Sometimes we don't know when to stop. We keep revising an idea, a blog, a plan and are never satisfied enough to actually push the button and release our work. Why and when should we settle for "good enough," why do we sometimes get caught seeking perfection, and how can we find the right balance?
Why consider "good enough?"
The graph at the head of this article shows one reason. For a relatively small effort (time), we can reach the level of good enough (the smiling face in my graph). At some point beyond that, though, the incremental improvements become vanishingly small while effort continues to grow. That part of the curve brings us low R.O.T.I. And if we continue to pursue perfection beyond that point, returns become negative. Why? Because we have taken so long that the opportunity has passed us by (or been grabbed by someone else).
If you can learn to do a good enough job, make a good enough decision, you will get more done over the long run. Your stress will be lower, you'll sleep better and you might even make more money.
So what keeps us from settling for good enough? It might be fear - fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of being wrong, fear of emotional discomfort.
To get beyond the need for perfection:
Decide up front how good your work must be. Is this one of those rare instances (open heart surgery, for example) that calls for perfection? Or is good enough good enough? Choose when to excel and when to settle.
Set standards for good enough - measures that will tell you when you have reached "good enough."
Just get started. Don't try to write a perfect book (or blog article) on your first pass. Just get words on paper. Don't wait until you are a perfect coach to start working with clients. Don't wait until you perfectly understand that new selling technique to start trying it with potential customers.
When tempted to go beyond those standards, ask yourself how much improvement you can make, how much effort it will take, and who will care if you make that effort.
If you pursue "good enough" carefully and mindfully, you will succeed at being excellent. Try it!