I, like many of you, am a recovering perfectionist…
I hate to let go. I am afraid to press send. I am scared of releasing products. I have written hundreds of thousands of words that have been seen by zero eyeballs other than my own.
Even though I’ve done a lot moving forward over the last few years and have had some good success in a few areas, I have to battle this disease every. single. day.
But I am getting better… slowly.
Here are 4 ways I’ve found to overcome being a perfectionist:
1. Surround Yourself with People That ‘Ship’
“The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.” – Seth Godin (Linchpin)
My thinking is that if you want to really improve at something, find people who are GREAT at what you want to improve at, and talk with them. Hang out with them. Listen to them.
Justin Williams – host of House Flipping HQ and a great real estate expert – and I are a part of a few small masterminds together. His best skill is one of the single greatest skills you can have as an entrepreneur: delegation.
That may not sound that great, but trust me – it is! Justin is not afraid to ship. He is not afraid to let go. He is not afraid to let someone else handle the work. The result? He’s built an empire with his real estate business and will soon have one with his online real estate coaching business, as well!
In our last mastermind meeting, I was talking about my struggles of letting tasks go and waiting until things were “perfect” before I released them. This nearly pissed Justin off.
I called it ‘perfectionism.’ He called it, “my ego.”
This hit home for me, and I truly appreciated his comments! That is what a mastermind is for.
What is perfectionism after all? It is your ego stopping you saying that it isn’t good enough. This was a small statement, but damn was it powerful!
By recognizing what something is, you have an opportunity to defeat it. By recognizing that it wasn’t “perfectionism” stopping me from doing something – it was just my ego – I can defeat that!
Perfectionism is just an excuse to save face to ourselves.
“So fight it.
Defeat the resistance.
Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.
Trick the lizard if you must, but declare war on it regardless. Understand that the only thing between you and the success you seek in a chaotic world is a lizard that figures out that safe is risky and risky is safe.
The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era.
The resistance is waiting. Fight it. Ship.” – Seth Godin
A) Recognize that perfectionism is just your ego, and nothing more.
B) Surround yourself with people that ‘ship’!
C) A mastermind is a game-changer whether you’re just starting out, or well on your way. This is the single most important thing I can suggest for you to do.
2. Get a Coach!
Just like how my buddy Justin called me out, we all need someone to call us out. We need an accountability partner, a coach or anyone else that will force us live up to our full potential.
We are our own greatest enemy. In everything that we do, we have to find ways to get out of – and stay out of – our own way. Getting a coach is one of the best ways to do that.
Why? Because a good coach doesn’t care about your feelings as much as they care about getting you the results that you want.
And when we pay for something, we take it as a higher value. We’re emotional creatures and that’s how it works… Because, let’s be honest: most of the time, you know what to do. Or you can at least figure out what to do. But do you do it? 95% of the time you don’t; neither do I.
We tell ourselves a story and focus on other things that are easier to do, but not as critical. We feel busy and we fill up time, but do we get our desired results? Often times, no!
Why? Well, if you want to be the best (or if you want to be your best), you need that outside guidance, voice and accountability. The wealthy do it, and you should, too.
D) Get a personal coach! (I don’t do one-on-one coaching anymore, but know of some excellent coaches. If you need a business/career/personal coach, email me and I’ll see if anyone I know makes sense for you.)
3. Set a Deadline
Parkinson’s Law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
So, how do you force yourself to ship?
Tell somebody you’re going to do something, and tell them when you’re going to complete this by. Make sure the person/people will be let down if you don’t do it.
This gives you a much bigger incentive to get it done. It’s easy to let ourselves down as excuses squash any chance of doing work, but it is not fun to let others down or tell them that you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.
There are two types of people in the world: doers and talkers. Those that are doers, unsurprisingly, have a lot more money than those that do not.
Action = intelligence = mullah $$.
95% of the time, we actually do something one of two times: as soon as possible (when we’re already in motion), or very close to a deadline.
Do you know how you put off that college paper for 2 months and then finally got it done in the last 12 hours? Parkinson’s Law.
When we put the heat on, we can get a lot of crap done fast.
Having time to do something isn’t the issue. Making something a priority is the issue!
E) Find someone who can be a good accountability partner – this can be your coach, your ‘fans’, or anyone else that will be sure to remember your promise and be let down if you don’t come through.
F) Set a goal and a deadline with that person.
4. Write a Book
The details, the title, the cover, the conclusion, how many chapters, the figures, the format… Oh my God! So many decisions to make that are ‘eternal’ for the eyes of millions to see (actually most books sell under 250 copies).
My launch team and close family/friends may be sick of me asking questions like, how should I start my book? Do you like this cover or this cover? How about this one?
At some point in time, you just have to ship. Every single day recently, I have to find this balance between making something great and getting it out the door.
So, that is what I am doing.
I’ve chosen the cover, title and subtitle – even though these weren’t my favorite, they have been chosen by the crowd… and you know I listen to the numbers.
Here it is for the world to see as of this November. It is far from perfect, but it is way better than anyone else’s book that has not produced it just yet. And I’m sure it will change many reader’s lives.
For me, that is good enough.
G) Do something that scares you.
The cover of his book is awesome because it alone explains a great story that you may or may not know. Elephants, when they’re young are often chained a stake or pole that they cannot break free from. They learn that they can’t break free from this, and they never forget it.
The bad thing is, as they get older, they still hold onto this belief that they’re not strong enough to escape the chain. Someone can tie a small rope to the ankle of an elephant and put a small stake in the ground, and the adult elephant will still associate that rope and stake as unbreakable. They have the power, but they don’t have the belief. This is true for each one of us, as well!
You have the power. All that you need is the belief!
Here is what Pat says in his book:
“Personal growth is hard. It’s hard because taking risks is uncomfortable.
Such discomfort takes many devious forms: the fear of the unknown, the threat of ridicule, the possibility of disappointment. The thing is, we manufacture this stress ourselves. As Seth Godin says, “Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance.”
To unshackle ourselves from the limitations we allow ourselves to fall victim to, we must embrace a risky idea: letting go.”
Don’t let it stop you. Let’s fight this fight together.
Let go. Just ship.
Required Reading (Books in My Top 200):
Quotes that Rock:
“The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.” – Seth Godin
“Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day” – Seth Godin
“You are not your resume, you are your work. “ – Seth Godin