To err is to be human, as we are all told. How annoying – how presumptuous! Maybe some of us strive NOT to err, as a rule of thumb – maybe some of us are pretty faultless, and therefore our professional and personal lives follow suit. Everything planned and timed to perfection; no excuses….Except no; in fact, that’s actually a fantasy-world.
No-one, no business, NONE of us, is flawless; because that is perfection. Frankly, it doesn’t exist, no matter how much we convince ourselves it’s attainable if we push harder. That notion may be humorously banished to the category of ‘unicorns and rainbows’! But how does that impact on the life of the entrepreneur?
I clearly remember beginning my foray into entrepreneurship many years ago, with the intention of being as perfect as possible! I wanted all my branding to turn heads, everything I touched to look nice, for all my business endeavors to convert effectively and successfully, and for my good reputation to grow and catapult.
Reality is Not about Perfection
The ground was hard when I landed. And cold. It took me a while to cop onto the fact that reality had changed face – actually, reality hadn’t really changed, but my perception of the prior perfect reality was a fallacy. Like glass, my perfection fantasy shattered, not all in one crash but more like when a stone hits the windshield – rivulets of cracks started to appear and pretty soon after, I had to slow down and pull in.
In real-life, that translated into the realization that my marketing strategy wasn’t as wonderful as I had thought and planned for, and guess what? My branding was a big part of that…the message that I had so painstakingly planned, wasn’t cohesive and wasn’t landing.. What to do, what to do?
You’re an entrepreneur – my first big lesson – you adapt and rebound fast. Forgive yourself and forget – FAST! It’s a part of the sojourn for many. The big realization is that a big chunk of the entrepreneurial journey is exploratory, experimental, and a total trek at times. It is far from perfect. But hey, perfect is boring and short-lived. Perfection signals the end of the road – “no more to see here folks” – no more to achieve …yawn!
That’s not the life of an entrepreneur – An entrepreneur’s life is all about scoping the landscape, spotting opportunities, innovating, creating, disrupting at times. (Incidentally, disruption is messy – mess and perfection rarely mix!). Mistakes will be made along the way, otherwise how can we truly test the waters?
5 Steps of the Learning Process
One of the key messages I want to share is that I believe that entrepreneurs are life-long learners. One of the key principles of the learning process is the ability to do the following five things:
- Change/alter if necessary
This cyclical learning loop demonstrates how imperfection is an almost guaranteed aspect of learning and working. How can we develop as entrepreneurs if we can’t allow ourselves the room to maneuver and experiment? This is the freedom needed for everyone that has carved out their own entrepreneurial path in order to strive and improve (note, I said ‘improve’ not ‘seek perfection’).
Of course, it’s very important to be the best you can be; of course, it’s important to offer the best service that you can humanly offer – being best in class is okay – that’s a given. But, it’s vitally important to realize that true perfection is an illusion, and why not accept that as humans we are all imperfect? However, you can strive to be the best version of yourself as an entrepreneur, and why not mentally adopt the tagline – I’m an Entrepreneur – I’m “Imperfection at Its Best!”