Have you noticed that no one talks much about perfectionism anymore?
My business coaching clients used to tell me their compulsion to do everything perfectly was getting in the way of their success. But these days, with the fast pace of life, the constant stream of information, and the increased workload on everyone’s desks, our struggle for perfectionism seems to have largely disappeared. It’s not that people are feeling guilty or making excuses about not being perfect. It’s just gone from the conversation. Every success magazine will tell you the same following success secrets because in today’s new business climate, things have changed, and so has the way people do business together. There’s a new success formula.
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg famously puts it: “Done is better than perfect.”
So if we’re no longer chasing perfection, what should we strive for in its place? Here are seven alternative success secrets to which my clients are now turning their attention. You can, too.
Persistence: Success doesn’t come to people overnight. Instead, they create a plan and continually chip away at it. A successful entrepreneur will break their goals into annual, monthly, weekly, and daily actions. Even if each day’s activities aren’t completed, these folks get back in the saddle the next day, ready to keep moving forward. What do you do to maintain your persistence?
Pacing: Sam, a hard-charging manager at a small company in New Hampshire, planned on retiring in five years. But when he met with a financial planner, he found out he was going to have to work eight more years in order to meet his goals. Sam realized there was no way he’d last eight years at his breakneck pace. Now we’re discussing how he can adjust his work habits so he can continue at his job enjoyably and healthfully. Do a double-check: does your pace match your goals?
Possibility: We’re all creatures of habit. We eat the same breakfast, take the same route to work, do the same things day in and day out. Today, make a point of trying something new and different. What gets your energy up? What has you thinking new thoughts? Coffee? Brain teasers? Collaboration with your colleagues? Where in your life are you taking time to think about what’s possible? Remember, a successful entrepreneur has discovered that anything is possible, which is why they usually create new and innovative products or businesses. You can too.
Play: An entrepreneur who achieves success usually takes a few breaks during their day. Even if it’s only for a stretch or a short walk, they stop working for a few minutes and move their bodies. Increased circulation in your body means better blood flow to your brain, which produces clearer thinking. If you tend to sit glued to your desk for hours at a time, think about how you can build play into your day.
Power: We’re all naturally more skilled at certain activities than others. Are you a born communicator? A numbers whiz? As much as possible, do the type of work that plays to your strengths. The typical entrepreneur has achieved success by discovering a passion of theirs or a purpose they can serve in filling a need or want in the world marketplace. While no one can (or should) elect to do only what comes easily, you’ll achieve more and go farther if you pursue the things you’re good at and are passionate about.
Positivity: You know the old saying: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. People are attracted to people who are positive. Put a mirror on your desk so that when you pick up the phone it generates a positive tone that your listener can literally feel. Success in business is about success in relationships with other people. Always be positive.
Need one more goal to replace perfectionism? How about pleasure? Think about what part of your job you really enjoy, and spend more time doing it. When your work aligns with your interests and values, it makes you feel good. And there’s no better definition of success than truly loving what you do.
Contributions by Andrea Novakowski
Andrea Novakowski is an executive success coach who has been helping clients align their professional goals with their personal values since 1997. By tapping into Coach Andrea’s knowledge, tools and skills, clients are able to meld career development and personal growth to reach higher productivity and deeper levels of job and personal satisfaction. Learn more at www.coachandrea.com.