Is done really better than perfect?
It seems like every business podcast I listen to and every book I read lately is saying “done is better than perfect” or “put it out there before you’re ready” and I’ve got to say it, I hate this advice.
Yes, I am a perfectionist, but let me explain.
“They say” you have to start somewhere so just get your thing out there. And I totally agree that you have to start somewhere. But I think this messaging implies that it’s ok to rush things or even be lazy about your work.
What if I told my website clients, “done is better than perfect - we’re going live…” or “you just have to launch before you’re ready.” I don’t think I’d still be in business.
The reality is, if you release something before you’re ready… whether that’s music or a new product or service… you’re not going to have confidence in it, or in yourself. And when that’s the case, you’re not going to give your “thing” the support it needs to be successful.
So when that “thing” isn’t successful, you take the blame for failure and go into “I’m not good enough” mode. But really, if you just settled for done and don’t really believe in what you’re releasing - why should anyone else?
If you want to release music, don’t just record it and release it to get it out there “before you’re ready.” That’s only going to hurt you. You’ll be shy about promoting it because you won’t even know what you’re trying to accomplish or what message you’re trying to share and in the back of your mind you’ll be thinking about how you “started before you were ready” and it’ll keep you from taking any next steps.
Practice. Play your songs out live. See what it is people resonate with most about your music. Do more of that. Repeat. A lot. Your songs will grow and evolve. And so will you. You will gain more and more confidence in your music and in yourself. When you feel like you have that, then you can record and release them out into the world. Because at that point, you will know exactly what you want to accomplish. (Note - if you’re not an artist, you can look at this example as a metaphor for your work.)
To wrap this up, how about we agree to reframe “done is better than perfect” and “start before you’re ready” to instead say that “you have to start somewhere so start with the basics” and “don’t try to jump straight to the end goal.” Start with the basics. Learn as you go. Make iterations. Don’t rush creativity. Don’t feel like you have to share something before you’re ready because all the gurus are telling you to.
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