Full Disclosure: I have a bias for action! When others want to continue to discuss, analyze, question, plan, meet in a committee, research, further discuss, re-plan, outline, or create elaborate proposals, presentations, or otherwise, pontificate, I’d rather be on the ground doing, asking questions, testing my hypothesis, or otherwise, learning from my mistakes!
A piece of advice from mentor, Alan Weiss, stuck with me years ago – which I thought would be valuable for today’s Nour Noon Nugget: When You’re 60-80% Ready, Move! You can always figure out the remaining 20-40% as you go! I continue to meet way too many people who want their ideas to be perfect before they ever get out of the gate!
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough—that we should try again. —Julia Cameron
Guess, what? ZERO prize for second place in most of what we do professionally. Other people are doing jobs you’re more qualified to do because they took a chance and mustered up the courage to move forward with their ideas. Other people have gotten into great prospect doors and have cultivated profitable and productive relationships, while you’re still getting your perfect pitch together. Other people are raising capital, exploring mergers and acquisitions, delivering keynote speeches at marquis events, are moderating leadership retreats, are writing books, furthering their personal and professional growth – all because they moved!
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism. —Hannah Arendt
In the past twenty years of leading our firm, I’ve found that the final 20-40% of effort you put into whatever you’re working on, is seldom seen by the consumer of your efforts. Don’t misunderstand – I appreciate due diligence and quality work, more than most. I also believe in Version One is Better Than Version None!
Most of us tend to invest our time, effort, and resources in proportion to the perceived return on that investment – I think of it as Return on Impact (name of one of my previous books). Your labor, stress, energy, time, sweat, worry, all in the final 20-40% makes whatever you’re doing, often unnecessarily labor intensive, even before you get out of the gate! So, here is some mind blowing advice: STOP IT!
Stop trying to make everything you do perfect! Stop rewriting that article you’ve been trying to publish for six months for the eighth time. Stop reorganizing, wondering if you should have 22 slides instead of 20 in your presentation, two more stories or charts, or waiting until next week, what you can do this afternoon.
Perfectionism becomes a badge of honor with you playing the part of the suffering hero. —David D. Burns
Be professional, polished, and present. By the same token, move already. Your analysis is leading to your paralysis and you’re missing great market opportunities. Stop taking the easy route of “well, I sent them an email – they must not be interested!” Pick up the phone and call them, introduce yourself, plant seeds with your ideas, and push them to think or lead differently. As we (prayerfully) get Covid behind us, reach out to them for a cup of coffee or a meal to visit and get caught up on both sides. Plant seeds of your vision with relevant relationships. Doesn’t matter that it’s not fully baked. Learn from every interaction and improve it in the next conversation. Brilliant ideas are seldom realized in isolation.
Life is too short for regrets and waiting for anything to be perfect before you move! David Nour