How to Let Go of Perfectionism and Move Forward with your Practice and Life

I just finished working on a project – a video training series. When I was contemplating whether to take on the project, I knew the deadline was tight and would not allow me to devote the amount of time and attention to detail that I would typically devote to a project of such nature. But if I didn’t take on the project, we wouldn’t have the training series in time for an event. I had to make a choice – pass on the project because I probably wouldn’t be able to produce a perfect product or take on the project knowing that good enough would have to do, at least for now. I chose the latter.

Why am I sharing this story you might ask?  Because we oftentimes let perfectionism hold us back. While perfectionism can be useful in some situations (e.g., perfecting a brief for the Supreme Court), it’s actually a hinderance in others and can oftentimes derail us from reaching our goals. Two common examples I see from law firm owners are waiting to launch their website until the language is perfect and holding off recording a social media video until they have the perfect script or background. While having the perfect language or background prior to launching or sharing something with the public sounds like a logical approach, what ends up happening is that the website launch keeps getting pushed back . . . indefinitely, and the video never gets recorded. And in the meantime, you are missing opportunities to promote your value and services.

A website or social media video is probably never going to be perfect, and even if they are, and I’m not sure how you’d determine that, you’ll still need to update them at some point, and then you’ll be right back in the same position – trying to make them perfect again. Perfectionism is exhausting, but even more importantly, it’s unnecessary.

So what happened in my example? Nothing catastrophic – shocker, I know. And in fact, a lot of good will likely come from the series despite the imperfections with which I continue to be concerned. But guess what, I can always record these videos again, and I’ll likely have to do so at some point because some of the content will become outdated.

Here’s the thing, most things in life and business are like a training series, a website, or a social media video – very low stakes. While it might seem like a lot is on the line – your reputation, for example. In reality, no one is expecting perfection when it comes to low stakes matters, and most people are too caught up in their own lives to notice any of your flubs. So why not let go of perfectionism so you can move forward with your firm and life?

Just to be clear, I’m not promoting carelessness or sloppiness. Attention to detail matters a great deal. I’m simply saying that we are all human and humans make mistakes. And we should not let the unachievable goal of perfectionism hold us back from building our practices and living our lives. So maybe give letting go of perfectionism a go? I think you’ll find it liberating!