Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim…


Some people are always getting ready, but never quite pulling the trigger. They are putting the “final touches” on a project (or as we say in Texas “They’re fixin’ to do it”). This keeps them from being as successful as they could be. (I say “they”, but I am as guilty of this as anyone…).

There may be a couple of reasons for not completing the project, publishing the article, or whatever. One is procrastination. Another is perfectionism.

Sometimes we procrastinate because of “information overload”. With all of the resources we have available today, with the internet, etc. we could go on forever researching the right answer (or the wrong answer). The trick to this one is knowing that we will NEVER have ALL of the facts. There are diminishing returns for additional research. We must determine when we have enough information to move forward.

Procrastination drains us of energy, because the project remains on our to-do list. Our mind keeps nagging us with ideas for completing it, thus distracting us from what we are doing. There are only 2 alternatives to get this mental energy back. Either we decide we are never going to complete it, and permanently drop it from the list, or we get busy and get it done. As Ed Foreman says, “If you’ve got a frog to swallow, do it first thing in the morning.” The sense of accomplishment we get from completing a goal enhances our self esteem and gives us the energy to tackle the next one.

Another reason a lot of us have for not completing the project is that we want it to be absolutely perfect. Our name is going to be associated with it and we want a spotless reputation. What we need to remember, though, is that no one will get any benefit from the project unless we put it out there.

I remember early in my computer programming career when management chose to release a product with a known bug! I was flabbergasted! How could they publish something that we knew had an issue??? They pointed out to me that the benefits of using our software would by far outweigh the issue in one little part of it. Something software companies learned early on was that it could be fixed in the next release (and yes, there would always be a next release…).

The solution to perfectionism is to remember, as one mentor kept telling me, “Good enough is good enough!”. Aim for perfection, but put it out there when it works well enough. You can always improve it later.

Now, Ready, Aim, and FIRE!

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