Progress over Perfection

Holding yourself to an unrealistic standard will keep you from growing and it’s exhausting! Call it what you want – perfectionism, analysis paralysis, whatever. Perfect doesn’t exist and waiting until you know every detail or analyzing every possible outcome before making a move will keep you exactly where you are.

Does this sound all too familiar? Where is this coming up for you? Are you starting a new position or just looking for more efficiency in your day? Below are some tips for ditching perfectionism so you can start seeing some progress.

Just hit send: Are you agonizing over the wording of emails? Rewriting draft after draft because what you’re working on just doesn’t feel or sound right? I’m not suggesting you send out typo-ridden drafts or anything that isn’t well thought out. But there is beauty in just getting something out there and eliciting feedback instead of endless editing and rewriting. You will never know exactly what the person on the receiving end is looking for in your finished product. All that is within your control is knowing your audience, creating an outstanding product, and being open to feedback. Have confidence in your work product, hit send, and move on to the next project.

Decision making: Learn to evaluate decisions. How important is it? Lesser decisions don’t need to be overthought. Try giving yourself a time limit on making certain categories of decisions. For example, organize decisions by level of importance. Less important decisions get no more than x amount of time allotted to thinking/analyzing/deliberating.

Management: Are you and your team spending hours in endless meetings and not making any progress? Take the lead. Every decision doesn’t need to be a group decision. Learn to take the lead and make the call on smaller issues at work so that your team can focus on bigger decisions and tasks.

Career moves: Thinking about making a career move or change? Feeling stuck where you are despite your best efforts? Start by taking small steps that you can implement today. You can gather information and talk with people who are doing what you would like to do, but nothing beats just doing it and seeing if you like it. I’m not suggesting that you quit your job today and jump into the unknown, but instead, find ways to test the waters while keeping your day job. Is there a project at work you can take on that’s more in line with your goals? Can you volunteer your time outside of your organization to learn new skills? Taking these small but concrete steps will keep you moving toward your goal and give you a confidence boost.

The bottom line is that you can spend all the time in the world gathering facts and information to make the right decision or the right move, but if you never act, you’re not going anywhere. Plus you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy. Progress is the only way forward. So get out there and make some moves!

-R

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