Have you ever had a great idea but been too scared to start? Or have you ever really wanted to do something, but doubted your ability to do it? If you can say yes to either of these questions and haven’t started what you want to start, this one thing could be holding you back…PERFECTIONISM!!! You may be thinking, “I’m not a perfectionist. I just feel that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” That old adage is surely true, but perfectionism comes into play because you are the one who determines when something is done “right.”
Perfectionism can convince you to never get started. It can tell you that you are not good enough. And when you think you are not good enough, that fear will hold you back. And if you are a bit of perfectionist, not only will you have a hard time starting things, you will also have a hard time finishing things. Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. And if you want to be productive, you have to move past your perfectionism.
In Peter Bregman’s book titled 18 Minutes, he provided three great ways to getting over perfectionism. If you can do these three things, you can replace your perfectionism with productivity and make the work you do each day really add up to something big. Let’s look at the three ways now.
1. Don’t Try To Get It Right In One Big Step. Just Get It Going.
Perhaps you won’t start that dream of yours because you are trying to figure out the one big step that will make it perfect. You have to think it out every way possible to find the perfect answer. I believe the perfect answer is an illusion. What you can find is a good answer and implement that. The point is to just get it going. When you start something, you can test if it is working, learn from it, tweak it, and make it better. You have to iterate over the solution you come up with and make it better each time. This isn’t one big step, it is a bunch of tiny steps over and over again. Don’t let the search for the perfect answer or solution stop you from getting started. Just get it going.
2. Do What Feels Right To You, Not To Others.
It has been said that if you want to find a good solution or solve a problem, solve a problem that you have yourself. And how do you know when you have solved that problem…when it feels right to you. Have you ever been doing something and said, “Good enough”? You’re goal shouldn’t be to get it right. It should be to get it often. And when you get it often, eventually you will get it “right,” at least by your own standards.
3. Choose Your Friends, Co-Workers, And Bosses Wisely.
Have you ever heard someone say, “You are the product of the five people you hang out with”? I believe this to be true, because their standards tend to become your standards. If they are perfectionists, you will be a bit of a perfectionist. If you have the right people in your life, they will help you remove the obstacles that prevent you from doing your very best. Choose the people you hang with carefully as they could be preventing you from being your best.
The key takeaways here are that perfection is the enemy of productivity and done is better than perfect. It is much better to get started on something than to sit back and never start because you doubt your ability to do it “right.” You need to understand that getting something started and to the “Good enough” state is much better than never starting at all. You may think you will fail and that failure is a bad thing. But failure is a good thing. It means you got started. And getting started is critical to get past your perfectionism and make any real progress. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. Go out there, get started on your dream, iterate over the best approaches, and know when something is “Good enough.”
If you want to pick up Peter Bregman’s book, you can get it here via my affiliate Amazon link: