Is Perfectionism Holding Back Your Business Growth?

By Jane Atkinson

Maybe you’ve been there before…

You are knee-deep in a project, and you keep tweaking and refining and adjusting, going round and round in circles until you just want to throw the whole thing away and start over!

Does that sound familiar?

Dan Sullivan talks about getting projects to 80% before handing them off to the team. I have started to adopt this in all areas of my life.

My husband and I are renovating a cottage. We had some leftover flooring, so we decided to replace the floor in the shed (which will likely be torn down in a year or two). We took Sullivan’s advice and got it 80% done. This is far below my husband’s normal level of finishing (he’s a fussy craftsman who likes to get things just right). But I knew that if his perfectionism kicked in, a one-hour project would become three. Instead, we finished very quickly.

Does it matter that the edges aren’t perfectly aligned behind the beer fridge and washer? Heck no! Not even a little bit.

80% – done!

You’ve heard lots of quotes about perfectionism, but I especially like this one:

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” – Leo Tolstoy

And if you’ve ever written a book, you know how difficult it can be if you get into an “editing to perfection” cycle. Sure you want the book to be great, but what if your perfectionism stops it from ever being done?

Tim Herrera wrote this week for the NY Times about a concept called M.F.D., that stands for Mostly Fine Decision. The M.F.D. is the minimum outcome you’re willing to accept as a consequence of a decision. It’s what you’d be perfectly fine with, rather than the outcome that would be perfect.

You’ve heard that phrase, “Done is better than perfect”? In most cases, it is!

Please know I’m not advocating for sub-quality content. I want your work to be fabulous; but what if fabulous didn’t require quite as much effort?

Leadership expert Dan Owalabi is an awesome client of mine. He and his business manager Jill Sisson used to send a weekly video to his followers, which was a great idea since Jill has a background in video production. Jill spent many hours perfecting each video. Yet, when they stopped to assess whether or not this resulted in bookings, the answer was “no”. Instead, bookings came from email outreach and live networking. As a result, they decided to release fewer and simpler videos and put more efforts into driving sales.

Guess what? It’s working!

I know clients who have spent up to 10 hours each week on their email newsletter. They spent an overwhelming amount of time trying to include several different elements. When they cut back to one message, it was like a huge weight had been lifted. They were freed up for other business development. Besides, their clients probably appreciated less reading!

Is Perfectionism Bogging You Down?

What are you doing that could be done in less time, leaving you to concentrate on higher pay-off activities?

What could you drop entirely off your “to-do” list because it’s not paying off?

We’d love to hear one thing that you’ve cleared off your list – please come over to our Facebook page or comment below and let us know.

See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!