For some years now, the concept of “perfection paralysis” has been gaining currency. And it is on the rise because it’s related to this eagerness to always do things right. In other words, it is not so bad to be a perfectionist, but everything up to a certain point. Likewise, everything is about the importance and risk of the duties that we must fulfill. Then we find ourselves in a kind of spiral in which continuing to think about details. And wanting to improve ad infinitum is no longer productive.
In the marketing world, this is common. We usually get lost in the details, which can lead us to struggle to finish something. It is not even rare that we even start it. But what causes this? For example, beliefs such as “be perfect”, “be the best”. Also, thinking that nothing will ever be enough to meet your expectations or those of others.
Now, are you setting the bar too high for yourself? Is the pressure to be the only one, or the best always on your mind? Maybe what you should consider is that what is done is better than what is going to be perfect. Even on many occasions what you call “perfect” is the enemy of what is good. So, stop being overwhelmed and keep in mind that learning is a succession of mistakes.
It is worth clarifying that perfection paralysis is not the same as the desire to do your best. Nor is it about doing things for the sake of doing them because in the end, what difference does it make? In other words, it’s about taking action and trying to do your best. We’ll talk about those next.
Don’t let the perfection paralysis beats you
It’s more than obvious that mistakes will happen at some point. And you know what, that’s okay because that’s what it’s all about. It’s the never-ending trial-and-error. Make a mistake and learn a lesson. For example, before starting that marketing campaign it’s common to face the following:
- Where do I start?
- What if no one is following us?
- Do we analyze our customers?
- Do we need cameras, video equipment?
- What if the customers don’t like it?
- Do we need consulting? Do we need to outsource any services?
Well, look, in the end, here we are. So, we know that everything can be improved. What happens? We are taking imperfect action. That is, we know beforehand that we are not perfect and we know that we will make mistakes. But we decide to move forward instead and no affected by the perfection paralysis. Let’s look at other aspects that explain this phenomenon.
“Perfection paralysis is a trick your mind plays on you in an attempt to keep you safe. Whenever you are about to put a piece of yourself out into the world (e.g., start a new business or ask someone out on a date), it first forms an idea in your mind.” So let’s look at some key points to prevent this kind of paralysis and not get stuck.
Learn how to identify perfection paralysis
That instant when we embark on a marketing campaign can be overwhelming. And the pressure to be flawless in our results may lead us to perfectionist’s paralysis. According to Edward A. Rodriguez*, transformational coach, these situations lead to perfection paralysis:
- You stand still because you don’t take a step until everything is “perfect.”
- You have not yet achieved what you dream of
- Nothing is enough for you. Not even your achievements and you don’t celebrate them either
- You tend to find many faults in yourself and others.
- When you don’t feel comfortable with those close to you until they “change”.
- You don’t allow the opportunity to learn from your “mistakes”. You think you should not focus on learning. Or growing, but on reproaching yourself for making them.
So, you know what triggers your anxiety. Let’s take a look at some techniques to avoid crippling perfection.
Keys to prevent paralyzing perfection
Perfection paralysis is something to take seriously. Because you can’t afford to let your projects stagnate. Or at least you can’t give yourself the license to stagnate. All because your desire for perfection won’t allow it. Follow these tips to prevent perfection paralysis:
Learn to make decisions
Living with the fact of making decisions and with uncertainty is paramount. It is very difficult to have all the information you need to make decisions. So get used to decide based on what you have. Besides, you learn and make adjustments as you go along.
Know and apply Pareto’s Law
This law states that 20% of the effort is enough to generate 80% of the expected results. In other words, when you are going to do something, concentrate on that 20%. You will see that the rest are details that are not worth dwelling on. They also don’t add much to what is finally going to be left. So don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and manage those percentages well.
Establish fixed deadlines
To achieve this, it is good that you take into account what Parkinson’s Law says. That is to say, that the complexity of duty extends until it takes up the time necessary to carry it out. For example, if you have a month to do a mission, it is in that time that you must finish it, not in the last week. In other words, your mind adapts to the time you have available.
The balance between quality and effort
Isabel Sanchez, a digital consultant, says: “The quality of your work must be good enough so that you feel it represents you”. Which in other words means that the effort you put in should be small to achieve what you need. The key to identifying this is if you notice that it is taking you longer than you had planned. So if you realize that there are details that aren’t going to make a difference, it’s not worth stagnating.
Have you fallen into perfection paralysis? And if so, how did you overcome it? Leave us your answers in the comments. You can read this article in Spanish by clicking here.