Last week I talked about how either moving too fast or too slow can sabotage your success. (You can read part 1 here: http://www.michelepw.com/blog ) Today I’m going to talk about a place where entrepreneurs typically move too slow — creating products or programs.
Does this sound familiar? You’ve been working on your book or your program or product for several months or maybe even years. You’re close to finishing — you just have one or two more things to do. Of course, every time you finish those one or two things, one or two more things crop up. It’s never ending.
If this does sound familiar, you’re not alone. I know many, many entrepreneurs (including myself) who have taken longer than necessary to complete their products. The reasons vary but many fall into the “perfectionist” camp. You take pride in your work. You want your product to be perfect. You want your customers to love your product and get a lot out of it. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
Well, there is when it prevents you from actually bringing your product to market. Think about it — if the conclusion isn’t quite right or there are a few missed typos, is that going to REALLY take away from the experience of your product? Or the results your customers will get?
Of course not. But we’re so fixated on it being perfect we can’t get past that.
Now the advice many successful business owners share when you’re in this situation is something along the lines of “good enough is good enough” (meaning your product doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it to a good product and then get it to market) or “taking imperfect action” (which also basically means get the darn thing out the door even if it is imperfect). I agree with both of these statements, but the problem is what happens when you know this and you STILL need to get that “one more thing done?”
I think there are a couple of deeper issues around perfectionism. (And depending on how deep the issues are depends on how quickly you can push through them.) Let me explain.
When we create a product it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the product is an extension of ourselves. So any flaws or mistakes or criticism of the product suddenly takes on way more importance than it ought to be. Because any problems with the product, anything that is lacking in the product, is actually a problem or a lack with us personally.
In addition to that (if that wasn’t hard enough to get past) there’s also a little question of value. If you don’t value yourself, your gifts, your brilliance, what you bring to the world, then how are you going to value a product you created? And if you don’t value your product, when will it ever be “good enough” to sell?
So what happens if you find yourself relating to one or both of these issues? Well, you need to take a step back and do some deeper work on yourself. Hiring a coach or taking a program that gets at the core of what you’re struggling with — whether it’s valuing yourself, valuing your brilliance or accepting yourself (warts and all) is crucial to helping you push through your blocks and getting your products finished and selling. Here are a few recommendations for business coaches to get you started:
Melanie Benson Strick http://www.successconnections.com
Deborah M. Dubree http://www.yourclearedge.com
Carolyn Ellis http://www.brilliancemastery.com
Therese Skelly http://www.acceleratingyoursuccess.com
Kendall SummerHawk http://www.kendallsummerhawk.com
If you want to do something right now, try journaling about it. See what comes up for you and what your next steps should be.
Next week we’re going to look at the next step — racing through your product launch now that you’ve finally gotten your product done.
See you next week!