I’m a perfectionist.
I want everything I create to be, well… perfect.
Now, I’d like to say that over the years I’ve learned that focusing so much energy on making something perfect is a battle one can never win.
And while it’s true, I have learned that lesson – that hasn’t stopped me from trying.
So that said, here are five tactics that I (try to) use to help me avoid the pitfalls of perfectionism:
1. Keep it simple.
When it comes to a product or a concept, start with your big idea and then begin taking things away… See how simplified you can make things before you lose the essence of the idea. When you’ve got it down to it’s simplest form – you’ve got something to start with.
2. Strive to create “Minimally Viable Products.”
In other words, get your “product” (blog post, website, e-book, course, etc.) out into the marketplace as soon as possible. If it’s something that has “legs”, you can tweak the concept or idea in release updates, or expand on it in future products.
The concept of creating a “Minimally Viable Product” was a game-changer for me. It’s far better to put forth your best effort with the time and resources available than overcomplicate something and never launch it.
3. Let your audience guide you.
In conjunction with the idea of a “Minimally Viable Product,” let your audience guide you. They’ll let you know if something resonates – or if it’s a flop. Listen to them and take appropriate actions based on their feedback. Sometimes your audience will surprise you. But whatever you do – be sure and listen to what they have to say.
4. Don’t be afraid to let go.
I’ve struggled with this personally – and I’ve seen it happen far too often with clients over the years. Amazing products, ideas, tools, and strategies – all stuck in some kind of perfectionism purgatory because their creator just can’t let go.
Sometimes it’s because the we are afraid we’ve have not said (or done) everything we need to. Sometimes it’s simply because we have not said things well enough. Regardless, fear is at the root of this issue and is just another form of the “Resistance.”
So, don’t be afraid to let go and get your product out into the marketplace. It’s better to have your idea out there than stuck rattling around in your own head or going through another revision.
5. Commit to ship.
Perfect products don’t get shipped. Seth Godin talks a lot about “shipping” and Steven Pressfield goes on to summarize the importance of “shipping” in his book, “Do The Work” — in which he says:
“…finishing is the critical part of any project. If we can’t finish, all our work is for nothing.”
Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity (and the mother of procrastination).
See you in the trenches, my friends.