If You Can’t Do It Well…Do It Anyway, and Get Better Later

Hi, Jan, Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing…? Last week when I heard that phrase on a teleclass, I immediately finished it as you probably have. It’s worth doing well! Wrong! At least according to Keith Cunningham, the gentleman conducting the teleclass. He said, it’s worth doing poorly…until you do it well.

Well that one took some thought on my part and finally I decided that I liked it. Perfectionism is an integral part of most entrepreneur’s life. Fear of not doing it right, not doing it well enough, or the embarrassment of saying, ‘I don’t know how’ stops many, many entrepreneurs. I know that it still stops me far too often.

Yet in thinking about ‘doing something poorly’, until I do it well, I feel the panic rise up in me. Will I be given a second chance to do it better? What if my ‘doing it poorly’ really stinks? What if, what if, what if and for awhile I couldn’t even put my finger on all the doubts or questions; I just knew that there was plenty of resistance to doing something poorly. And yet, I know that every one of us has done things poorly.

Good heavens, we wouldn’t have learned anything if we hadn’t been willing to make some mistakes along the way! I think what struck the most terror into my heart was the idea of doing something poorly in front of others. It’s one thing to botch up an idea in the privacy of my office. It’s another thing to screw up in front of an audience or in an important sales presentation or on a teleclass with 100 people listening to you.

And yet, one of the most important assets of an entrepreneur is the ability to take a risk. You don’t get far playing it safe. One of my favorite sayings is that ‘if I’m not living on the edge, I’m taking up too much space’. I’ve got used to hanging on the edge – I feel like I’ve set up camp there. So why do I feel the resistance to doing something poorly so I can eventually do it well?

I realized after much thought, that like most entrepreneurs, I live with a very high expectation of what I should do, what I could do, and I don’t like to settle for second best. But for example, when I look back at the newsletters that I wrote 3 ½ years ago when I started writing this monthly column, my writing has definitely improved. Today I have readers from all over the world because I was willing to do something short of perfection back then. I’m sure I’ll look back 3 years from now and shake my head at how far my writing has come since today. So is it a willingness to do something poorly that is important or is it a willingness to just step up and step out and grow as a human being and an entrepreneur? I think that I prefer that viewpoint.

Besides, what is perfection?

Perfection is all relative anyways. I have a friend, originally from the Caribbean who thought that the hot, hot days we had here in Vancouver in July were perfect. She was in her element. Most of us were cursing the heat and waiting for some relief! ‘Mr. Perfect’ to another friend doesn’t look like anybody I’d want to cozy up with but she thinks he’s divine! I can have an assistant think they’ve done a job perfectly and I look at it as half-done! So if perfection is anybody’s definition and incredibly personal, why do we get so hung up on it? It’s all open to interpretation pretty much as far as I can see.

The other thing I realized is that many times we resist something that deep down we really want to do. Then once we are forced to do it, we just love it! Sometimes we fight the very thing that we really, really, really want to do. It’s ridiculous but I know I’ve done it more times than I can count. What about you? Are you fighting a gut feeling, ignoring it, hoping it will go away?

How many times have you heard me talk about the fear of success being greater than the fear of failure? Marianne Williamson said that it is what we are closest to, failure or success that we fear the most. What are you fearing? One of my clients said to me this week as we spoke about her big dream, ‘But Jan I don’t know how to do it. Who says we have to know how? I believe we have to know WHY and then we show up and the ‘how’ shows up almost magically!

So what are you putting off doing because you don’t think that you’ll be good enough or quite perfect? What are you waiting to do until you know all the ‘how’s’? Shall we just do it together?

A few years ago, after finishing a workshop with Harv Eker of Peak Potentials training, he was complimenting me on my speaking and training skills. He asked me if I could write. I said, ‘yes’. He said, ‘then I’ll see you at the top.’ Today, Harv is at the top, a best-selling author, an internationally known speaker who hangs out with the top names in the personal development industry. I remember his words often, ‘I’ll see you at the top.’ On days when I feel like I’m at the bottom, I remember that I am expected at the top. When I don’t think I’m good enough, I envision my cheering committee waiting for me to cross the finish line.

What’s stopping you from reaching the top of your mountain? What thoughts of not being good enough are hindering you from reaching your goals? Where are you taking yourself out of the game before you’ve even stepped up to the plate to swing? Stop.

Let me share something I honestly believe and know from personal experience. If you want to be at the top, then only you can get yourself there and only you can take yourself out. I know that I am the ONLY reason that I’m not at the top right this moment. It’s ONLY you that can have enough drive, desire, and passion to get to the top.

And then I ask, what is the top anyways? It’s as relative as perfection. Your top won’t be mine and mine won’t be yours. But if you don’t know what it looks like for you, you sure won’t recognize it when you get there. So yes, I know what the top looks like for me, and I encourage you to know what yours looks like for you.

So will I see you at the top? I sure hope so! And whoever gets there first – please remember to cheer! We both need it!

Have an awesome month.

Jan Janzen has been an entrepreneur for 25 years. She consults and coaches entrepreneurs all over North America. Jan’s motto that “You don’t get what you want out of your business, you get who you are” is the foundation of all of her work. www.janjanzen.com