16 December 2008

Perfectionism is a disease – and a business killer

If you are starting a new business in this economy, here’s a major secret: strive for good enough. Aiming for making everything perfect before you launch is a form of self and business sabotage.

What? How can that be true, you ask?

Striving for perfection can be a mask for avoiding feelings of fear and doubt. As a psychotherapist for 18+ years, I can guarantee you that you can survive those feelings, and they may even be educational and enlightening for you. They’re just uncomfortable, but that’s okay. You can survive a little discomfort if you’re open to feedback from your SMART* plan.

But you won’t survive falling into compulsive habits of fixing one more thing, and just one more, and just this last thing, if what is driving you is a fear-fantasy that you must reach some magical level of readiness or knowledge or product line. This fear-fantasy actually robs you of the focus and energy and self-confidence needed to critically evaluate how well you do in the first 3-9 months, and where / how to adjust to do meet the wants of your market niche.

Worse, that fear-fantasy gets projected onto your clients. They will feel your anxiety, and will begin to doubt you more than you doubt yourself, creating a downward spiral of poor self-confidence that kills your client attractability. You don't have to explain or give excuses for what you aren't doing yet, or for what isn't ready (as in "perfect") yet. Just fully (emotionally) own what you are offering in the moment.

Here’s the recipe for solopreneur success: Start small, do SMART things, and be good enough.

*SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Risk, and Timebound. In referring to your business plans and marketing efforts, be specific about your ideal client, make your goals measurable, ensure that your efforts are aligned with your vision and personality, risk reasonable resources and emotions, and have clear deadlines for launching and timelines for evaluating how well things are working before tinkering with the initial efforts.

Good enough is good enough, folks. Perfection is a mental illness.

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