Someone once asked me, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s a great question and for someone with a fear of failure it can open up possibilities that might not have previously been accessible to conscious awareness. For me, that question tends to steer my thinking into big, long-term projects. Today I’ve got something more mundane in mind.
What’s currently on your ‘to-do’ list that’s not getting done because you’re scared of screwing it up? Is there something that you tell yourself you need to be in a certain mood to achieve? (for example, writing an article, report or book) Is there a task where so much is at stake, that you want to get it right first time? (for example, following up a sales lead, preparing a big speech or presentation, tackling someone about a problem)
If not, you needn’t read the rest of this. Have a great day!
If there IS something that you’re not getting round to doing because you’re afraid of making a mess of it, read on.
If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.
So said Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic, when I heard her tell her story at a conference some years back. It stuck in my mind, because it horrified my perfectionist little soul so much I couldn’t think about anything else for days!
So, I invite you to think about it too. If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.
After much contemplation, I decided to add two words:
If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly – at first.
If something is so important that you want to get it right, it’s better to get started and have a go than not do it at all. If you’re worried about messing it up, good. Maybe you haven’t done your ‘homework’ yet, so use that anxiety to motivate you to get started on that research, frame an outcome, create a strategy and then to take action.
It’s rare that you only have one chance to get it right. There will always be other opportunities. The important thing is to make full use of today’s opportunities so that they don’t clutter up tomorrow.