I just read this post from a friend and filmmaker about perfection.
The only time you’re going to do something perfectly from the beginning is when the task is mechanical and clearly outlined by someone who has done this exact thing before.
It hit way too close to home.
I didn’t realize until recently (my wife started constantly pointing it out) that I tend not to do or finish things when I don’t think they will be done perfectly.
There’s a particular project I’m currently trying to ship ASAP that requires a lot of important details and things I really, really want to make sure I get right. I’m worried that coming up short might disappoint customers, and I’m worried about not knowing some of these details and being embarrassed in front of my customers.
(Hell, I’m afraid to even mention what this vague project is because I don’t want anyone to know about it until it’s successful. Heaven forbid I appear imperfect to others…)
But my wife keeps telling me “it’s fine, just do it. It will work!” I can hear her voice in my head as I type this.
Back in school I had one of the best accounting jobs a college kid could ask for, at a local tech company. I shared a cubicle with one of the hardest working and smartest people I’ve ever known. The guy could just get shit done while simultaneously maintaining the highest levels of perfection.
His reports were beautiful, professional, and sounded like there were written by some 45 year old career executive, not a young accounting intern.
I never came close to keeping up. We worked there together for almost 2 years and my constant feeling of inferiority notched my desire for perfection up about 1000 degrees.
This has not served me well.
My friend always knew he was headed to the corporate world. The world of professionalism, polish, and appearance. As for me, I didn’t last long in corporate America because I couldn’t stand it.
But in the wild west of entrepreneurship where I stand, perfectionism will literally kill your business. It serves no purpose and is a self-imposed death sentence.
Trying to write on this blog every weekday has been a small way of fighting perfectionism. The goal is to write for myself, so it doesn’t matter how good a post is. If other people happen to read anything that’s just a nice bonus.
Nothing here to end with other than a personal reminder to ship earlier than expected, to not underestimate one’s self, and to realize that most things start off as an embarrassment to the creator.