We often read articles reminding us not to get caught up in the seemingly picture-perfect world of those we follow on social media. After all, trying to chase perfection as viewed through a social media lens can lead to a wide range of unhealthy consequences.
In reality, it’s okay to be imperfect. This is true of our everyday lives, but it’s even more vital to consider when it comes to your own business efforts.
True perfection isn’t possible — even for female entrepreneurs like Stephanie Joanne, or “SJ” as she’s more commonly known in close-knit circles.
Despite her successful transition from fitness guru to business coach, SJ is quick to note that embracing imperfections and learning from mistakes has been central to her own journey. In fact, without allowing room for imperfection, she may never have achieved her current status.
Here’s how the right mindset can make a difference for you, too.
All too often, a fear of failure will keep us from pushing forward and trying to accomplish our goals. This condition, often referred to as “analysis paralysis,” literally brings productivity to a halt. Instead of working toward a milestone, you get stuck and start overthinking the possible consequences if things were to go wrong.
For SJ, embracing imperfections allows her to avoid this roadblock altogether.
“I know I’m not going to do everything exactly right every single time, but I’m okay with that. I’m still going to give everything my best effort. Most of the time, any little mistakes that might happen can be corrected fairly quickly.”
If you wait to work on something until you’re certain that you’ll get it exactly perfect, there’s a good chance you’ll never even get started. Instead, allow yourself to make mistakes along the way so you can make continual progress toward your next big milestone.
“When you’re not trying to force yourself to be perfect, it becomes much easier to enjoy your own unique journey,” SJ adds. “When you let yourself be happy with what you’re doing now, you’ll be far more likely to be satisfied with how things turn out in the end.”
SJ didn’t jump into business coaching right away. Initially, she worked as a health and fitness expert. “A lot of what I do today, I learned on the job as I built my fitness brand,” she explains. “At the time, I didn’t know enough to coach anybody else on how to run their business — I had to figure out how to grow my own brand first!”
Hard work and continual hustling helped her establish a successful fitness brand and land over 200 media appearances. This doesn’t mean that every media outreach attempt was a success. Nor did every appearance instantly lead to a big boost in revenue.
“Each time I did a media appearance, I learned something new,” SJ says. “I found some way that I could improve for my next appearance. By looking at each new opportunity as a learning experience, I could always take away something of value, even if I didn’t get the ‘sales results’ that I hoped for.”
Making mistakes or not performing at your absolute best early in your entrepreneurial journey doesn’t have to derail your hopes and dreams. Find the learning opportunities in these experiences so you can perform better in the future, and you’ll make the gradual improvements you need to achieve success.
Even when you develop a more open-minded attitude toward your own imperfections, it’s not unusual to have down days where you feel like a failure. “I still have bad days, even now,” SJ says.
“Things don’t always work out, and that can be frustrating sometimes. But when I give myself a moment to reflect on how much progress I’ve made over the last five years, it helps put everything in perspective.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re still trying to fine-tune your business idea or you’re struggling to get through those early days of a startup. When you look back at where you were a year or even a month ago, it becomes much easier to see how much progress you’ve made — this is why so many people keep a journal. When you reflect on the past, it’s easier to see that you know more today. You’ve accomplished more.
Then apply this outlook to your future.
How much more will you know a year from now? How much closer will you be to your biggest goals? Looking back at the progress you’ve made can give you hope for doing even better in the future and help you feel better about your current imperfections.
Nobody’s perfect — not even the people we idolize in the business world. As SJ illustrates, you don’t have to achieve perfection to become a successful entrepreneur and build your own self-made empire, making millions (literally) in the process — should you desire them, of course.
As you become willing to push forward even when you make mistakes, look for learning opportunities each day and use the progress you’ve already made as a motivating force, you will be able to develop the skills and outlook you need to achieve your own goals.