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Perfect should not be your goal

Practice makes perfect.

It’s the same thing we hear time and time again.

But, growing up I was often told ‘Practice makes progress, not perfect’ and to this day I truly believe that.


When you strive for perfection it can prevent you from doing what really matters.

Taking action.

Here are 3 examples.

1.     You know you have to pick up the phone to make a ‘cold call’ but first you decide to research the company. Doing some initial legwork is great BUT…if you’re still researching 1 hour later and coming up with 101 reasons why you can’t phone them right now then NOTHING is happening. From “I just want to ensure I know enough about them before I call’ to “I need to check that the company is suitable,” we all know you are putting off making the call with perfection as your excuse. You are paralysed and achieving zero.

2.     Then there’s the advisor who is working on supporting unemployed individuals back into the workplace but feels a customer isn’t ‘job ready’ yet, so holds back from promoting them to potential employers. Yes, putting someone forward for a job when they’re not prepared could do more damage than good BUT making sure everything is 100% right before you do so could see them missing out on fantastic opportunities.

At this stage, there’s still so much that can be done that still involves picking up the telephone and talking to a prospective employer. For example, having a conversation with an organisation first and positioning the individual correctly can make a huge difference, so can arranging a short interview or sourcing relevant training. Don’t put the handbrake on someone’s future because the stars haven’t aligned in exactly the right position. It may never happen and you’ll get nowhere. This opportunity might not be right for your current customer but it could be for someone else.

3.     Finally, what about the person who has only been in the job for five weeks and is scared to talk to a customer because they don’t have enough product knowledge? Waiting until they feel they know ‘enough’ could be weeks (even months!) down the line. Rather than wait, giving them small tasks while supporting them in developing their knowledge and confidence is a huge step in the right direction. An induction period with no support does not make an effective employee – you won’t get the best out of them.

It’s important to remember that NO ONE is perfect. We are all learning and to continue to do that we need to push ourselves from the comfort zones we love so much and do the thing that scares us most. Sure, it may not always pan out the way we expect…but those little mistakes are huge learning curves that can produce a wealth of rewards in the future. To sit and wait for the perfect opportunity means we stop, and we stagnate.

So, progress is progress. One step at a time.

Audrey Bodman