I have never been a perfectionist. I actually pride myself on shoot first, ask questions later, but this has left a wake of destruction in my path.
Let me take you back to 2016. I was working with dream bands, my best friend in an amazing independent music business, living in a gorgeous city, in a beautiful home, in the best part of town. It was everything I had ever fantasized about happening in my career. I was touring the world, rubbing shoulders with the most profound artists, creatives and personalities I could imagine, I was in my mid-thirties, and I was just pinching myself. Turns out, I wasn’t pinching hard enough.
I was overwhelmingly busy, working 24/7, answerable to all time-zones, on any given day. The music industry doesn’t sleep on weekends nor does it slow for holidays. I was trying to prove myself, I wanted to make myself indispensable. I wanted to be everything to everyone, juggling global touring budgets and social media posts with international accounts and finances, alongside daily PR schedules. I wanted to be a part of the big picture, and I wanted to control the daily details. Here’s the thing, the details are just not my jam.
I am not a perfectionist.
Done is better in my error filled book. As Patten said, “a violently executed plan today is better than a perfectly executed plan next week.” I live by these words. Unfortunately, my clients, prospects, business partners and even my personal confidantes are tortured by these words.
Perhaps the worst offender in my “done is better than perfect" motto, I can’t make myself care about the details.
I blatantly misuse the rules of grammar, switch out there-their-they’re and litter my communications, professional correspondence, even presentations and proposals with typos.
If you’re getting queazy you may want to stop now, because it gets worse.
Back to my idyllic job amongst luminaries and friends, a make my own hours, work anywhere especially exotic and to-die-for locations, scenario. A HUGE announcement was coming out. Career defining. A pièce de résistance. And I was rolling it out. To the publicity teams around the world, the heads of marketing across international labels, and to our million + rabid social media followers - it all had to “Drop” at a specific hour, on a specific day because a multi-million dollar deal said so.
I belabored this communication. I had tears coming out of my eyes I read it so many times. I tried all the tricks of the trade - reading it backwards, sending it to myself, reversing the colors. Did I get other eyes on it? No?!?! Then people would know my glaring shame. Ok, so maybe asking for help was a challenge for me as well. But it does not compare to my attention to detail, meaning the brazen lack thereof.
As I tortured myself, I thought about my best friend, because she has rolled her eyes at me more than most at my careless communications and flippant sends. She’s cried out in shock and dismay, “don’t you re-read your texts and emails before sending it out?!” Um, no. It never even occurred to me to do so?
Yes, that’s how bad I am.
So, after I went through the motions and distractedly edited for the details, I posted it. And it ended my career.
Well, not really, but it felt like that. I messed up a date. I messed up support band spellings. I think I even swopped a city and venue around. I can’t remember, it’s like a black hole of pain and misery for me. I swore up and down I would never do it again. And then I did.
That was the real game-changer. My team called me out. Are you happy? Are you high? What’s happening?
Turns out that’s a whole other blog post, but they were right. I wasn’t focused. I wasn’t intentional. I lacked purpose. I was going through the motions.
When you’re living your dream life, sometimes we start to fray around the edges, gloss things over, lose our laser focus. Why? Because we did it. We’re here. We’re getting sloppy.
Oh wait, just me?
As they say, everything happens for a reason. What did I learn? Rushing through ANYTHING is disastrous. If you lack intention and purpose in anything you do, even sending a text message, you will detract from any impact or success you had intended. Will you get your message over the line, sure. Will it yield unpredictable and potentially damaging results, maybe. And without clarity, how can you ever clean that mess up, if you don’t know what you were trying to do in the first place?
Without getting into that ensuing year of transition, I realized I had lost purpose, direction and clarity. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a social media post or reading a multimillion dollar agreement. It all matters. It’s all part of the bigger picture. It all impacts the potential. I needed to pinch myself, harder. because it turns out, I was numb.
Also, I still make typos. Once we discover a blindspot, we have two options - address it, or put the tools and systems in place to overcome it. No matter what I do I make mistakes. That’s the whole problem, I don’t care, copy editing is NOT my zone of genius.
So I hired someone, they’re literally my mistake minder. They dot my i’s, cross my t’s, subtly but diligently go through my writing and posts, and proposals and presentations and subtly correct my wrongs. Did I feel ridiculous for needing this? Absolutely. Could I have talked myself out of this for being irresponsible and unnecessary, sure. But what’s more important?
I think typos and mistakes are minor flaws in the bigger picture. But it takes all types. I know typos are bad *eye roll*. Rather than rally against them and start a “inclusive shit grammar and blame autocorrect” movement I can accept the situation at hand and put in the necessary steps and systems to create the desired end result.
I will create near perfectionism for my people. I apply kamikaze work ethic and prolific output on my end, I hire out careful, prudent mindfulness of the minutiae for the input.
If I start with, I don’t GAF about typos, guess what …
If I tell myself minor mistakes don’t matter, guess what …
If I shift my perspective and get very intentional about what I am creating, why I am taking action, infuse intention at every step, guess what …
It’s all a self fulfilling prophecy.