Creative LeadershipCreativity

Does It Have to Be Perfect?

I have friends who are perfectionists.  They will work for hours and hours just to make one small detail right.  It’s incredibly noble and I completely admire that kind of dedication.  The only problem?  They miss deadlines, they always make excuses why they’re late, and they’re almost out of business.

Perfection is wonderful, but with most things, it’s not realistic.  Don’t intentionally try to make mistakes, but do get the right perspective.

Fix the big stuff.  Make it as close to perfect as possible.  Do your very best.  But hit the deadline.  Ship.  Bring it home.  Land the plane.   Clients and employers want finished work – not the excuse that you were up all night adjusting the margin on page 14.

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  1. Great post Phil – I am reminded of the old newspaper adage “don’t get it right – get it written”.  It’s a career-limiting affliction, especially when coupled with procrastination…

  2. One concept I got from Beach’s An Hour on Sunday is that perfection is not the goal. Excellence is the goal. And excellence, according to her definition is doing the best you can with the resources available. Time, of course, is one of those resources.

  3. Nicely stated Phil. The dreaded affliction to be “perfect” in all that you do can lead to devastating results. What you believe you’re doing better than anyone else, can ultimately cost you achieving the goals of your passion. As a former “old-school” athlete – PERFECTION – was pounded into my head continually and I’m always having to maintain balance in my life because of this earlier training. Giving your best on a daily basis is all you can do, but when you’re forever attempting to be perfect with the best you give, that’s when the carpet can be yanked out from underneath you and you don’t understand why. Vince Lombardi once stated: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. The practice of “perfection” makes perfect!” How many times did I hear those words during my years as a football player?! Love your insights Phil. Keep it up! 

  4. I totally agree. I tell my marketing that the word “perfection” is not in our vocabulary. We strive for “excellence”, which is striving to be better than normal, working smarter and with more diligence. Why do we strive for perfection when our supervisors and clients do not even know what perfection is.

  5. One of the trends I’ve seen since entering the ‘church world’ is the pursuit of perfection, rather than the pursuit of effectiveness. 

    It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. We spend so long on getting it ‘right’ we loose track on what the ‘right’ is. 

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