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The Pitfalls of Perfectionism in Entrepreneurship

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"Perfection is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough -- that we should try again."
-- Julia Cameron

"The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form."
-- Stanley Randall

There has been an increased public interest in the pursuit of entrepreneurship, the activities of individuals and companies in this arena, and the collective attempts to create a better work/life balance within the entrepreneurial space. This involves the ability to adapt, as well as the ability to cognitively harness time and be more productive. A byproduct of honing these traits is increased problem solving; needed for disruptive innovation and promoting change.

Perfectionism actually impedes creativity and innovation, yet paradoxically, seems to thrive in today's workplace, especially in entrepreneurship. For some reason this behavioral trait is often perceived as a figurative olympic medal. A medal proudly worn by uber-efficient and competent people, who view it as the price to be paid for providing top tier performances in a chosen field. In reality, creativity and imagination actually spur momentum, not perfectionism. Making mistakes and learning from them can help an entrepreneur sustain his/her business and brand.

Today's successful entrepreneur, especially a female one who tends to wear many hats over the course of a day, can be more vulnerable to perfectionism. Why? Because of the increased emphasis being placed on multi-tasking and multi-faceted digital avatars for social media marketing. It is why it's time to view perfectionism as the enemy, something that is actually toxic for entrepreneurs, for these three reasons:

1. It creates a dichotomy between belief and behavior, by fostering negative "Us vs. Them" thinking, resulting in insufficient calls to action and team work. This inertia can cause one to reduce risk taking, collaboration, delegation/outsourcing tasks, and attempts to seek help as needed.

2. It mentally creates a false reality of how things actually are vs. how they should be, leading to skewed self-perception, stagnant innovation, and increased stress.

3. It creates either heightened inner anxiety and/or arrogance, resulting in disconnected emotional resonance with others, which is needed. When? When an entrepreneur attempts to pitch to clients, maintain a client base, engage in social technology communications, and accept and/or provide actual and/or virtual mentorship.

There has been a rise in the pursuit of perfectionism lately, and people are wondering why and what to do about it. Today's startup culture is fiercely competitive; a show of both financial and psychological warfare. Added to the mix is the increasing need for technologically savvy, multidirectional marketing, using social media.

To play the game of life, let alone the game of entrepreneurship, one needs to adopt certain behaviors and mindsets. The game requires agile, habituated, and reactive mental gymnastics. To quickly sort through seemingly random patterns and find commonalities. To take those sometimes unremarkable patterns, those low key "findings", and transform them into decisive, creative, "bling-y" actions. Actions that are publicized in a splashy, attention getting way, on social media sites. Successful entrepreneurship thus requires vigilance to counteract perfectionism by being flexible, humble, tolerating failure, and above all retaining one's sense of humor!