Growing and developing a business relies on improvement. We need to slowly and consistently improve the way we do things over time, so we get better results. Back in the day, I’m sure this wasn’t a foreign concept: if the caveman wanted to feed his growing family, he would have to either hunt harder or smarter to bring home more food than he did yesterday.
But when we read five articles on twitter before we’re even out of bed in the morning and our competitors have launched a fantastic new website or locked in a huge client or written an e-book, slow and constant improvement can get replaced by panic and doubt. And soon enough, we’re comparing ourselves to everyone else in business and end up not taking risks because we think our ideas need to be ‘perfect’ before we launch them into the world.
“Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” Brené Brown
It’s a mindset that can be changed with a new perspective—practice. And not just in business. We are more likely to achieve our resolutions if we take them one step at a time, rather than leaping into them still dressed in our unrealistic expectations. After all, musicians don’t turn up to a crowded concert hall and expect to play the piece well if they haven’t rehearsed beforehand.
So why, in business, do we expect to turn up to the stadium and kick a goal when we’ve never held a ball?
It may seem like extra work, but research suggests that the more we practise a task the less brain processing it takes us to execute it, freeing our mind to think about other areas (this may be why many of us have our most creative thoughts during automated tasks like driving or brushing our teeth).
“Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.” Gretchen Rubin
If you’re looking to improve your business but hesitant to start—whether it’s holding back on signing up to twitter or procrastinating about cold-calling a potential new client—then perhaps it’s time to place the fear of failure and perfectionism tendencies aside and simply think of it as practice. One small step towards being a better business than you were yesterday.
What do you think?