The Price of Perfectionism

My colleague and mentor, Joann, is a mater public speaking coach.

The first thing students do in her class is to get up, in front of everyone, and give a 3-minute speech.

And I love her explanation for this.  

“Think of skiing,” she says. “Someone can write out the explanation for how to ski and hand them to you. They can even ski in front of you.  

But until you are at the top of a steep hill with two slippery boards under your feet, you’re not going to learn to ski.”

Here’s where perfectionism is the enemy of learning.

Because you won’t look good that first day on the slopes.  You’ll fall, you’ll trip, you’ll lose your balance.  And you’ll end the day with your butt soaking wet and your muscles feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck.  

If you do make it to “apres-ski,” chances are you won’t be looking like a character from a James Bond film.

Too many of us hope that if we can get things just right before we pull the trigger, we can avoid the messiness that comes with learning.

But then we avoid and delay. Which makes us miss opportunities for visibility that will grow our careers. Or worse, our teams consistently miss innovation targets.

In the Initiative module of my I to the 4th Power method, we look at tools to manage perfectionism: the voice of the inner critic, effective goal setting, and modeling a healthy relationship to failure.

Because when you master those things, you can engage in a process of trial and error that will make you stand out as a courageous leader.

You will enjoy more opportunities. Your team will be more connected and motivated. And you’ll be able to handle so much more of the uncertainty that we are facing today.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to try things that left me looking like that adult ski student on the first day. Boy did I wish I had a boss in those moments.

But what I learned is that the trick is not in getting it right before you take action — the trick is in how you respond to the outcome — good or bad.

My best,

Tifin Dillon - Use Astrology for Your Leadership Style

Isabelle Steichen - Millennial Free Agent

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