Perfection was my pride and joy when I was growing up. I was proud of obsessing for hours over a drawing or a project that should have taken a fraction of that time. Have you ever done that?
And over the years, perfection became the nemesis of my work and did some serious damage to my career. Read on because it may be yours too if you are not careful.
Unfortunately, perfection gets confused with getting things done well, with getting great results, and with satisfying bosses and superiors.
Your Manager Doesn’t Want Perfection from You so Why Do You?
The massive irony is that not only do bosses and superiors not expect or care about perfection, the pursuit of perfection is slowly killing your career.
Your boss expects high quality work, not perfect work. He expects high quality results, not perfect results.
High quality and perfect are worlds apart; great gets the job done while perfect makes you wait on the side-lines and suffer every ridiculous detail until it’s too late. Too late to get recognized. Too late to get in that window of opportunity at work. Too late to have the conversation or to ask for the raise or to solve the problem.
So it’s worth clarifying that in no way do I advocate that you give up high quality work for half-baked jobs or half-attempt efforts. You need to put your best, your everything, your heart and soul into building your dream career, but there is a big difference between high quality and perfection.
High quality is when you have given it your all and it’s time to “ship it”. Perfection is tweaking and fine-tuning and obsessing over tiny little details that nobody will notice but one that holds you back and keeps you from shipping it.
With perfection, you’re so ‘busy’ getting your project done “just right” that you forget what really matters. You give up the necessary perspective for the unnecessary detail.
And guess what? perfection does not exist.
The state of perfection only exists in our minds. It only exists when we look at someone else’s work because we are too forgiving of other’s faults and too critical of our own. Human nature, can’t help it, I know but let’s make sure it doesn’t mess with your career, shall we?
You can always find something that you could do better and faster and smarter and on and on. And this hopeless pursuit distracts you from what really matters in your career which is getting promoted and making more money!
Embrace imperfect and answer these 3 quick questions to get your mind into immediate action mode:
- If you stopped caring about perfection for just a minute, what could you start doing right now, this minute, to get you closer to your goals at work?
- If you stopped waiting for the perfect opportunity to talk to your boss, what would you say to him?
- If you stopped anticipating the right time to ask for your raise, how would you position all your hard work at the moment?
Are You Losing Opportunities Because of Your Perfectionism?
Is it possible then that your career goals and dreams are still out there instead of already achieved because perfection is getting in your way?
Perfection kept me back a long time at my corporate job. I kept waiting to “perfect” my work before I showed it to him, or to “perfect” my skills before I asked for an assignment, or to “perfect” my performance before I asked about getting promoted.
All the while, opportunities were whizzing me by but I was too busy noticing any of that. Too busy getting everything “perfect” for a performance that never arrived.
Thankfully, I recognized this at some point and made changes to my approach, starting with what I am teaching you in this strategy and more of what is yet to come so stay tuned.
For now, please think, think really hard, is it possible the obsession you have around perfection is coming from a place of fear – or even complete terror – from actually doing what is necessary in your career right now?
I understand it’s hard but perfection is nothing to be proud of and nothing that helps you in getting promoted. And it also slowly kills your career in the process. Why would you hold on to it?
Let go. Let go of ‘perfection’. It’s neither real nor noticed by anyone in your management. And you need to do this before we can move forward with future lessons on what you need to do to get promoted.
For now, this is your homework: Identify perfection – and kill it instead of letting it kill your career.
That’s it for this strategy and this is the end of our strategy lessons for now.
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