Why perfectionism will kill your success as an entrepreneur
Let me start with a confession: I am recovering from a bad case of perfectionism.
You may know this affliction – perhaps you have it too. If so, we’re not alone.
This is an issue that entrepreneurs suffer from on a daily basis.
Symptoms of entrepreneurial perfectionism include the following:
2) A burning desire to learn everything there is to know before you try something new such as Twitter, podcasting, direct mail marketing, building a funnel, etc.
3) A stinging feeling of guilt and inadequacy if anyone lets you know you have a typo or they unsubscribe from your list or stops working with you as a client.
5) A numbing obsession with judging and measuring yourself by the things you haven’t accomplished, rather than what you have. For example, this week you got 95% of your To-Do list completed and you beat yourself up for the 5% you didn’t have time to finish.
6) An irritating tendency to avoid situations where you might mess up. As a result, you don’t take risks and you tend to procrastinate making decisions about where to go in your business. Fear holds you back because you don’t want to do the “wrong thing.”
And – ugh! – with all of those symptoms of our unrealistic, overly-lofty goals and negative self-talk, it’s no wonder that the disease of perfectionism:
- Makes us feel bad about ourselves, often with feelings of guilt and anxiety.
- Leads to procrastination, indecision, and non-action.
The high price of perfectionism for entrepreneurs
In addition to risking your own mental well-being, physical health, and relationships with others, perfectionism will greatly limit your success as an entrepreneur and, most likely, it will keep you poor.
I know this is a bitter pill to swallow.
For those of us who hate to make mistakes and are scared to let anything out of our sight that isn’t 100% error free, this feels like a defeat.
But here is a truism for entrepreneurs: to accelerate your business, you must be willing to take risks, put your ideas out into the world quickly, and fail fast.
Unfortunately, perfectionists spend so much time on each project that they actually become inefficient because they become lost in the details, losing sight of the bigger picture.
For example, let’s say you are trying to launch an online course. As a perfectionist, you will get stuck proofreading your materials for the hundredth time or editing your modules for every single “um” and “ah,”
Your obsessive attention to detail actually begins to cost you money because not only are you not getting your course out into the world, but you are also wasting time that should be spent on other areas of your business.
Perfectionism will keep you from reaching your business goals because you spend too much time on nit-picky tasks that don’t make you money instead of investing in higher payoff activities.
Perfectionism is also a way that you are working to stay small
We use our obsessing over typos to keep us from being bigger in the world.
Inaction is safe, Obsessing over details is safe. Not getting things out there is safe.
Because when you don’t take action to pitch that publication, write the book, film that webinar, cold call that dream client, get that new website up, you don’t have to face possible criticism.
However, the longer you procrastinate, the more difficult it becomes to create the kind of success you really want for yourself.
Here’s the good news. This disease has a cure.
And I’m going to explain how to overcome perfectionism.
Entrepreneurs can overcome perfectionism
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
And if you are a perfectionist, you’re not going to like it.
Believe me – I am still getting used to the idea.
Here it is: As an entrepreneur, action is more important than perfection.
Mark Cuban put it perfectly when he said, “Perfection is the enemy of profitability. Perfection is the enemy of success. You don’t need to be perfect, because nobody is.”
In business, good-enough is actually better than perfect.
This is because business success thrives on speed. And, it requires ongoing, consistent action.
Believe it or not, it’s better to get something out there that is good enough rather than to not release it all because you are trying to make it perfect.
In fact, there is no such thing as perfection. You will always find flaws, no matter how hard you try to eliminate them.
And, yes, you may get an e-mail or two back telling you about a typo or grammatical error. If you want, shoot them an e-mail and say “thank-you for helping me proofread!”
And you may even launch a new service, product, or course that no one buys. Or someone could complain to you or ask for a refund.
I know, I know.
This sounds terrible, horrible, the worst thing that ever happened to you.
You’ll have to run away and hide from the world forever.
But, I promise you – as an entrepreneur, this is not the worst thing.
It’s actually GOOD news for your company because you just learned from your audience what didn’t work and what they don’t want.
You can take this information and make something that your ideal client actually wants. And, when you get it right, you’ll make tons of money!
So, stop holding out for perfection. It’s never going to arrive. Instead, create great stuff (not perfect) and take action again and again and again.
Don’t let your need to be perfect hold you back any longer from the success you desire.
Entrepreneurs: cure your perfectionism with action
Here it is: If you are engaged in an activity and start to obsess over the details or get frustrated because it’s not “perfect,” ask yourself questions such as:
- “Instead of revising this one more time, can I generate more income if I were to spend the next hour on something else?“
- “Instead of trying to do this all myself, can I get someone to help me finish it? It’s ok for me to delegate.”
- Instead of telling myself that I am a bad person, how can I be kind to myself and finish this up so I can get it into the world?
Then, move into action.
Perfectionism holds you back, so let it go.
Taking action is what will allow you to reach the success you desire.
Imperfect action is always better than perfect inaction.
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