I’ve been searching the web trying to figure out who first said, “Done is better than perfect.” Long before it became synonymously attached to “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg, it was a phrase that perfectionists and endless tweakers used to break them of crippling, obsessive behavior.
If you know who first said it, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a great quote, one that sits on my desk as a regular reminder that I could spend more time perfecting the product – whether it’s an article, presentation, meeting, workshop design or email. The truth is completing the task or project, of course with good quality, is better than perfect. Besides, I’ve concluded that perfection is an illusion…it’s one of the LIES That Limit.
There is no such thing as perfect. If human hands and minds created it, it may be very good, even excellent, certainly good enough, but never perfect, especially if perfect means without flaw or fault.
Are there ways and places where you could end your quest for flawless, faultless perfection and allow a more realistic standard to take its place? Try digging deep into your actions to see if you’re actually shadowboxing with a critic who only lives in your head. Or maybe you’re still hearing the voice of that grade school teacher, boss from early in your career or even a judgmental parent – someone who is part of a past that you’re afraid will catch up with you.
In a world that moves faster and faster, it may be time to make, “Done is better than perfect,” your mantra. It certain helps me.