Is perfectionism getting in the way of perfecting your work?

Perfectionism doesn’t work in business.

It’s about progress.

Trying to do something perfectly is overwhelming. Instead of just trying something, we don’t do anything because it wouldn’t be perfect. We are trapped by the ideal instead of just trying to work on the idea. And procrastination transforms into paralysis.

Perfectionism paralyzes us.

Progress is a process. You incrementally solve a problem. It takes time to make something great, even good. And failures, false starts, errors litter the floor of progress. We can’t get to the quality of a final draft kind without going through a terrible first draft. Everything great sucks in the beginning.

Learn to accept failure as a part of the process. For your greatest solutions come from your failures. That’s how progress works. Failure is a prerequisite to success. It is the womb from which success is born. Don’t mistake failure as the goal–no. It’s only the path. As long as you keep success the destination, failure will remain the trail that must trod to progress.

All my life, I’ve considered myself a terrible writer. So choosing to post my work regularly has been agonizing.

With each piece I write, I re-experience how poor of a writer I am. It’s a nightmare on repeat in reality. My first drafts are so bad that they read like they’re in a different language.

After a series of revisions and thinking that I suck, I start seeing something that looks decent. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s not embarrassing either. It might even be good.

Now the practice of pushing through the pain and self-loathing to create something publishable has become a habit. It’s progress. My writing has progressed–so have I.

Improving ourselves is always a painful trail to trod, but if you don’t give up and advance through the agony, you will see your work transform. You will see yourself transformed.

Continue the journey of perfecting your work and yourself, even though you will never be perfect.

But you can be great.


  1. Linda Latt says:

    Totally agree. I am on that same path.


    1. John Pa says:

      Indeed you are, Linda. Thanks!


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