While your colleagues and clients/customers have been on vacation, you have been working very hard and have diligently remained focused, committed and dedicated to continued success in your career and/or business. You have been pushing very hard yet you seem to be making little or no progress. Instead, you are feeling angry, fearful, anxious and stressed as well as distracted, discouraged and disappointed. What seemed like the most amazing opportunity now seems like an interminable challenge.
What are you doing wrong and what can you do to turn things around?
Whether you are creating a new product or service, working on succeeding in a new or enhanced role in your existing or another organization, being a first-time manager or leading a new or expanded team, starting a new or growing an established business or dealing with a new or established client/customer, you may be focusing too much time, energy and money on trying to be perfect rather than making slow, steady and consistent progress. If you are someone who sets extremely high standards for yourself and your work and who expects only the best from client/customers, contacts and colleagues, you may or may not have admitted to yourself that you are on the treadmill of perfection rather than on the road to progress. You are a firm believer in the notion that good is never good enough when it can always be better or best, that time and money spent on improving what is already superb is well spent and you may criticize others for their lack of concern for quality. Often, you are the one that others are waiting on to submit your contribution to a plan, report, project or presentation. While you may think that your attention to detail and concern for quality are assets that will only take you to the next level or make you money, others may see this as a liability that will keep you right where you are or cost you dearly. Indeed, your attempts at perfection could be pulling you back rather than pushing you forward.
As you continue to work on perfecting that one feature of a product, one offering in a service, one phase of a plan, one section of a report or one slide in a presentation, time is ticking and you have little or nothing to show for the time that you have spent on this pursuit of perfection. To others, you seem to still be in exactly the same place having made no progress. In fact, your striving for perfection will prevent you from moving forward and keep pulling you back into that place of “just a few more minutes to make it perfect”. Minutes become hours, hours become days and days become weeks. Before you know it, someone else has done a stellar job on your part of the work, received the reward and recognition and the team has moved on to something else. Your client/customer has decided to take their business to your competitor and sever their relationship with you. Your capability and credibility are in question and your reputation is damaged perhaps irreparably – all in the pursuit of perfection.
What would it be like for you to shift from perfection to progress? While progress may be measured in inches instead of miles, minutes rather than hours and slow and steady rather than fast and furious, you are always moving forward and never sliding backward. Progress can make you produce, perfection can make you procrastinate. Progress is reality, perfection is fantasy. Progress makes you feel like anything is possible, perfection makes you feel like nothing is possible. So, starting today, if you aim for progress a week from now you will be able to look back and see how far you have come and how much you have accomplished. However, if you pursue perfection, a week from now you will still be in exactly the same place with nothing accomplished. Make a commitment to the push of progress rather than the pull of perfection.