You may have heard the expression done is better than perfect. Well, today I want to talk about what that means and why that’s a thing. Perfectionism. It’s an issue. Many people, especially women, tend to out of fear or perhaps as part of procrastination, get stuck into that trap where they think that everything that they put out there has to be perfect. But what is perfect?
I’ll admit that I’m the queen of typos. The other night, I posted an Instagram story and my husband saw said “what does this even say?” And I replied, “that it has to do with the quote and the picture.” I asked, “It doesn’t make any sense?” And he said, “no, why do you have it up there?” And when I shot back with “whatever, it doesn’t matter. Nobody cares about a few typos.” And he shook his head and muttered, “people care.” He may have a point.
I have become so anti perfectionism that I like to think that no one notices typos. But Adam is right, people do care. You shouldn’t have typos everywhere. I did delete that Instagram story. I’ll admit that. But a lot of the reason why I don’t care is that I very strongly feel that done is better than perfect. There’s an old tech adage. Old as is in, 20 years old. Seth Godin touts to “just ship it”. That you should be embarrassed about the first rendition that you put out there. That you should not be waiting until you feel like something is done before you make it available to people. That’s why with every app, with everything that you use, there are updates and versions and they’re adding to it.
If you’re later embarrassed by a product or service you’ve created, that’s ok. Some would say that if you’re not embarrassed by it, you waited too long to launch. And the reason why you probably waited too long was that you were trying to make it perfect. I also want to remind you that every time you say you’re going to wait for something to be perfect, you’re never going to reach that level of perfection because you’re not defining what perfect is. You don’t know what that would even look like.
There is, however, probably some little thing in your gut and it’s whispering, hey! it’s not perfect, don’t show that to anyone. That’s just fear. You’re more being afraid that you’re going to be judged. That you’ll fail, that you’ll have, your feelings may be hurt or something like that, but you know what? You can create the next thing and move on. The great thing about people being so self-involved these days and being part of such a fast-moving world is that everybody forgets things really quickly. I strongly urge you to not worry about things being perfect.
I do recommend that you have some systems in place to make sure that you do have those typos fixed though. If it’s a really big project, invest in people helping you to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward and not embarrassing yourself by writing gibberish, as I did in that Instagram story. I have started writing books. The first thing that I did was think about who my editor would be. Why? Because I’m the queen of typos. I can’t trust myself to edit things. And in general, I want that last look on there to make sure that I am putting out something that I’m not embarrassed by.
Have people on your team to help with checks and balances. Have as part of your system a way to make sure that you’re not embarrassing yourself and that you’re putting quality work out there, but also trust that what you are doing and the work that you are putting in there.
If you are feeling in your gut, that it might actually be done then you’re probably done. You’re ready to hand it off to that editor or you’re ready to open it up to the world and to get out there. The reality is that most people would much rather have you helping solve their problem 85% of the way. Then they would not have their problem solved until you’re sure you can solve it 100%. The problem is often greater than perfect. Plus like I said, we don’t know what perfect even means.
Create a checklist, make sure that you’ve accomplished all the things that you do put your best work into it. Give focus to the project that you’re working on. Be sure that you have checks and balances set up. So either you are having time to review it and having time to make sure that your work is good or having an accountability partner or an editor or a coach of some sort who can check for you. Perhaps if you are in a collaborative project that you do have people in your team that are checking your work and saying that it’s ready.
Let your team know that you’re never going to know it’s ready, that you’ll need help figuring that out. But the worst thing that you can do is feel like you can’t put it out there until it’s perfect because it never will be. Set up your checks and balances and get the help that you need and make you feel confident in putting your work out there. I hope today you are slightly inspired to not feel that things have to be perfect. Done is better than perfect.