Letting go of perfection… and embracing process

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I’ve made a commitment to myself to create more, less “perfect” content. I don’t want to just write about best practices in entrepreneurship, I want to live them. That means that I’m going to be trying and failing with the best of you.

However, when I opened an email I recently sent to my mailing list, this was my reaction…

I had a grammatical error in THE FIRST SENTENCE.

To say that typos & grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine is an understatement. They have a way of really getting under my skin.

I think it stems from years of conditioning when I worked at a healthcare consultancy after graduating college. The expectation, whether real or perceived, was that you simply didn’t make mistakes. We were consultants and we needed to operate at super human levels of perfection. It’s what our clients deserved. It’s worth noting, the company was filled to the brim with overachievers. 

However, in entrepreneurship, that’s just not possible.

In fact, Seth Godin, i.e. the marketing genius of our time, often emphasizes the importance of shipping things.

Do your best. Then ship it. 

Seth is quick to say this doesn’t mean that you should do sloppy work. It just means that to better serve the world, you should do the best work you can with the time you have and then share it… for better or for worse. 

So, while I was having my first-thing-on-Monday-morning freakout, my lovely husband said to me, “Well, Christina, it sounds like you need to adjust your process.”

My husband is a chemical engineer and in his line of work he lives and breathes process. In his world, if you catch something that’s not working, you adjust the process and… Voilà, you’re going to good!

He’s 100% right.

My new process for avoiding writing errors is as follows:

  • Ideally, I will wait at least 24 hours after I write a piece of content to then edit it with a fresh set of eyes.
  • If it needs to go out the same day, then I will at least wait 1 hour before editing and finalizing it.
  • I will read the content out loud all of the way through at least once.

Will this process solve all of my problems?

Probably not, but I do suspect it’ll help me avoid more grammatical errors than not having a process would.

In the words of my mentor, Maria Kingery, the co-founder of the B Corp Southern Energy Management, “Go out there and make a mess.”

And when things do happen to get a bit messy, think about whether there is a way to tweak your process to avoid making the same mistake in the future.