I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag.
Today’s tip is to aim to be good enough, rather than perfect.
I used to aim for perfection. In the 80s, a lot of writing in business looked at the success of the Japanese manufacturers and their focus on being perfect in many ways. Not that they get there, but they aimed for perfection. This drove me in my career in many ways, helping me to adopt testing, documentation, and re-checking work.
Over time I realized that this didn’t work well for me in many ways. I could get caught up in making something better than it needed to be and spend more time than necessary. There were also problems and situations where I couldn’t even find perfection, which also drove me crazy.
I found in my career, that perfection can also vary. What I think as perfect as a developer or sysadmin isn’t what a client might think. I learned to be effective and solve problems. Not just a patch for the moment, but an imperfect patch that could las for some time. A decision that I might have to revisit if things changed, but that was good enough for now.
I learned to get things done. Today, I continue to do that, especially in speaking. I’m not aiming for the perfect take in presentations. A movie scene may take 10, 20, or more takes to get right. I’ve certainly approached some video recordings like this.
Now I accept some small mistakes, mis-speaks, stutters, or other imperfections. In the grand scheme of what I’m trying to do, it’s good enough, though certainly not perfect.
When I coach, I aim to keep improving the athletes. Helping them to grow and become better, but not obsessing over things not being perfect. Instead, we want to be good, and more importantly, be able to adapt and still be successful.
This isn’t to aim at being half-assed, but more that we find some 侘寂 (wabi sabi).