Practice Makes Perfect: 3 Keys to Manage the Myth

practice makes perfectRecently, during homework hour in our home, my 8 year old said, “practice makes perfect.” I stopped in my tracks, wondering where this suggestion had come from. Perfect, is not a word used in our home as it is an unhealthy expectation. My son’s “perfect” mantra came from his third grade classroom. Sure enough, at back-to-school night one week later, I saw the “practice makes perfect” poster hanging prominently on the wall. Perfect is dangerous. Perfect is a myth.

The message of perfection begins in youth and is found in a variety of influences such as media, education, parenting, culture, innate personality temperament, with a pervasive reach extending through adulthood. My business coaching clients have talked about the desire for perfection or the lament that “I can’t make it perfect.” Why does the conversation about perfect matter? Defined by Webster’s dictionary as “being entirely without fault or defect,” is why the conversation matters.

How does the notion of perfect impact your business?

1. Unrealistic Expectations. How do you set expectations in your business, with your team, with yourself? Unrealistic expectations of perfection promote paralysis, limited thinking, and an unengaged, demoralized, fearful culture.
2. Unmet Perfection = Failure. If perfect is the expectation, how do we measure or recognize anything less than?
3. Perfect Promotes Paralysis. If your employees know that perfection is the expected result and yet clearly that isn’t attainable, how much time and productivity will be wasted in paralysis?

Throughout my life the destructive impact of perfection has been clearly present. In business…website must be perfect in content, aesthetics, usability. Reality…there isn’t a website utopia where a website’s reach is perfect. In career…triple check the communication before pressing send. Reality…every so often a communication will be disseminated with a typo or absent an overlooked detail. In health…a full hour for running or forget it. Reality…time today permits only 20 minutes for a run but those 20 minutes are better for mind, body, and soul than no minutes at all.

We have all heard Alexander Pope’s quote, “To err is to be human”. We are flawed by nature and beautifully so. Expecting perfection from our work and life (extensions of our imperfect selves) is illogical. Many of the richest, most valuable learning experiences and opportunities, come from our mistakes.

There are 3 keys to managing the myth of perfection.

1. Decide. Decide what in your business must be a 10 because the stakes are high, and what can simply be a 7 – where is good enough…enough? Set expectations accordingly.
2. Mindset. Accept and appreciate that mistakes will happen as a part of creativity, action and progress.
3. Act. Keep moving and don’t stop for perfect. Have confidence that you will resolve and learn from mistakes along the way. Don’t pass by new thinking because you can’t guarantee perfection.

Many may interpret this post as license to accept poor work quality, make all types of mistakes without consequence, and act rashly. If this is you, ask yourself how tightly you are holding on to a construct of perfection that no longer serves you and is coming with a cost that you’ve overlooked until this moment. It is simply an encouragement to replace perfect with striving for skill, perseverance, and resilience, in service of your effectiveness as an individual. Perfect is an antagonist in your business, in your life. Perfect is dangerous. Perfect is a myth.

Add a Blog

17 COMMENTS

  1. 261106 44250 Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this topic. realy thank you for starting this up. this internet site is something that is required on the internet, someone with slightly originality. beneficial job for bringing something new towards the internet! 73518

  2. 201366 677423Hi! I discovered your website accidentally today, but am truly pleased that we did! Its not only entertaining, but in addition straightforward to make use of in contrast to lots that Ive viewed! 502765

  3. 947737 353768I genuinely enjoy your site, but Im having a dilemma: any time I load one of your post in Firefox, the center of the internet page is screwed up – which is bizarre. May possibly I send you a screenshot? In any event, keep up the superior function; I certainly like reading you. 809342

  4. 274464 401978Can I just now say that of a relief to locate somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about online. You actually know how to bring a difficulty to light and work out it crucial. The diet need to have to see this and appreciate this side on the story. I cant believe youre no a lot more popular since you certainly possess the gift. 408463

  5. I do accept as true with all of the ideas you’ve introduced for your
    post. They’re very convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very brief for novices. May just you please prolong them a little from next time?

    Thank you for the post.

  6. What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled
    upon this I have discovered It absolutely helpful and it
    has aided me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & help other users like its helped me.
    Great job.

  7. 227708 225910This web page is actually a walk-through its the internet you desired with this and didnt know who want to. Glimpse here, and youll definitely discover it. 160664

  8. 992939 679750You produced some decent points there. I looked on-line for any issue and discovered most individuals will go in conjunction with along with your web site. 581060

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here