E-couragement: Done is Better than Perfect

June 4, 2012

“To make new action possible, we need to create new thought and new feelings from that new thought.” Bruce Schneider 

Friday June 1 was a humid and overcast afternoon. My partner and writing coach, Jerome Daley and I were convening at my home office to create curriculum for a client. Upon arriving, Jerome handed me a small package found resting on the porch. Before opening it I proclaimed, “Do you know what this is? It’s the book!” In a moment of serendipity, my writing coach presented me with the final draft of my book, Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left. I was holding an object that represented three years of intense labor, belief overcoming doubt, and the manifestation of a dream. Yet, there were times when this dream felt more like a nightmare.

It all started in 2005, shortly after being accepted as a member of the National Speakers Association. During one of my first meetings I heard a colleague say, “If you want to be a successful professional speaker, write a book.” I thought to myself; this is not why I’m here. What is she talking about? My immediate reaction was to reject this advice as I was still holding a belief acquired in elementary school which said I was a below average speller and slow reader. How could a kid who had struggled with Dick and Jane write a book of his own? Instead I decided to begin with a more reasonable goal of journaling and blogging. As an unexpected result, many of these blog posts morphed into chapters for my book which was conceived in 2009.

Completing this book was not a linear process—rather a journey filled with peaks, valleys, unplanned stops, and detours. At times I’d spend days laboring over details in each chapter, then I received another gift from a professional speaker friend who was discussing the topic of completing a book. Understanding how easy it is for the voices of perfection to stall a writing project, he said, “Done is better than perfect.” That statement resonated within my mind and heart. Waiting on perfection doesn’t place my book in the hands of customers. Delaying for perfection doesn’t help sell my book online. Done makes both possible. I committed to finish my writing and ignore the clanging voice of perfection rattling around my brain.

My book is finally done. Not perfect, simply done. One last read through and it’s off to the printer. At the same time, I’m wondering what have you been working on that needs to be done rather than perfect? Is it a magazine article, book, art project, business proposal, entrepreneurial dream? What might you accomplish by releasing the voice of perfection from holding you hostage? Go on now and get it done. No one can benefit from your talents and gifts if you continue to wait on perfection.

 Leave your comment: What are you contemplating that should be done rather than perfect? 


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20 Responses to “E-couragement: Done is Better than Perfect”

  1. Where can I buy your book???

  2. Linda: We’ll send out a “book launch” email when publication is complete. It will include purchasing specifics. Thank you very much for your interest!

  3. Congratulations on the book Rich!! I look forward to reading it as I’m 110% confident it will be filled with outstanding wisdom and guidance to help improve workforce culture. Congratulations!!!

  4. Thanks Dr. Snyder! Here’s to growing our speaking business this year and making an impact along the way…

  5. Rich, Congratulations on finishing your book. I cannot wait to read it. Being a perfectionist is a hard thing to give up. A while back ago a friend told the story he was working on a Habitat House & his cowroker was being a perfectionist. He asked her what was an A & she replied 95%.He replied back to her, that is all I want, is 95%. Sometimes, 95% is everything. I hope your book is a big success.

  6. Congratulations! Has to be a wonderful feeling. Enjoy the rush. You deserve it after all that hard work.

  7. Thank you Kimberly and Linda. It’s a great feeling. Already started on my second book. Current title is: No Secrets-A Dozen Fundamental Principles for Living an Engaging Life. Excited to see how it develops. Because I’m improving as a writer, it will be better than my first one. Still…it won’t be perfect.

  8. Excellent work Rich, congratulations. And thanks for sharing your journey(s). They’re inspiring.

  9. Thanks Bill. Hope we can grab some coffee soon. You’ve got to help me build that feedback tool which includes the 9 principles in the book. Peace friend.

  10. Spot on as always, Rich. Congratulations on the book. I’m looking forward to reading it and to your next offering.

  11. Rich, congratulations on this milestone in your life and work! I’m sure it is immensely satisfying to look at this and say “Wow – I can’t believe it, yet here it is!” I look forward to reading your book once it’s published! All my best, Todd

  12. Appreciate your comments and encouragment David and Todd! It is an exciting accomplishment…

  13. Congratulations on the book, and thanks for the important reminder.
    The roadblock of a “perfection paradigm” is sometimes driven by fear; fear that whatever we put “out there” might somehow be seen as flawed. So, for me, it’s “safer” to leave it undone.
    Thanks again for this very helpful nudge back into the right mindset.
    I look forward to reading your book.

  14. Wayne, very insightful that perfection can emerge from a root of fear. Glad you’re back in a better mindset. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

  15. Great piece, Rich.

    Excellent advice.


  16. Thanks Nigel, glad to share good advice when I hear it!!

  17. Congrats. I have long battled the tape in my head that says, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” While often true and a great admonition to do good work, and put a little extra effort into something, there are many times when something just needs to be done…not perfected.

    Best to you! Coffee one day?

  18. Thanks for your comment Kim. Yes, let’s schedule encouraging coffee conversation in July. Let’s email some potential dates. Peace my writing friend.

  19. Your piece is inspiring, Rich. Celebrating with you and hope to join you in the “author’s circle” next year. May your words inspire engagement and a sense of purpose in the workplace.

  20. Thanks Steve. Excited to hear about your writing. You have a lot to offer this world. Let’s get your voice heard so others can be free and live to their fullest. Peace brother.

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