I had thought that my last post would be a one-off. I had so much to say about my battle against perfectionism, that I had to split it into 2 posts. Writing is a great tool to help process thoughts. Now I realize that I’m not in a battle against perfectionism—THIS IS WAR! I think I’ll occasionally return to this title with future posts. This post explores ways that I am currently gaining some territory against the non-existent target of perfect.
My psychological results
I wrote in my last post that I’ve never been diagnosed as suffering from perfectionism. I hadn’t taken any psychological test for perfectionism. It’s just something that I had sensed about myself.
Well, I took the test and it’s confirmed. I am officially a perfectionist.
Here are my results:
- No strengths were detected
- You are not an extreme perfectionist, but do feel the need to live up to certain high expectations
- You do set standards for yourself – sometimes they are reasonable, other times they may be a bit extreme
- You feel somewhat pressured to live up to societal standards of perfection
- You want to bring out the best in your family by having high expectations for them, which shows you care, but you may sometimes expect too much from them
- You feel a lot of pressure to be perfect for your family
- You feel pressured to be perfect at work
- You set unreasonably high standards for the people you work with
How I’m overcoming perfectionism
Long before I ever took a psychological test to tell me what I already knew, I had recognized that perfectionism is hindering me. It gets in the way of finishing things. It causes me to miss deadlines. It hurts relationships.
This is a deep-seated mindset. It is the root of long-held habits. It resides in many areas of my life.
It takes a multi-pronged approach to combat it.
“Done is the new perfect”
Last year, after I quite my career job of 7 years, I had entrepreneurial aspirations and I needed some inspiration. I searched podcasts on iTunes and found Entrepreneur On Fire.
Going way above and beyond other podcasts, EOFire publishes a new episode every single day. I don’t listen to every episode, but I do listen often. It’s like hanging out with wildly successful people. It helps redirect and realign me to a new mindset, a mindset of accomplishment, a mindset of success.
There have also been some snippets of gold. Like when Jana Schuberth said on episode 555:
“Done is the new perfect.”
So many other guests have iterated the business axiom that a product doesn’t need to be perfect to be brought to market, improvements can be made in later renditions. Once a product is brought to market, customer feedback will guide how to improve and change it. But if it’s never brought to market in the first place, then there is nothing at all.
A half-thought idea, or an unfinished project is just a waste of time. An idea never changed the world—execution is required. I keep reminding myself of this so that hopefully it will sink in.
“I’m not an expert, I’m just a guy who is taking action.”
– Pat Flynn on Smart Passive Income podcast, episode 108.
I am currently executing a few different projects in which I am practicing restraint against my perfectionism.
A few months ago, when my partners dropped out of plans to start a brewery, I took a step back to reflect. I am not exactly qualified for such an endeavor. So I’m taking some time to build my credentials by:
- Researching and improving the business plan
- Learning more about beer and writing about beer
- Studying for the Certified Beer Server exam
- Hosting a podcast about breweries
Several people have critiqued the business plan, and I’m incorporating those changes. However, I have realized a few things about a business plan: It is less important than I had thought. It will never be perfect. And besides, it’s a working document that gets updated and revised as the project moves forward.
Nathan Pierce blog
This blog post that you’re now reading, and its larger platform, is holding me accountable to studying beer and the industry. By urging myself to write each week, I am finding new angles and new insights. I am observing and analyzing. I am learning about the product and the business.
A friend does edit most of the pieces before they’re posted, and I do try to make it readable and understandable, but I do not stress too much about making it impeccable. I do not put a ton of effort into finding or creating gorgeous graphics. If I ever feel the urge, I remind myself that it won’t be published in DRAFT Magazine.
Beer Exam School
Certified Beer Server is the first level of the Certified Cicerone® Program. I’m planning to take the exam simply to learn more about beer. To reinforce the knowledge, and perhaps to help others, I am blogging about the process at Beer Exam School.
Now, I took a web design class last summer and I repeated it in the fall. On the side, I used some web-based web editors that I found to be much easier to use and made prettier websites than I could do with HTML. Some of the students told me that WordPress would be way easier so I took their advice and gave it a go. It has been way harder than I expected.
Neither this blog site, nor Beer Exam School look as nice as I desire, but I’m putting the information out there. As Bill Gates said, content is king. BTW, “If Content is King, then Context is God,” says Gary Vaynerchuk.
When Joe Schelerud announced that MicroBrewr podcast would be ending, I was shocked and saddened. I called him up and asked whether he would let me take it over.
I am glad Joe said yes. I have also struggled to get it going. Many difficulties, such as scheduling interviews and coming up to speed on WordPress, have gotten in the way of creating content for the blog and the email list.
It’s far from perfect and I’m far from satisfied with my level of output on this site. Yet I have gotten to the point where podcast episodes are released on schedule, and I’m hoping to improve the content for the sake of the audience.
A continuing battle against perfectionism
Small battles have been won, but the war is far from over. Procrastination is a fierce tool that my subconscious mind uses to prevent me from finishing mediocre work.
My mind wants perfection, but that doesn’t exist. It is a lie. I need to continually remind myself of that and just do it.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll share some ways that I’m overcoming procrastination. In the meantime, please share some ways you have been able to overcome perfectionism in the comments below.