“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” – Ernest Hemingway
There is a significant part of the population that suffers from a debilitating sickness masquerading as a positive character trait. The sickness is praised in many quarters as being a requirement for achievement, and many people who have it treat it like a prized possession. It’s perfectionism, and unless carefully monitored, it can ruin you as a leader.
There are certainly things that demand perfection. If somebody’s going to perform brain surgery on me tomorrow, I’d like them to aim for perfection. For most people in most situations, however, perfection is an enemy of action.
Too many leaders are afraid to make change “until everything is ready”. Something isn’t quite right in the market, something isn’t quite right with our people or products, etc., so we wait. And we wait. And pretty soon years have passed and we’re still standing in the same place – no closer to what we want to achieve. Eventually we’re so far behind we can never get caught up.
The same could be said for our personal lives. Similar excuses: It’s not quite the right time, or I’m not quite sure about this particular factor, or I don’t have quite enough information. So we wait, and eventually our lives are over and we’ve never done the things we always wanted to do. And we can never figure out why we’re not happy.
Yes, there are things that need to be in place before we can act – but are we really trying to put them in place? Or are they just convenient excuses to cover our fear and/or laziness? “It’s just not the right time” is more often an excuse than it is wise insight.
Think about the changes you need to make, whether personally or professionally. What reasons are you giving for not making those changes? Are they really things that have to be in place? Or are you using perfectionism as an excuse to avoid doing what you need to do? Don’t stand in the same place 10 years from now wondering why things didn’t go the way you wanted. Just start doing it – NOW.