Execution Eats Perfection for Lunch
I wrote a post earlier this year about perfection. You all had so much to say about that topic, sending me texts and emails about your struggles with perfection, fear and acceptance. I heard you all. The pressures of perfection ring even more true today than ever before with our super connected, super public and super judge-able lives.
I’ve been working internally on my relationship with perfection and letting go of the pressure that I put on myself. It’s been so freeing and I can feel the peace inside of me rising stronger every day.
In my journey to let go of perfection and care less about so many things in my life, I’ve created what I call my “personal decision tree.” When I’m looking at any situation, big or small, I quickly ask myself, “am I going for perfection or execution here?” What I’ve found is that perfection is rarely the choice. But what feels good is that knowing when perfection is the choice, I can really dedicate myself to getting it right. Everything else just needs to get done.
Let me say it again: when I have to do something (anything) I ask myself this quick question: “Am I going for perfection or execution here?” This helps me know how much effort, time and energy to put into the thing. And I’ve happily found that “execution” is almost always the answer! Hello found time, sense of ease and peace of mind.
I’ve been doing this for several months now and…wait for it...life is so much better. It’s easier. It’s more productive. It’s less stressful. No one has said, “Hey Amy, you know how you used to do everything so well and pretty much flawless? Can you please do that again? It was super fun to see you stressed out all the time and I’ve been noticing the difference in your work.” Nope. I’m just as successful, even happier and everyone else is just as happy, too.
This blog is a great example of execution vs. perfection. So many people have asked me how I have the time for a blog. Well, here’s how: I have zero plan with this blog and don’t overthink anything about it. I just do it. I write quickly and from the heart, give each post one swift edit and post. I choose photos in seconds and don’t spend hours searching for the perfect photo to go with a post. I have no posting plan (day, time, frequency). I just write and post when it feels good. This has been an 18-month practice in execution and I LOVE it. And have you noticed? Have you checked my frequency? Or my spelling? Or my editorial calendar of topics? Exactly.
Career talk: With very rare exceptions, no one ever got promoted because they were a perfectionist. They got the promotion because they delivered. They executed. If you really want to get ahead at work, focus way more on execution and way less on perfection.
No one is reading your email with the most critical and judgmental eye. Write and send. No one is visiting your house and checking for dust bunnies. Open a bottle of wine and ask a friend to pop over to catch up. No one is looking at your roots wondering why they are 1/2” longer than they should be and thinking you really need to color them. Spray a little 3-second color on those babies and Get. On. With. Your. Day.
Stop making your life harder.
Two of my best friends keep the most impeccable homes that you’ve ever seen. Never a pillow un-fluffed or a light coating of dust on the coffee table. Their homes always look perfect. Over the past couple of years, I ended up at each of their homes unexpectedly on separate occasions. Guess what? Unmade beds. Dishes in the sink. Shoes by the door. I remember walking in and thinking, “Praise the LAWD!” I always felt like such a Sloppy Slopperson when I visited their homes. Seeing their imperfect homes confirmed they were normal girls just like me and I instantly felt closer to them.
If you feel stuck in this cycle of perfection and you’re causing yourself more stress than it’s worth, try this “perfection vs. execution” decision tree for a few months. Bet you’ll be happier. Bet no one will notice – except to notice your newfound sense of ease. Let me know how it goes.