The word “perfect” has a nice ring to it. After all, isn’t that what we should all strive for? We should be straight A students, be perfect at our jobs, raise perfect kids and have perfect bodies. The idea of being a perfectionist initially sounds like a good personality trait to possess. These are people who refuse to accept any standard short of perfection. They must have perfect lives and successful businesses, right?
If you answered “yes,” you’d be wrong. Those people who claim to be perfectionists most often do not have a perfect life and definitely do not have successful businesses. Studies have shown that perfectionism causes depression and holds people back from achieving big things in their lives and businesses.
Ibrahim Al-Haidos, founder of Fursan, has had lots of experience with perfectionism in his life. He was raised by a family of perfectionists, and he had the tendency to live his life that way himself for a long time. Now that he has shed those unrealistic expectations of himself and others, he shares his experience with perfectionism and the 5 lessons he has learned from it to build a strong and successful company.
1. Don’t Strive for Perfection
Perfect doesn’t exist. No one and nothing can ever be perfect. And you cannot succeed 100% of the time. It is perfectly acceptable to not achieve the results you were after all of the time. Strive for excellence and do the best you can. If you miss the mark, learn from it and apply those lessons the next time around.
Ibrahim’s family was full of perfectionists. His mother even measured the distance between the plate and cutlery. Initially, Ibrahim believed he couldn’t accept anything less than perfect in his own life and business. But striving for perfection slowed him down in the beginning. “Perfection simply is not possible, but you can achieve excellence. I needed to understand that it is ok not to get it right on the first try.”
“Looking for perfection is the only way to motivate yourself.” – Ronnie O’Sullivan
2. Embrace Diversity
Each employee you hire has his own set of unique skills. Each person will bring her own strengths and weaknesses to the table. Just like you and everything else in this world, your employees are not perfect. Some will be excellent speakers while others struggle with public presentations. Some will excel at learning new technology while others struggle. Never assume that your employees are all equally skilled at everything, and never expect perfection from anyone.
“One of my MBA professors at HEC Paris gave me some brilliant advice. She told me to always treat my employees the way I would want them to treat our customers. What I’ve found is that if you invest heavily in your employees, they will help you build an amazing company.”
3. Always Just Be Yourself
If you own your own business or are a leader within one, remember that you got into that position because of your unique strengths and abilities. Instead of attempting to be someone you are not, be yourself.
Your coworkers and employees don’t expect you to be perfect so never try to be someone you aren’t. They genuinely want to hear your own words, thoughts and feelings. And it is okay to be vulnerable when you don’t have all the answers. People respect you.
4. Put People First
Perfectionists have a tendency to focus on “stuff” rather than the people in their lives. Instead, put your heart and efforts into connecting with the people in your life. You are a human being, just like your lowest paid employee. You put on your pants the same way as everyone else, act like it. Don’t be afraid to show your human side to people. Be humble. Not only will you get more respect, your employees will work harder for you. People respect people, not machines.
“Being a part of human to human interaction is something I’ve enjoyed immensely.”
5. Trust your People
If you don’t trust the people you hired, you shouldn’t have hired them. And if you do trust your people, show it. Micromanaging your employees will only make them feel unwanted and unnecessary. You hired them to do a job, so let them do it their way.
Accept people as they are. Being flawed is a part of being a human being, and they will get it wrong from time to time. Again, let go of perfectionism and trust that your employees have your best interest at heart.
There is a big difference between perfect and excellent. You can always strive for excellence, but you should never chase perfection nor should you expect it from others. It is a race that cannot be won. Embrace failure. Trust yourself and your employees. Apply this to your life and business, and you will be successful.
How have you embraced, or let go, of perfection? Comment below!