Accept that you are not perfect and you will never be. Accept that your work is not infallible, and no one’s work is. Begin to set realistic and attainable goals. Remember that no one really cares. No seriously, people are mostly thinking about themselves. Remember that no one has it all figured out, we’re all just winging it!
Many successful people are perfectionists. At the same time, they have the ability to say “Done is Better Than Perfect” and just complete and wrap up a project. What is the best way to overcome the stalling and procrastination that perfectionism causes? How does one overcome the fear of potential critique or the fear of not being successful? In this interview series, called How To Get Past Your Perfectionism And ‘Just Do It’, we are interviewing successful leaders who can share stories and lessons from their experience about “how to overcome the hesitation caused by perfectionism.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deepak Shukla.
Deepak Shukla is an SEO industry leader as well as being the founder of Pearl Lemon and its offshoot site, pearllemonleads.com. He is well known in the digital marketing world for sharing insights and expertise about SEO and lead generation strategies with his audience, helping them to grow their businesses
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My parents migrated from India in search of a better life in England. So all my childhood memories are in the UK. I was considered a ‘gifted’ student when I was in middle school, but I ended up going to one of the statistically worst schools in the country. Thankfully, I finished school with good grades and a relatively good social life before studying English Literature at Warwick University.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
A vice president of a major company once told me, “Execution matters more.” Those three words have stuck with me since my mid 20’s and serve as a constant reminder that talk is cheap, and actually getting things done matters way more.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Grant Cardone’s “10x rule” book stood out to me the most. I’ve actually listened to this audiobook two times in a row because it’s that good. I’ve never done that with another book, but this one was truly significant because it taught me that success requires 10x more work than we think to get the results we want.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Perseverance and persistence are the two characteristics that have helped me get to where I am now. Success is mostly comprised of continual failure and disappointment. In order to come back from failures and make smarter choices, I needed perseverance. To be able to build a successful lead generation agency and SEO agency, I had to be persistent as well. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t, but those two characteristics keep me going.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly is a perfectionist? Can you explain?
Perfectionism can be described as being detail-oriented to a fault. A perfectionist will work on something with the aim of achieving this idea of perfection that doesn’t actually exist. They may be bogged down with self-critical thoughts that paralyze them from getting things done because nothing is ever perfect to them.
The premise of this interview series is making the assumption that being a perfectionist is not a positive thing. But presumably, seeking perfection can’t be entirely bad. What are the positive aspects of being a perfectionist? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
The positive aspects of perfectionism are very few:
1. You’re more likely to pay attention to minuscule details that others would miss: This can be seen with artists who paint the most realistic depictions of their subjects down to the nose hairs.
2. You are interested in producing the highest-quality work possible: This can be seen with writers who spend years writing ground-breaking novels that are well-written and are impactful to readers.
What are the negative aspects of being a perfectionist? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
The problem with perfection is that it doesn’t really exist. Nothing is perfect. You may think that article you wrote was carefully researched and well-written. But there will always be someone that can find a flaw in your work. Let’s say you missed the apostrophe in “you’re,” does that mean you should throw the whole article away?
Another issue with perfectionism is it can lead people to procrastinate because they are being too self-critical. There’s this thought process of “it’s not good enough” that can hinder you from actually doing what you’re meant to do. Perfectionism can paradoxically lead to procrastination, and that leads you nowhere.
From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common reasons that cause a perfectionist to “get stuck” and not move forward? Can you explain?
When you get stuck, sometimes it’s because you’re stuck in your own head. Take a break, clear your head, and return to your work with a fresh perspective. This is a tactic that editors and writers use to re-analyze their work and get it to a higher standard. Let go of that nagging need to be perfect…and just do it!
Here is the central question of our discussion. What are the five things a perfectionist needs to know to get past their perfectionism and “just do it?” Please share a story or example for each.
1. Accept that you are not perfect and you will never be.
2. Accept that your work is not infallible, and no one’s work is.
3. Begin to set realistic and attainable goals.
4. Remember that no one really cares. No seriously, people are mostly thinking about themselves.
5. Remember that no one has it all figured out, we’re all just winging it!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would start a movement that trains people to use the resources they have to build careers for themselves. Many people overlook their own potential, and I’d like to spark something in them to remind them that they all have something to contribute to the world.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Elon Musk would be my first choice, but Ranulph Fiennes is also someone I’d love to lunch with someday. He’s an incredible writer and poet and I find him incredibly inspirational.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow my blog on deepakshukla.com!
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!