Just Do It! Defeating Perfectionism as a key to success

One of the reasons I ADORE working with clients is that by working through THEIR marketing issues, I’ve found that I get insight into my own productivity issues.

The most recent "affliction" I’m seeing: the perfectionist bug.  It’s an affliction with which I am VERY well acquainted.

I love the idea of perfection.  I even like to believe that it’s a achievable goal.  My desire for perfection delayed the publication of my book by at least a year and that’s only if you don’t count the near DECADE DELAY they played in WRITING the book.  For many, many years my upcoming book had to be perfect, or I wouldn’t write it at all.

I know that I had worked on the issue with several coaching professionals, each tried DESPERATELY to cure me of the affliction.  However, the real start to my recovery began when I picked up a book at Barnes and Noble.  I can’t even remember the name of the book or even the subject matter, I just remember finding more than one or two typos.  TYPOS!!!  (It wasn’t a self published POD type book either!)  The difference between that gentleman and myself:  his book was published and had been purchased by a total stranger.  My book was still living in my head as a fantasy and nothing more.

It’s only then that all the advice began to sink in… how launching a good marketing campaign today is infinitely better than launching a GREAT one next year.

There is so much I’d do differently if I were writing my book Beyond the Niche today.  (To begin with, I’d name it something more "compelling" like, "How to supercharge your marketing in 10 days or less")  However, had I waited to write the perfect book…. well, I’d still be tweaking the title.

I just got a client’s first draft of the "legal bribe" for a newsletter.  It’s been 4 months in the making and it’s not finished yet.  I got the first rough draft via email and my response, "GET IT FINISHED SO WE CAN GET GOING!"  Meanwhile, last Friday I got a laundry list from a branding coach on tweaks that need to be made to her client’s new blog.  I reminded that coach that before we got "bogged" down in fine tuning the template, perhaps we should wait until the client actually starts adding content to the blog (which is almost 2 months old and is still a barren wasteland without a single post made despite an hour of hand holding 3 weeks ago).

I’m not a coach in the sense that I’m not going to root around in your psyche trying to find the reward for procrastination and perfectionism.  I’m going to tell you that in the story of the tortoise and the hare, had the hare not napped he would have WON the race.  Procrastination and perfectionism are bosom buddies.  One feeds the other and both will do more to hold you back than anything else in the world! 

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take."  Wayne Gretsky

If every shot has to be perfect, your success rate may be amazing but you won’t get into the Hall of Fame in ANY sport or business… PERIOD!

In a blog post at Building a Super Blog,  Collis writes:

Each niche only has a limited space available leading to a few runaway successes, a handful more of successful blogs and a lot of also-rans. This is somewhat akin to having a couch sitting in your living room that everyone wants to sit on. While some sofas are bigger than others, all couches have only limited space. And so it winds up that the later you are, the less couch space there is left, until newcomers are leaning on corners or resting backs on the side. So to succeed, you must get to the couch when its at least mostly unoccupied.

Getting your spot on the coach is what’s important…. not whether or not your slacks or dress will be wrinkled if you sit down on the coach!  Don’t be left standing…. stop worrying over whether your white paper should use one or two spaces after the period.  If you’re worried about making a bad first impression, hire and editor to go over your work, then create a PDF and get moving to the next task.

Learn to recognize the difference… good enough is just that…. GOOD ENOUGH.  The difference between taking something from "good enough" to "nearly perfect" almost ALWAYS leads to you standing with your drink in your hand, wishing you had a spot on the couch. 

Take the shot.  If you miss, you can adjust your aim the next time.  No where is this more true than with your blog!


  1. Thanks for this. I’ve done a lot of work with clients around perfectionism, and what you’ve just described is a brilliant insight I hadn’t made conscious before. I’m going to quote you in my Monday blog post, hopefully the trackback will show up here.

    Thanks for this insight. There’s nothing like something happening in real time to really make the impact, beyond all the coaching, healing, and training- nothing teaches like the real world.


  1. […] Kathy Hendershot-Hurd writing over at Virtual Impax made a brilliant post about defetaing perfectionism. […]