When is it OK Not to be Perfect? Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 278

Photo by: Chad Barr

My wife recently hired a new gardener when we got the news that our previous gardener of 20 years was retiring and selling his business. The rates were not comparable and while the spring clean-up was good, it wasn’t nearly perfect. It reminded me that cheap is not good and good is not cheap! But after all, it was just twigs, leaves and grass that needed be manicured and discarded from the property.

Where do we need to strive for perfection in our lives? Certainly, we’d want our physician to be perfect in a diagnosis and treatment. And when developing software, anything less than perfection is a cause for many headaches, and possible disasters.

For those who believe in the Biblical story of creation, you will know that each day created was announced as good or very good. Never was there an exclamation of “this is perfect!” Imagine a world where there was never any room for improvement or the opportunity for growth. For the hundreds of consultants and organizations that I’ve been privileged to serve, I know that you are continually striving for excellence. And most of you achieve it and reap the rewards of your time, effort, and wisdom.

But for those who work to perfection and find themselves spinning their wheels, know that sometimes less than perfect is actually, perfect! Perfectionism can lead to frustration, disappointment and ultimately failure.

Look critically at your working plan. Are you the best you, or are you striving to be the perfect everything personally and in business? It’s a lofty goal that may not be worth the pain and sweat of trying to pursue perfection when very good, excellent and personal best can be good enough.

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