The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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    Entries in ish (31)


    You could be working too long and hard on that thing

    You could be working too long and hard on that thing. 

    True. Shocking but true.

    Working too hard for too long can lead us to burnout. The World Health Organisation recently categorized, called out and flagged that burnout is an actual thing, not just a cliched word or simple behaviour that could be remedied if we’d only manage our time better.

    So why are we burning out? We’re working too long and too hard on things. We're often striving for some unattainable perfection, trying to make something better or neater or prettier because it’s 'not good enough' yet.

    But hello! Effort doesn’t equal reward. Well, not equally anyway.

    > Because something was hard work doesn't make it good.

    > Because it took a long time doesn't make it better.

    > Because we worked on it for hours and hours doesn't make the quality better, or necessarily reflect better on us.

    Our relationship to time, effort and our own activity is distorted. Stop burning yourself out and start trying some of the newer ways of thinking and working that involve working in increments and iterations, and allowing imperfections.

    Are you working long and hard on something at the moment that could fall into this category?


    Good leadership means knowing when to go for 'good enough

    Good leadership means knowing when to go for 'good enough' - for yourself and your team.

    An article in CEOWORLD magazine explains how increments and iterations are the new perfect.

    How do you do it?

    1. Set a course for good enough rather than the pointless pursuit of perfection.

    2. Stop expecting or requiring perfection. Accept first drafts, rough cuts and mock ups. The design industry and many other sectors thrive on them, gaining early feedback, ensuring efficiency of work going forward.

    3. Make the standard clearer. Great leaders clarify the end goal or outcome, beyond a generic call for ‘high quality or ‘really good’. Explain the standard in a measurable way.

    4. Improve over time. Allow learning, iterations and insights to build on first attempts.

    The best and brightest organisations know the power of improving over time rather than expecting perfect. Most of all, assess whether you can go for ‘ish’ - somewhat, near enough - on more things, where near enough is good enough. Is 'ish' feasible, doable or acceptable? It’s a major productivity gain and it’s more motivating for teams when they complete work.


    You don’t have to be the perfect leader

    In fact you don't need to be the 'perfect' anything: friend, parent, partner, colleague, companion. Setting yourself an expectation to be perfect at anything is a journey to disappointment.

    And that's what disappointment is : it's the gap between what happens and what your expectation is.

    Ease off.

    You don't need to try so hard, work so hard or work so long. This drive for perfect anything or everything is making us way too hard on ourselves.

    Where might you benefit from easing off on an expectation you have of yourself?


    Careful how you answer this popular job interview question!

    Next time you’re preparing for a job role interview, think carefully. If a potential employer asks the classic question about weaknesses, what will you say?

    Many people offer in response to the ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ question that they're a perfectionist. They think it still sounds positive, not too bad a weakness.

    Saying you're a perfectionist can sound like you're a hard worker and that you have high standards. But beware! Perfectionism isn’t turning out to be a good trait after all.

    Recent data from PhD researchers Curran and Hill have uncovered that perfectionism is on the rise globally and it's a behaviour that's not making us feel good about ourselves nor helping us bring our best to a job role. Perfectionism has links to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, migraines, asthma, insomnia and plenty of other nasties.

    It's time to stop putting our hand up for something that isn't helping us or a potential employer.

    What's a weakness you'd rather share in an interview ... that's not perfectionism?


    Not a perfectionist?

    Not a perfectionist, just going for high standards. High standards are important. Need to keep working on this thing, tweaking it, making it 'better'.

    This article in Yahoo Finance identifies four signs of perfectionism:

    1. ‘Not good enough, yet’

    2. There’s no end in sight to a project or task

    3. Keep tweaking and tinkering

    4. Working late or long hours Is this you or someone you know?

    Read more via the article...

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