Sometimes done is better than perfect.
Why? The quest for perfection holds us back from learning.
It can be tempting to wait to share your idea, or launch your business, or get in front of potential customers until you feel like it’s “perfect” (whatever it is).
But, here’s the truth: perfection is an illusion. There is no perfect, there’s only better. And, better is only possible when we put ourselves out there, take a risk, stretch our skills, and get feedback about our performance, so that we know what to improve, change, or reinforce.
Done is better than perfect.
Here are 2 simple hacks to avoid the perfection trap and embrace a done is better than perfect mindset.
Tip #1: get feedback early.
It might take some courage, but get feedback from your customer as early as possible and as often as possible. Talk to them. Learn from them. Show them a half-baked idea and they’ll help you make it better. If you wait until it’s perfect before getting feedback, changes will be much more expensive. Save time and money by being more vulnerable and sharing your ideas.
Tip #2: think in versions.
What you “launch” or share with the world will need to change over time. That’s not a knock against you or your abilities, it’s the nature of the marketplace –consumer preferences, popular culture, competitors – they all change. And, of course, you’re going to learn, grow, and change too. So, define what’s non-negotiable and what you can live without in version 1. And, keep a list of everything else you might want to add in future iterations.
If you’re feeling tempted by the illusion of perfection, ask yourself the following questions:
- What might you be avoiding?
- What are your standards for success? How realistic are they?
- What might you learn from actual customer feedback?
- What’s the risk of not launching?
- How comfortable are you with the status quo? What are you willing to do about it?
Trust me, done is better than perfect.
Here’s a great article from the New York Times’ Smarter Living column: “It’s Never Going to be Perfect, so Just Get it Done.” And, here’s a few of my own: