Perfection vs. Excellence in Your Business

I was recently struggling with an increasing workload and needed to find a way to manage it all. I started by trying to outsource some of the work, and while some of that effort was successful, much of the attempt was a nightmare and didn’t improve my productivity at all.

After I’d nearly come to the end of my rope, I was asked why I didn’t just cut some corners with some of my projects. My immediate gut instinct was to refuse that option, and I had to step back for a bit to reflect on why I was so against the idea. Was I seeking the unattainable — perfection — or was it something else?

I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t seeking perfection. Although there have definitely been times along the way where I got too wrapped up in minor details and perfectionism, I’ve gotten to a point where I can quickly recognize that in myself and quit while I’m ahead. No, it wasn’t that I was seeking perfection, but excellence.

Certain parts of my business are what I’m increasingly becoming known for, and if I hope to continue standing out in these areas, I have to continue to seek excellence, and to me, excellence is not the same as perfection.

Perfection is not attainable, and chasing it is pointless. Excellence, on the other hand, means not letting yourself off the hook, not cutting corners where it counts, and not copping out. It’s about being extraordinary, which, as Steve Harvey says, requires doing extra. Extra isn’t always easy.

If you want to be a cut above your competition, the go-to expert in your field, and the name that stands out in the minds of your customers and clients, then you have to strive for excellence. You have to know when you’re giving too much attention to things that don’t really matter and when you need to give extra attention to those that do.

How do you maintain a higher standard for what counts, while letting go of the need to perfect what doesn’t?

Photo by Flickr user indywriter, licensed under CC 2.0

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