Perfection as a proxy for fear of failure

The fear of failure disguises itself in various forms and strikes us in many unsuspecting ways. Striving for perfection is one of them. It isn’t obvious at first but when we dig deeper and introspect, we can realize the fear of failure being the hidden driving force.

We want to do a great job and we want to push out a great product. That is fine and it has its merits. But after a certain point our strive for perfection becomes a proxy for our fear of failure. Perfection becomes an excuse. It’s easy to get caught up in this. We need to be aware and watch out.

When the deadlines skip for reasons of (lack of) perfection, it’s time to pause and reflect.

Are we losing sight of our goals?

What is driving our quest for perfection and not wanting to mark it done?

What is the benefit of the incremental perfection achieved or often perceived? After a certain point it is very minimal.

What will happen if you push out the product without it being 100% as perfect as you want it to be? We are our biggest critic. Clients/users of our products could be more forgiving.

Like artists, we need to know when to stop painting.

If we roll out a truly perfect product then it will forever be at version 1.0. Rollout a decent product and enhance it over subsequent versions. Perfection is after all something to chase without really achieving it. Prefer progress over perfection.

Keep the fear of failure at bay and strive for progress, not perfection. That’s the key.