“You can’t get it wrong, because you never get it done.”
How Re-framing Perfection Can Empower Your Creativity & Grow Your Business
Take just a second to visualize this scenario and feel the emotion of it…
You’re at the florist picking up a custom order of fresh flowers. The bouquet turned out better than you could have imagined.
You’re delighted and thrilled because the flower choices, colors, and fragrances are vibrant and beautiful.
The first thing that comes out of your mouth is, “Oh my gosh, it’s perfect!”
In this context perfect means wonderful. It means something that evokes joy and delight.
OK, let’s try another scenario…
You’re sitting in the chair at your favorite hair salon. You’ve mustered up the courage to get an all-new cut and color…
It’s now the moment when the stylist turns the chair around so you can face the mirror for the “big reveal.”
The stylist worked her magic. You look amazing.
Once you regain your ability to speak, what’s the first thing that comes out of your mouth?
“Oh my gosh…it’s perfect!“
Again, in this context perfect means awesome…
It means stunning, empowering, and maybe even sexy because you look gorgeous in your new ‘do.
Different Context – Different Meaning
Words mean different things in different contexts.
And there’s no word that seems to have such a polarized and contradictory meaning as the word perfection.
On one hand – as you just experienced for yourself – perfection can feel joyful, delightful, and empowering.
But on the other hand, there’s also a simmering conversation filled with perfection bashing…
In this context, perfection feels just the opposite – sad, painful, and dis-empowering.
It feels this way because it’s based on a definition that assumes perfection means flawless.
It’s based on a definition that assumes our work, learning, and growth (including in our businesses!) will someday be done.
But there’s no such thing as flawless and finished, because we live in an ever-growing, ever-changing context ourselves.
Something that might be considered “flawless” today could need updating tomorrow, because the context has changed.
Something that might be declared “done” today, could be enhanced and invigorated tomorrow in response to an infusion of new ideas and energy. Again, because of a change in context.
(And that’s just in present time. If you’re like me and believe we are eternal beings, then our learning and growth continues into the next life…and the next…and the next.)
As a writer, it’s my job to pay attention to context, word choice, and accurate meaning – what’s really being said.
It’s my belief (and experience) that the sentiment underneath this anti-perfectionist conversation is really talking about our internal dialogue.
In other words, the internal conversation we have with ourselves during the creation process.
Are we mistreating ourselves with self criticism and internal messages of “I’m not good enough” or “this work isn’t good enough?”
Many of us struggle with this at different times and in different situations. Myself included.
Which leads to the following question…
Are we using the label “perfectionist” in a derogatory way to describe other painful emotions we might be feeling more deeply instead?
Emotions like fear…
And other self-limiting emotions – all of which may be different forms of resistance showing up in response to our personal growth. Including the personal growth we experience as business owners.
So in response to that, here’s a key distinction I hope you’ll find helpful to make…
We Are Enough, Right Now
What if everything were perfect, right now?…
Perfect in its imperfect, continually-evolving state.
Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, and whatever path we’re headed down.
What if we lighten up on ourselves (and others) and declare this moment perfect – even in its “imperfection?”
Doing this would mean acceptance…
Shifting into this perspective would mean unconditional love for ourselves and for others.
It wouldn’t diminish our deep desire for continued growth and improvement of our lives and communities.
But it would signal that we trust things (big and small) to unfold in wonderful ways that are beyond our imagination – just like the simple examples of perfection at the florist’s boutique and hair salon.
When we shift into this state of acceptance and trust, we can experience a sense of release, relief, and renewed energy.
I’ve found that a shift like this unlocks the doors to creativity and contribution.
It also gives us permission to value excellence in others, without feeling critical or jealous of their success.
And it gives us the emotional safety to aim for excellence ourselves, without feeling afraid of being resented by others.
As you just experienced yourself in the first two examples, perfection can mean pure delight.
Perfection can mean empowerment.
Perfection can mean beyond your imagination.
And those positive, loving, and heart-activated feelings reveal the energy and intention that I bring to my work.
In this context, perfection means something to be proud of. Something expansive.
Not just in terms of financial reward (although that’s definitely part of it)…
But also in terms of helping your business be of service to your clients, and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Meanwhile creating the platform and context for you to learn and grow as a person and a business owner.
And if you’re anything like my other successful clients, that’s the perfect description of what you envision for your business and yourself in the role of business owner.
An Empowered Definition of Perfection
So how does exploring this paradox benefit you and your business?
Consider this deeper, richer interpretation of perfection and decide if it resonates with you as the sort of attention, feeling, and energy you want to infuse into your business and our possible working relationship.
Perfection comes from the Latin words per and facere. Per means fully. Facere means to do.
Together they mean to fully do.
In other words, to fully engage. To be fully immersed.
To be in a state of concentration, dedication, and flow that leads to great results.
In this context, here’s why it matters for your business…
One of the grandfathers of copywriting, David Ogilvy, called good copywriters perfectionists because they did their work with this sense of devotion.
They had the patience and tenacity to spend months doing product & market research…
They had the devotion to spend weeks writing headlines…more weeks writing body copy…
and sometimes months testing different versions of copy so they could deliver the most effective and profitable results possible.
Historically speaking, this dedicated approach to their work led to results that were up to 19 times more effective.
(That’s 19 times, not 19 percent.)
When you do the math, that’s the difference between $10,000 in sales versus $190,000 in sales.
It’s the difference between just barely squeaking out a six-figure launch versus feeling the thrill and delight of exclaiming, “Oh, my gosh…that’s perfect!” because of a 1.9 million dollar launch.
If you read between the lines, a financial increase by a factor of 19 would also mean an increase of service and contribution by that same amount as well.*
And, again, if you’re like my other successful clients, that’s really why you’re in business in the first place…
To be of service to your clients, and make a meaningful contribution to society.
If this sense of delight, service, empowerment, and expansion sounds perfect for you and your business, then get in touch and let’s talk.
* Please note this is not a guarantee of results. Like all investments, there is potential risk involved. Thorough due diligence is recommended before making this (or any) business investment.