Done Is Better Than Perfect (Except When It’s Not)

0001-57457559I’m a big fan of the phrase “Done is better than perfect.”

In a lot of cases, I believe it to be completely true.

After all, one of the main roadblocks that often holds us back from sharing our work with the world whether it’s a new product, a blog post, a book, a video, or whatever, is this notion that something has to be 100% complete and PERFECT before you launch, share or hit publish.

This is simply not true.

Listen, I’m not saying you should put out crap work or something you aren’t proud to have your name stamped on, but at some point, you need to accept that perfection isn’t possible. You need to understand that it’s better to get something out into the world and improve upon it later than to sit on it forever.

A perfect example of this is when I launched my 30 Days of Gutsy course to a beta group. I wasn’t necessarily ready to share the content publicly. In fact, I could keep tinkering with the course content, the email layouts and all the other elements that go into the course forever if I really wanted to. But I knew that in order to move my goals forward, I needed to launch with a minimum viable product (MVP) and could always continue tweaking and improving the course later.

This strategy worked well. The course went off without a hitch and I now have the feedback I need to improve the course before officially launching it this winter.

That brings me back to this phrase that I believe in so strongly.

Done is better than perfect

…except when it’s not.

Sometimes done is NOT better than perfect.

Here’s a recent example of when it wasn’t…and how I knew.

On Sunday afternoon, I sat down in front of my computer to record a video for you. I’ve mentioned it before, but video takes me way out of my comfort zone, so it takes a lot to finally muster up the courage and energy to turn on the camera.

I spent an hour recording the video and another hour editing it. I had dinner plans that night, so I started the process of uploading the video to YouTube and headed out. When I got home, I previewed the video and was shocked at what I saw.

The lighting was completely terrible. For some reason, I accidentally changed my iMovie settings and the video had zoomed in super close to my face, almost cutting off the top of my head. To fix that, I changed some setting after the fact that then added a strange black border around the video. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong did. The content was there, but the quality of the video was extremely low. Not the kind of work I’m proud to put my name and brand behind.

done is better than perfect- Jessica Lawlor
A tale of two videos: the first take that I ended up throwing away…and the final and published second take, a product I was proud to put my name behind.

I struggled with what to do. I wanted to publish the video that next day. I was frustrated that I had spent two hours on something that would never see the light of day. I grappled with the decision to just publish the thing anyway because the content was there- I was proud of the information included in the video, but unhappy with how it came out. The video wasn’t the normal quality of work I produce.

Ultimately, I made the decision NOT to publish the video and re-recorded it a couple of days later. That’s the video I shared earlier this week, a video I’m extremely proud of. I’m glad I waited.

This was the perfect case of done is not always better than perfect.

So here’s the kicker. How will you know when done ISN’T better than perfect?

The answer is simple.

You’ll feel it in your gut.

You will literally feel it in your stomach (and with your instincts).

When I thought about publishing that first video and sharing it on social media and with the Get Gutsy community, I just had a feeling of dread. Bad butterflies dancing in my stomach. A feeling of “This is not what I want the world to see when they go to my YouTube channel.”

Just to make sure, I decided to sleep on it…to step away from the decision for a few hours and come back to it at a later time when I wasn’t so attached emotionally to the outcome. Sure enough, when I watched the video the next day, I had the same exact feelings, so I decided to trust my instincts and trash the video.

Here’s the thing. The second video is NOT perfect. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room for improvement here. I know that. But I was proud to hit publish on this video and I was excited to share it with the world.

I guess that brings me to this truth: done is better than perfect (except when it’s not).

What are your thoughts around the phrase “Done is better than perfect?” Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

Want more gutsy content delivered straight to your inbox twice a month? Be sure to sign up for my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter filled with inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone. When you sign up, you’ll also be sent a FREE copy of the Get Gutsy ebook, filled with 19 inspirational stories to help you get gutsy.


Jessica_Lawlor_Blog Bio@2x

Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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