Perfect Content Doesn’t Exist
Are you a perfectionist? Do you cringe whenever you have to send something out, worrying that it won’t be exactly right? Do you tweak your programs and marketing materials to death, or even fail to send them out at all?
It’s time for a perfection intervention!
I hate to break it to you, but when it comes to creating content for your business, or any creative work really, there is no such thing as perfection. It is possible to continue to make changes and improvements for ever! It will never be perfect, but at a certain point, you must just decide that it is done.
You may need to lower your standards a bit. I’m not suggesting that we put out low-quality content. But if your standards are so high that you can never reach them, you are stopping your own ability to grow. It is important to strike a balance and have standards that are achievable.
If you struggle with perfection paralysis, here are 4 considerations that may help you to embrace imperfection.
In one of my favorite books, Daring Greatly, the author Brene Brown says, “Perfectionism crushes creativity – which is why one of the most effective ways to start recovering from perfectionism is to start creating.” Often times perfectionism causes us stop before we even get started simply out of fear that we won’t live up to our own standards. But the reality is that self expression and creativity are inherently messy and imperfect.
Take the example of dancing. In our culture, there are many people who stand on the perimeter of the room, refusing to dance. However, when I traveled in Africa, dancing was an expected form of self expression. Everyone danced, whether they were good at it or not. The point wasn’t to be perfect, but to express yourself through your creativity. Even though it was imperfect, it was beautiful!
Connect and Converse
Since the primary purpose of content is to build relationships with people, it may help to think about it like a conversation. When you are talking to someone, you don’t plan out everything you are going to say ahead of time. You may hesitate or struggle for words. That doesn’t reduce your ability to connect to that person. In fact, showing some vulnerability and imperfection often makes you more accessible and relatable. You are a human being, and we all know that “nobody is perfect.” Trying to show a perfect image can actually make people skeptical or make them feel like they are somehow not as good, which is the opposite of what you want to do with your content.
Consider the statistics
Especially for short-term content pieces like blog posts and e-mails, statistics show that 79% of people don’t read the entire piece. They glance at it or skim through it. (And that’s not counting all the people who don’t see it at all because they didn’t open their e-mail or click on the link.) There are ways to create content that address this issue, which I talk about in my free e-book “3 Mistakes That Are Making Your Content Fall Flat.” But, as far as perfection goes, it may help to realize that the audience is NOT nit-picking your content nearly as much as you are!
Everything is a test
In a recent blog article, business coach Christine Kane said, “What the rest of the world calls failure, marketers and business owners call ‘R&D.'” I love this because it is so true. As business owners we have to try new things and put things out into the world. Inevitably, not all of it will work. But that doesn’t mean failure, it just means you have more information to do it better or differently next time. And since nothing is ever perfect, then everything is a test. Stop looking for perfection, and start seeking out the imperfection because that is what will allow you to improve.
Let me know if you struggle with perfection paralysis, and which of these ideas most resonated with you.