National Entrepreneurship Month: Perfection is Overrated
I love to talk about business and write about business and be in business. November is National Entrepreneurship Month, which is right up my alley. In honor of the occasion, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite biz tips each week this month.
When everything’s your business, when you commit to doing your very best at everything, there’s the danger that you’ll scatter your energy, or spread yourself too thin. You can kill yourself trying to go above and beyond what’s realistic for you. This is perfectionist noise. I still fall into this trap. Making everything your business is not the same as saying yes to everything, or demanding extremes that will wear you down and break you. That’s not a place of yes, that’s a place of anxiety and dysfunctional multitasking. You can’t do it all, whether you are running an office or running a home. You have to take responsibility, but you also have to have boundaries and know how to delegate. You have to know when you’ve done enough.
Perfectionist noise is the noise in your head that tries to convince you that you won’t really ever be able to accomplish your dream unless you do it without making any mistakes. It makes you beat yourself up for not being good enough.
It might also tell you that what you are doing isn’t good enough, so you shouldn’t give it any effort at all. It’s an all-or-nothing point of view. Life isn’t always perfect. The people we love screw up sometimes, and we’ve all got to deal with it. Not every job will be your dream job, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best at it anyway. But perfectionist noise is tricky–it can also paralyze you if you are successfully maintaining the status quo. It can, for example, keep you locked in the “golden handcuffs.” This is a term for what keeps someone in an easy enough but unfulfilling job that makes good money. You become paralyzed to leave it because something else might be riskier or more difficult.
Perfectionist noise has another side, too: entitlement. Career noise can give you an inflated sense of yourself before you’ve earned it. You feel as if you are better than the job you have, so you don’t actually have to try. Maybe it’s bartending to make extra cash, or managing the household while your husband works even if you would rather be out there working, too. Whatever it is, do what you need to do, but keep your eye on the prize. There is no shame in doing any job well. This can be a hard lesson to learn, but it’s crucial if you ever want to get ahead.
You must find the line between high standards for yourself and destructive perfectionist noise.
This is an excerpt from A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel, available on Amazon.com.