Find an audio version of this post here or on your favourite podcast app (Inspiritment from Jo Koepke)
I tried to start this post numerous times but procrastinated over finding the perfect way to start. The irony is not lost on me! Perfectionism does not have the same stranglehold on me that it once did but the impact is still felt. I know that I am not alone in this. At the Global Leadership Summit last year, Craig Groeschel spoke on this concept of ‘good enough to move on’ and not letting the quest for perfection stop you moving forward. This birthed ‘progress over perfection’ as part of my 2020 manifesto.
At what point does taking the time to pursue excellence cross over into a quest for perfection that never ends? This is the wrestle I face. I hold myself to a high standard. I want to add value through the words I write, the talks I give and the programs I create and present them well. Excellence is possible but not always required in every situation. Perfection is not possible and is actually never needed.
Do you know what doesn’t bring value or serve anyone? Words that remain trapped in my computer in endless cycles of editing. Coaching programs never launched because they supposedly need more ‘tweaks’ first. Dreams and ideas never fleshed out and started because of the fear of failure.
My daily and weekly ‘big 3’ tasks focus on making progress towards my goals. I aim to identify the next step and take it- putting in effort for quality but not expecting it to be perfect before taking the next step. This applies to the habit goals I am cultivating as well as for the projects and achievement goals I am working towards.
Please don’t be under any illusion that this is easy for me or that I think this way every day! Procrastination still happens. Figuring out my priorities still has me overwhelmed some days. I miss the mark, fall short on achieving my to-do list and defer tasks to another day. A mindset of progress over perfection needs to be applied to my quest to aim for progress over perfection! I can choose to beat myself up over the so-called failure or I can take the next step forward tomorrow.
This is different from aiming low and giving up all responsibility for the dreams and goals in your life. I take time to reflect each week on the progress made, what worked and what didn’t. I own the ways I chose comfort over growth. Then I set a fresh set of weekly ‘big 3’ tasks. (You can find out more about the ‘big 3’ and weekly preview tools in Michael Hyatt’s book Free to Focus or in the Full Focus Planner.)
Think about your own life and goals for a minute. Where can you see the pursuit of perfection stopping your progress? What is one next step you could take this week to make progress?
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