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Is Perfectionism a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? - How To Quit Working
Is Perfectionism a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Is Perfectionism a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a perfectionist. I’ve actually been called a lot of things, but that’s not the worst one.

I used to think that was a good thing – it’s not.

Being a perfectionist is the best way in the entire world to get absolutely nothing done.

I spent years trying to learn how to get recognized as an expert; in my case a Do It Yourself Home Improvement expert. I was so concerned about doing it “perfect” that I never became widely recognized as a DIY Home Improvement expert. I studied and studied and studied and began building that brand, but it never went anywhere. Why? Because I tried to make everything perfect!

Ultimately, my quest for perfection lead me to become an expert on becoming an expert! I then basically abandoned the DIY Expert route and started a company that makes other people experts. So, I made good on that situation, BUT, I recognized that I cannot keep doing that.

Now, you might say, “But that actually turned out really well.” It did, but imagine what would happen if you always did that. What would happen if everything you do leads you down another path? You would NEVER get anything done, because you would keep changing paths.

I work really hard on being “good enough.” For me, sometimes I think it’s actually harder than being perfect! I’ve realized that when I do something, I have two choices:

  1. Good Enough
  2. Not at all

When I say good enough, I’m not talking about putting out crap. I’m talking about focusing on what actually matters.

Perfectionism is a theoretical construct that doesn’t exist in reality. So, I’m going to leave it to the academics.

I also believe that perfectionism normally means you are actually focusing on the wrong things! Like the comma versus the m-dash. Like the blue that is 2 shades lighter versus 2 shades darker. Crap that JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

When I’m working on something, I’ve started asking myself a question when I start second guessing something or laboring over something. That question is:

Does it really matter?

In other words, does it really take me further towards my goal in whatever I’m doing. For example, as I write this blog, questions, ideas, etc. pop into my head and I respond to them by saying, “Does it really matter?” In this blog, I’m trying to get the idea across that being a perfectionist is not a good thing and you have to focus on what really matters. So, as I was writing the question above, I began thinking about what font or size it should be. I then asked myself, “Does it really matter?” Hmmm, prolly not! “Just shut up and figure out how to make your point!” is what I said to myself.

In the case of this blog posts, “making my point” is what is actually appropriate for me to focus my energy on. Not the font, not the color, not the music I’m listening to while I write it.

I have a goal to make a point and my effort should be focused on that goal.

So, before you set out to do something, make a goal. That’s why in my system for getting known as an expert (get the free 5 part training series here), we write an expert mission first. It outlines who you are and what you do as an expert. You set your goals up front. Then as you work on your brand, you have those goals right there to refer to.

Since I think I’ve made my point by now, I’m going to stop writing and tweaking and just post this!

Tell me in the comments below: Are you a perfectionist?

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About Jeff Steinmann

Jeff wants to help you Live More. He is the author of How to Quit Working, A Simple Plan to Quit Your Job for a Life of Freedom. He hosts a weekly show called The How to Quit Working Show that features lessons from Freedom Fanatics who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 job and created a business that lets them live a passionate life of freedom. Jeff also writes for several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Lifehack and Elite Daily. Most of all, Jeff is a Freedom Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding a better way to “do life”.

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