Allison Rapp

How Perfection Can Stop You From Growing

Perfection is a common goal for hands-on practitioners—if you're striving for it, you're getting in your own way and stunting the growth of your practice.
Is sending a newsletter this painful?
If this is how you feel when it’s time to write a blog post or newsletter, ask yourself if you’re making it harder than it needs to be!

Does thinking about how long it’s going to take to perfect and get out your newsletter drive you nearly to tears?

Do you put off writing your next—perfect—blog post, because the amount of time it’s going to take is just too painful to contemplate?

Do you hesitate to offer a new—perfect—course or workshop because you don’t have all the details worked out or you have a few questions about what to teach or what points to make?

What do you tell yourself? That it takes too long? You don’t have anything to say that’s worth listening to? You’re really not capable of teaching at that level?

These are all common complaints, and when they become excuses, it’s easy to see why more clients don’t find you… don’t get in touch… don’t keep working with you!

Fortunately, it’s strongly connected to the quest for perfection that so many practitioners are on, and as usual… bringing it to awareness means we can choose to do something different!

How do you feel about perfection?

I use a very helpful assessment with the practitioners I’m working closely with. One of the trends I’m seeing is that more than 75% of these practitioners are the sort of folks who don’t want to make anything public until it’s perfect.

Extrapolating to the larger community, that means there’s a good chance that if you’re a hands-on practitioner you’ve also got that desire for perfection. While it’s a great asset in working with people, it could well be one of the most important reasons your practice isn’t growing the way you hoped it would.

How can this be so, when getting it right is so important to most holistic practitioners? I’m definitely not saying that you should put junk on your blog or throw it at your email list. I’m not saying you should offer a workshop that’s not worth attending. That kind of “practice” wouldn’t serve you or the people who come.

But I am saying that the connection you don’t make and the work you don’t offer doesn’t help you or your potential clients. I am saying that

  • It’s more important to be consistent than perfect.
  • It’s more important to be real than perfect.
  • It’s more important to be seen as knowledgeable than to be seen as perfect.
  • It’s more important to be visible than perfect.
  • It’s more important to help people with what you know than to make everyone wait for you to feel perfect.

Try being a work-in-progress

Building a practice is easier if you allow yourself to be a work-in-progress, rather than holding out for perfection every single time. The incredible side benefit is that as a ‘work in progress,’ you can make easier connections with your audience in less time, whether you’re writing to them, posting on your website or delivering the work that only you can bring to them. They see that you’re reliable, they find out who you are, they have the information they need to decide to work with you.

Showing up, even if you are not yet perfect allows your clients and potential clients to see that you’re knowledgeable, helpful, valuable and reliable. They find out who you are, they have the information they need to decide to work with you, and they know why they should refer their friends to you.

That helps everyone, and you get to spend time doing things you really love!

And the really great thing about it is that there is no perfect way to be a work-in-progress, so you can’t do it wrong, or less-than. When you’re a work-in-progress, you’re always doing it exactly as it should be done!

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