Imperfect action is better than no action at all, explains Carol Schulte

Last month, I had the honour of presenting to 1,200 HR professionals in beautiful Washington, D.C.

And I found myself making tweaks to my script and slight adjustments to my slides until the 11th hour (not the first time…). I mean, I was agonizing over the order of words I wouldn’t even recall during the actual presentation, and the sizes of fonts that, let’s be honest, no one would even notice!

Why? Well, firstly, because I care. But also because I wanted it to be ‘perfect’.

What does perfection even mean, anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked!

I don’t know about you, but it seems a pretty tall order to be entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings. Especially when it comes to something we want to create, the job we are hoping to land, the regular workout routine we want to stick to, and the loving relationship we are striving for. How can anything, when it comes to real people’s actions and behaviours, be without any flaws? I mean, we’re human, after all.

Perfectionism is about holding yourself up to unrelenting high standards that are simply IMPOSSIBLE to achieve! And yet it doesn’t stop far too many of us from trying. It’s exhausting. It’s also what prevents you from trying something new, sharing your big idea, starting that thing before you feel ready, going after the job or the promotion you really want, or doing the thing that really scares you.

I often talk about the big bravery barriers that get in the way of stepping into our greatest potential. And perfectionism is one of the biggest!

Perfection is an ideal that doesn’t exist.

Perfection is boring.

Perfection all too often causes paralysis.

Now, I know as administrative professionals you’re pretty good at getting things just right. However, maybe instead of aiming for perfection – which is an ideal that doesn’t even exist and will inevitably evoke disappointment anyhow – let’s instead be okay with a bit of imperfect action.

Maybe along our journey to be perfect, we’ve forgotten to be real, to be human, and to recognize we are good enough now, exactly as we are.

I invite you to take some time and get honest with yourself as to where you may be stuck in perfectionist paralysis. Where you may be holding on to unrealistic and unrelating high standards. Is there a project you’re currently working on that is good enough now?

Done is better than perfect.

Perfect is boring.

I am good enough now.

Imperfect action is better than no action at all. So perhaps it’s time to throw some spaghetti at the walls, embrace your imperfections, and all of the amazingness that makes you human, and an even more authentic administrative professional.

And isn’t that what we all need more of, anyhow?!?

My presentation may not have been perfect, and that’s okay! The point is not for your slide deck to be flawless; it’s about getting your message out into the world where it belongs.

Stay brave!

Carol Schulte is the founder of The Brave Initiative, a global empowerment catalyst. Her portfolio includes Fortune 500 corporations and international associations, inspiring individuals to get their brave on! She is committed to building braver leaders ... (Read More)

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