we allow ourselves to be less than perfect, we open ourselves up to the opportunity to grow.” 

This idea has been pervasive throughout history:

”No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke.”  – Bhagavad Gita

“Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” – Harry S. Truman

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.” – John Ruskin,The Stones Of Venice’

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador DaliA few years back, on the “Momentum Millionaire Podcast,” I was speaking with Attila Dobai about his love of offroading in his Jeep. And he spoke about how offroading is a lot like building a business. You go out offroading and things break. So, you rebuild it and then you break it again. And the cycle repeats. And as Attila shares –  it’s just like business. Mistakes happen. Things break. But you learn and you make improvements.

You can also hear the idea in Carol Dwek’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, as she explores the idea of a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset. Carol said, “For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.” (Referring to those with a growth mindset.)

How do we get to the point where we allow ourselves to “break” things?

How do we get over that need for perfection – which doesn’t exist – and just take the leap? 

Here’s an activity that I find myself doing, and today, I want you to try it. 

I encourage you to create a list for yourself. In the first column (on the left), list your five biggest mistakes. Then in the second column (center), list the growth you were attempting or the risk you were taking; in the third column (on the right), list the benefit you received, the growth you made, the lesson that you learned. 

Here’s an example of what it looks like: 

MistakeRiskBenefit
Example:Paid $3000/month to hire a sales team but did not have a solid pipeline of leads for them to work. 
I was gearing up for growth and moving into serving a new market. 

I created that leads pipeline, learned to trust myself and my own process, and clarified what I actually needed.
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5

Next, take a moment to capture what you are learning from this exercise – because the exercise itself is a learning opportunity. Do you see any patterns? Areas for concern? Repeated mistakes? (Feel free to send me a message – just hit reply – and let me know what you learned.)

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