We need to embrace the process of success and not find ourselves consumed by the goals of success. What often gets in the way is our false belief of needing to be perfect.
As humans, we have an insatiable desire to be perfect at anything that we do. From the sports we play, to how we look and feel, to the way we communicate. What we can’t get overwhelmed by, though, is what I call the “delusion of perfection”.
I once counseled a young sales representative. He was enthusiastic, eager, and willing to learn. We spoke about the lists he needed to create, loaded up his day with impactful activities, and stayed true to the sales process.
For two months, he failed to see any progress. It flummoxed me because his lists were beautifully segmented, his messaging scripts were powerful, and his days were set up for success. So, I sat down with him and tried to understand the root cause of the problem.
Within minutes, it became abundantly clear. He wanted to succeed so badly that he was consumed with being perfect at every facet of selling. This obsession caused him to become paralyzed into doing anything because “it wasn’t perfect yet.” Then he became trapped in his own procrastination.
The quest to become perfect actually held him back because he wasn’t doing any activities. He was frozen. He was deluded into thinking he needed to be perfect. Fortunately, there is a solution for anyone trapped in the “delusion of perfection”.
We need to embrace the process of success and not find ourselves consumed by the goals of success. What often gets in the way is our false belief of needing to be perfect. Here are some tricks to avoid the delusion of perfection:
Create a mental or physical prductivity trigger at the beginning of the day.
What we did was create a little mental note for him at the beginning of the day to help trigger him into action.
It may sound cliché, but it’s so true.
The young sales rep wrote a note to himself and placed it on his monitor. It said, “just do”. That was his trigger.
I know of another person who, without hesitation, picks up the phone and makes a call to one of his clients first thing in the morning. This helps him then make subsequent calls to his list of prospects afterward.
Intentionally don’t finish a task or project.
It sounds counterintuitive, I know. But hear me out: Studies show that when you are writing something— a long email, a report, a proposal, or a book— it is best to get 75% of it done and then pause.
Move on to something else. When you come back to the writing, you will see the project to completion with an improved overall result.
Sometimes the “pause” is very slight— maybe just minutes.
Sometimes the “pause” is longer. It just depends.
The point is that the intentional pause breaks up your potential obsession with being perfect at that moment.
Diversify your day with different activities.
What I do is choose different activities during the day to break up the monotony.
This way, I don’t create mental blocks on something that I may be working on at the moment. In other words, I don’t even give myself a chance to fall into the delusion of perfection.
Once that rep started actually “doing”, his productivity took off and he began seeing results immediately.
In fact, I checked in with his manager about six months later and this young rep was nearly the number one producer. All he did was shift his mindset, and it completely unlocked his potential.
The highest performing salespeople I know are less than perfect. They fail their way to success.