Striving to do your very best is a good thing. The drive to excel can push and inspire you to do some pretty amazing things. That's good news. However, when that drive comes from wanting to be perfect all of the time, it can cause real problems.
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In truth, being a perfectionist may actually be hurting your business growth, not helping it. That's definitely not a consequence you want to experience. Before you can start overcoming perfectionism in business, though, you first have to understand how it may adversely affect your business.
How Being a Perfectionist is Hurting Your Business Growth
It may not be immediately apparent to you that your perfectionistic tendencies have a downside for your business.
So, let’s start by looking at four ways your perfectionism may be hurting your business — and/or you!
1. You Spend Way Too Much Time on Simple Tasks
Do you ever find yourself getting caught up in editing, tweaking, or re-doing emails or other small tasks? Do you put off working on revenue-generating tasks simply because of your drive to get all the little bits and pieces of your business perfect first? If so, this could be seriously hurting your bottom line.
Focusing too much time on the details means not enough time for the work that actually matters to your business growth.
2. You Don’t Take Risks
Fear of failure is at the root of most perfectionism. So, rather than risk doing a poor job or not reaching your goals, you simply don’t take risks in the first place. This means you’ll never actually get ahead in your business.
If taking risks is hard for you, it may be a good idea to delve a bit into your business mindset, as this could be contributing to your perfectionism more than you realize.A fear of failure is at the root of most perfectionism. So, rather than risk doing a poor job or not reaching your goals, you simply don’t take risks in the first place…and this means you’ll never actually get ahead in your business.Click To Tweet
3. You Work So Hard You Risk Burning Out
If you don’t get a hold of your perfectionist tendencies sooner rather than later, you run a serious risk of reaching full-on burnout. Obsessing over every little detail means working way too long and hard, and often means doing everything yourself because you fear that if you outsource, the quality will suffer (because obviously only you can do it perfectly!).
4. You Take Too Long to Send Big Stuff Out Into the World
In business, it’s often best to launch something imperfect than wait until it’s perfect. In the eyes of the perfectionist, it's not good enough unless it's perfect. That means you'll take too long to launch something or you'll never launch it because, well, it will NEVER be perfect!
Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn once said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late”. I love this!
So, remember that the sooner you send something out into the world, the sooner it can help people. This means you can start seeing what works and what doesn’t, and make tweaks that will make it even better!In business, it’s often best to launch something imperfect than wait until it’s perfect…because in your eyes, it may NEVER be perfect!Click To Tweet
4 Ways of Overcoming Perfectionism in Business
So, we’ve established that striving for perfection in business is often not a good thing.
The real question is — what can you do to begin overcoming perfectionism in business? I say to start small.
Chances are that your perfectionistic tendencies didn't develop overnight, right? That means you won't change your propensity for it overnight either. Changing one small behavior today and practicing it until it's a new habit will take time.
Here are four things you can try so that you can start kicking perfectionism to the curb.
1. Set small goals
The thought of having to produce the PERFECT thing can lead to procrastination, inaction, or overwhelm. Instead, break up big projects or tasks into smaller, more manageable SMART goals, and give yourself a firm timeline for when you need to meet those goals.
2. Practice being imperfect
What if you simply did a task, gave it a quick once-over, then called it a day?
In most instances, a few typos or imperfections really aren’t the end of the world. The more you see there’s no nuclear fallout from your mistakes, the easier it will be to let the little stuff go. This is good for your business and it’s good for your personal development as well. I promise!
3. Decide Ahead of Time Which Things Need to Be Perfect — and Which Don’t
A little bit of proactivity can be really helpful when it comes to changing your habits around perfectionism. In other words, plan in advance.
Think about the tasks that actually do in your business. Then decide which ones need to be relatively perfect. This will allow you to focus on those (few) tasks, and relax on all the other ones.
A pro tip here is to have a friend or colleague confirm your choices because, with your high standards, a little accountability goes a long way.
Delegating can be particularly hard for the perfectionist. But it’s important for overcoming perfectionism in business.
Think about the tasks where your perfectionistic tendencies really slow you down and delegate these to a team member or freelancer. It may be difficult at first, but you’ll find that as you do it, the world doesn’t blow up, you don’t lose clients, and you’re still profitable…and in fact, you’ll likely be even MORE profitable since you’re not getting in your own way.Delegating can be particularly hard for the perfectionist. But it’s also SO important for overcoming perfectionism in business.Click To Tweet
Throw Your Perfectionist Mindset to the Curb
I hope this post has made it clear to you that perfectionism in business usually isn’t a good thing. It can take a serious toll on your business, your personal life, and even your health. I think anyone would agree, that’s not a good thing!
I’d encourage you to think this week about 1-2 small changes you could make to help you overcome perfectionism in your business. While this might not be easy, I promise it will be worth it!
Thoughts? What changes are you going to try to make this week? Let me know below!
UPDATED on July 4, 2022