In her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Succeed, Sheryl Sandburg shares one of her favorite mottos. “Done is better than perfect”? In this episode, I want to explain why you should Aim for Progress, Not Perfection.
Aim for Progress, Not Perfection
The Downside of Perfection:
We want our podcast, product, service and business to be the best it can be. We want to be a market leader; we want to be successful; we want to be unsurpassed. So, we aim for perfection!
But perfection has its downsides:
Perfection is elusive. It’s a moving target. Perfection is unattainable. Just when you think you’ve hit the mark, the goal moves. And in the current climate of things moving fast and furious and technology changing by the second, if you wait for perfection you may miss the chance to help the world with whatever you are working on…
Pursuing perfection paralyzes. When we insist on perfection, we spend so much time, energy and money getting everything just right that we can never finally pull the trigger.
Aiming for perfection is very costly. While chasing after perfection, we lose sight of what it’s costing us. Only too late do we realize that our expenses and the time we’ve invested is taking its toll on our business.
Straining for perfection is stressful. For the above reasons and more, when we’re hell bent on perfection, it stresses us out. We’re never finished; we’re never satisfied; we can never rest.
Aim for Progress
By contrast, when we aim for progress we experience the following:
Focusing on progress is freeing. Progress frees us from the burden of perfection, yet promises continuous improvement.
Pursuing progress is motivating and stimulates action. Making progress a little at a time, we think, “That’s not hard! I can do that!” And we do. We forge ahead, making improvements.
Aiming for progress fosters creativity. It frees our minds to ask great questions, consider new possibilities, and seek new solutions.
Going after progress is incremental. Progress allows us to make small improvements every day. Those little advancements add up over time to yield huge dividends!
How to Progress
To aim for progress, ask yourself questions like:
What’s one thing I can do today to improve my product? How could I add more value? Where could I purchase it more cheaply? How can I get it faster? It may be just a little thing, but what a difference it could make!
What’s one way I can improve my service today? What simple change would improve my customers’/clients’ experience? How can I add more value to my current services? In what way could I enhance my service? What would make it more affordable or desirable?
Who could I contact or connect with today? What new or forgotten individual or business could I contact today to promote my business? Who do I know that could introduce me to a new client?
What’s one improvement I could make to my sales approach today? Perhaps it’s been awhile since you’ve tweaked your sales approach. Freshen it up! Improve on it!
What one roadblock or challenge can I eliminate or solve today? Or perhaps just address one small element of a current challenge. How would that make your life easier? What will you do?
What incremental improvement can I make to one of my processes today? Chances are you have numerous processes in your business. Choose just one. How can you improve it: make it easier, faster, more user-friendly, etc.?
When you’re aiming for progress, there’s no need to attack all six of those areas each day. But what if you tackled a different one each day, or even one per week? Even if you only made progress in one area each week, that would be 52 improvements in a year! The Japanese have a term for this. “Kaizen” It literally means good change and many Japanese companies like Toyota have employed this philosophy to become the best in their industries in terms of quality, consistency, and reliability. Think small steps. Manageable changes that can make progress seem more attainable. And only make improvements that bring you benefits and move the needle forward.
As you heard those six questions, they may have sparked other ideas that you can explore. That’s the beauty of pursuing progress. What will you improve today? Aim for progress and your business will excel! I’d love to hear about things you are doing to progress in your business and your podcast.
Until next time, have a wonderful week!