We’ve all heard it. That cringe-worthy sound of dishes crashing on a tile floor. It’s the sound of some poor server who hasn’t quite learned the finer points of tray balance and capacity, or what happens when you go in through the out door.
My wife and I heard this a few weeks ago while out to dinner, and we commented that it probably happens to all new (and even some experienced) servers at some point.
Then I started thinking… in one way or another, it happens to ALL of us. We’re all going to drop something… i.e. perform an unintentional act that will require clean up. What does that look like in your world?
As much as the clean up (and your attitude about the clean up) is critical, I also think understanding that you ARE going to drop something (or mess up) is an important part of development. I know I have struggled with wanting things to be “perfect” before hitting the publish button, but that’s just not a reality. Get it as good as you can, sure, but perfection is rarely obtainable.
When I was writing my first book, my publisher, Julie Ann James of The Peppertree Press, gave me some amazing advice. She said, “there is no such thing as a perfect book. At some point you have to let it go so that it can be published.”
As many times as you can proofread, double check and edit, there will ALWAYS be something you can change – but is that change really for the better? At the end of writing “The Myth of Employee Burnout” I felt that I was a better writer than when I started. That realization made me want to go back and re-write the beginning of the book. Had I done that, it’s likely that that book never would have seen the light of day.
And to be sure, I “dropped things” in regards to that book. There are mistakes. But knowing there would be mistakes – and still proceeding with the understanding that I could correct those mistakes not in this project, but in the next – helped me button up the book and send it off to be published.
And now, I keep that in mind with everything I do … there is no such thing as a perfect ___________ (fill in the blank to fit your circumstances).
- There is no such thing as a perfect coaching conversation
- There is no such thing as a perfect team
- There is no such thing as a perfect hiring candidate
- There is no such thing as a perfect meeting
- There is no such thing as a perfect project plan
- There is no such thing as a perfect blog post…
I added that last one in there because inevitably after I hit publish I will find a typo or think of a better way to teach the lesson. But guess what? I’ll fix it in the next blog post… or book… or podcast… or video… or coaching/training session. There are plenty of opportunities in life to work on getting it right. Not necessarily perfect, but right.
So here is your assignment: Write down a list of things that you are shying away from doing because you feel they aren’t perfect enough. Then, like we did above, insert the phrase: “there is no such thing as a perfect ____________ .” Then go do that thing, knowing that if it’s not perfect, it’s okay. You’ll drop something. You’ll screw up. But you’ll survive and have a chance to make it better next time.
Thanks for reading!
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