How to Avoid the Perfectionism Trap

UPDATED: September 4, 2017
PUBLISHED: September 4, 2017

Stephanie ChoporisAs a journalist, I have found that little makes me work harder than a deadline. I try setting deadlines for myself to help get things off of my plate. I write daily tasks in a planner and try to get through at least a few items each day. If I see that I have rewritten a task for multiple days, I’ll want to complete it, even though it might not be perfect. This works even better if others set the deadlines for you, but it’s still good practice to keep yourself on track.

Stephanie Choporis, co-founder, managing editor, Happenstance

Carrie RichI struggle each day to make the world a better place. When I focus on living life authentically and with integrity, it means I don’t focus on being perfect. Good thing, too, because I’ve never been remotely close to perfect in any way.

Carrie Rich, CEO, The Global Good Fund

Carrie SingerI try not to let the best be the enemy of the good. The first intuition is usually the correct one. Since no one can ever be fully perfect, chasing an unattainable ideal only leads to disappointment and paradoxically undermines performance potential. I don’t know about you, but I actually tend to be drawn to people who are more in touch with their imperfections because who wants to be in a relationship (personal or business) with someone who can’t admit their weaknesses?

Carrie Singer, CEO, Quince Orchard Therapy

john_mcneelyWe have all most likely heard the saying “perfect is the enemy of good enough”. In business, I like to emphasize seeking enough clarity to make a decision but not waiting for certainty. Waiting for all the data and facts to come together is indicative of a fear of failure. For business to function and ultimately be successful, I believe you must embrace risk taking. For the entrepreneur, this also means learning and accepting that it’s important to let your team fail sometimes so they learn as well. Mistakes are opportunities to get better.

John McNeely, CEO of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security

Antonio CalabreseI’ve learned to embrace failure. Being afraid to fail is normal, but can often hold you back from learning opportunities and successes. I’ll push ideas that are far from perfect and celebrate the small wins and learn from the downfalls. Once you feel what it’s like to actually improve from a failure, you become more willing to take risks.

Antonio Calabrese, CEO, founder of Boonle

Related: The Secret to Ending Perfection Paralysis


This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Jesus Jimenez is a staff writer for Dallas Morning News. He eats, breathes and sleeps Texas Rangers baseball. He also enjoys running, traveling and buying cool socks.