One of the things that catches up the entrepreneurs I work with is perfectionism. I see this almost every day, an unwillingness to launch a product, produce a video, do a live event, publish a book, launch a website unless it is perfectly done. The fear of failure is often immense. I think there are a lot of reasons for that, and I know that it is a peculiarity of American culture much more than in other cultures. We seek to be entrepreneurs who always shine, don’t make mistakes, and look perfectly in control.
The problem is, holding perfectionism as your goal means that you are always chasing your tail. Just like a puppy who goes round and round until exhausted, you chase after yourself. You go round and round, when what you want to do is move forward. I’ve had clients who take months to write perfect copy for a website launch, losing tons of time in building their list. I’ve had more than one mompreneur resolutely stay exactly where she is in her business, because every single time she will chose to service her family rather than her business, indulging in a fantasy of being the perfect mom.
It’s my job to help entrepreneurs lose that habit of chasing perfection. Replace perfection with curiosity. You give yourself much more opportunity for growth. You quit using perfection as your excuse.
- Consider launching your website with the copy you have right now. As the weeks go by, see how it draws people (or not) and change the copy if you need to. Websites are, in fact, never done. It doesn’t matter if your website isn’t perfect. It does matter if your website isn’t launched.
- Consider baking one less set of brownies for your child’s homeroom, or missing one out of hundreds of sports events. Instead, take that hour to complete and launch a new product or service offer, and consider that being a financially successful mompreneur might be just as important a model for your child than the memory of an extra set of brownies. Which serves you and your child more?
In Stephen Mitchell’s The Second Book of the Tao is a verse I often read:
“The mature person is like a good archer;
When he misses the bull’s-eye,
he turns around and seeks
the reason for his failure in himself.”
We have total responsibility for what we do. When we get stuck in seeking perfection, we use it to hide, to keep ourselves from being responsible. Instead of the problem being within us, we look for an outside person or event to blame. It’s much easier to say “I’m just not sure if the web copy says what I want it to say” than it is to to say “I’m scared to move forward.” It’s much easier to say “Oh, I have to cancel our meeting, I have a soccer practice to attend” than it is to say “I’m going to get this done now, it is equally or more important for me and my child.”
If you want to fail as an entrepreneur, practice perfectionism. If you want to make money, practice shooting the archer’s bow, and keep practicing until it hits the mark. Learning from what doesn’t work is just as important as hitting the bull’s eye first time out.
(c) Sue Painter