I thoroughly enjoyed this post from Shawn Lovejoy on “The Liabilities of Being a Perfectionist.” This part specifically stood out to me:
They get things done. Quickly, consistently and (hopefully) with little drama. Perfectionist leaders get trapped “waiting” on something to be perfect. Conditions must be ideal and every wrinkle ironed out before a perfectionist can take action. The problem is, opportunities don’t wait! Too often we allow perfect to slow up our progress. Done is better than perfect.
I have been guilty of worrying too much about things being done “perfectly” that they don’t get done at all. I have also worked with many who have not been able to hit “publish” on their posts, videos, etc. because they are a way harder critic on their work than anyone else will be. When we are scared to hit that “publish” button, sometimes it is not only the creator that loses out, but the audience does as well. This Derek Sivers video brings that idea home:
But the other aspect of this idea connected to education is the impact it has on our students. Does our fear of things have to be “perfect” before they are put out there, inhibit the learning and growth of our students? As students chase the “A” and the score, do they focus on what others tell them what is “good” and lose interest in creating what could be great? Understand that there is a difference between having “high standards” and a focus on perfection. I love this Vince Lombardi quote:
There is no “perfect,” as there will always be someone out there that can find a flaw. But the focus on creating great work also means we have to be comfortable with tweaking, modifying, and adjusting, in the process. We learn from each one of those elements and helps us grow in the process.
In the original article I referenced, they quote Sheryl Sandberg’s mantra of “done is better than perfect.” Perfection is not attainable, and excellence rarely comes in the first draft. But we have to embrace that if there is no “first draft,” there is no growth toward the pursuit of excellence. I will continue to embrace the vulnerability of the process of creation because through that pursuit is the only way we can truly grow.
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