Security Management

Perfection is the destination, not the starting point

Preface: This post is not directly related to security. It’s something for all professionals to consider.

It’s the start of a new day. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and we have a fresh start. We have time to smell the roses and ensure everything goes our way (Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah!). Yet how often do our mornings actually start like this?

More often our days start frenetically as we rush to our jobs and other activities.  We miss critical details that may or may not make a difference.  It’s really the same with anything new.

Many of us want things to be perfect when we start something, whether it’s a new day, a new job, or a new project.  There are those who won’t even start until everything is in line according to their plans. The expectation of perfectionism isn’t realistic and really hampers our efforts. This leads to the title of this piece: “Perfection is the destination, not the starting point.”  Being perfect is something to strive for, not to start with.

If you wait to start anything until whatever you’re doing is perfect, you’ll start nothing. Or To take from Jeff Bullas’ blog Are You Waiting to be Perfect?, “If you don’t start then nothing will happen…. it is that simple.”  Or as Leo Tolstoy puts it in Anna Karenina, “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

It’s unrealistic not to expect something to go wrong or at least not be exactly like we want.  It’s better to embrace life’s imperfections and know when “good enough” is really what you need. This sets the level of expectations for everyone, even (if not especially) ourselves.  Admitting our propensity for errors demonstrates our humanity and shows that we are real.  It’s a paradox that when we allow for our weaknesses, it demonstrates our strengths.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and that step doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be there. An organization’s culture needs to embrace this concept and allow employees to be willing to step out and start.  Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything he encourages entrepreneurs to make meaning, make mantra, and get going. It’s a definitive guide for anyone starting anything.

What do you need to start?  Are you waiting for it to be perfect before you do?  Don’t. It’s okay to be human.  If you never start anything, you’ll never go anywhere.

[Note: This is being cross-posted on IBC Viewpoints.]