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Strive for Imperfection! That Should be the Goal of Every Entrepreneur.

Nobody's perfect. But the more imperfect you are, the more successful you might be! The first definition of perfect in Merriam-Webster's dictionary is "being entirely without fault or defect: flawless, e.g., a perfect diamond." If that's the case, there are no perfect entrepreneurs, at least none that are successful! Because entrepreneurs are human, have flaws and make mistakes. The most successful ones are the ones that learn how to overcome their flaws and learn from their mistakes. And therein lies the essence of entrepreneurial success. Corporate, professional and personal growth!

I've noted more than once, in various blog posts, that we learn more from failure than we ever learn from success. But let's amplify that. We learn more from correcting what made us fail. This is more than just "lean start-up" stuff; more than a "pivot." This is making every day a teachable or more, a "learnable" moment. It's not just learning from every mistake, but from every negative encounter in your business. It means understanding what your weaknesses are and working to correct them. The more imperfect you are, the better you can become!

But, there's a caveat! You have to "know" that you failed; "know" that you've made a mistake, and "know" that you have weaknesses. Know is in quotes because it means you have to acknowledge each and believe that you can and should correct them. And that is where growth comes from.

However, for entrepreneurs this is not so easy.  Especially, when passion and belief (and ego) drive their business coupled with, often, much of their personal assets at risk.

So, Ms. Owner, Mr. Entrepreneur, here are some questions to ask yourself to enable you to "strive for imperfection," grow your business and grow yourself, professionally and personally:

Are you living Einstein's quote in your business?
What's the last major strategy change you implemented in your business? Keeping your head down, simply persevering and continually coming up short, is not only insanity, but not very rewarding, either financially or psychologically. Even with your hard work, if your business results have been less than stellar, have you refused to admit that the course you are pursuing is wrong, despite the advice from people around you? Hey, it's not easy. But, if you're not getting where you want to go, maybe it's time to admit the course is wrong, learn not only why, but why you continued with it when it was obviously wrong.This is a huge "learnable" moment. And then correct it with a strategy change and the vow to work smart as well as hard.

What's the last new business thing you learned that you applied to your business?
Business is constantly changing, with ever smarter people coming up with new ideas for how to do everything from selling better to hiring people more effectively to creating new markets.Has your learning stopped? What's the last professional seminar you attended? What's the last business book you read? (I know, I know, who has the time?)  And what did you learn from either? How did it apply to your business and how did you use it? If your answers to these questions were lukewarm, it's time to expand your vistas. There's a whole new world out there of good, inexpensive ideas that you can apply to your business to correct minor faults. The imperfect seek knowledge!

Are there employees in your business, vendors or customers, you regularly deal with, who have surpassed their expiration date?
We are creatures of habit. We tend to keep relationships long past their shelf life. Business relationships that are not growing, getting better over time, drag down the business. Be they early employees who fight change and want to do things, "the old way." Or vendors, whose erratic delivery performance wasn't a big deal because their prices were so good in the early days, now cause problems for you meeting your own schedules. Or customers, whose excessive demands were tolerated when you were a young company, because they made up so much of your revenue, but now, with dwindling purchases, are just a customer service nightmare. Sometimes something that was right, becomes wrong and you have to correct mistakes that have evolved over time.

Does your professional and personal assessment come from your mirror?
Can you really, objectively, assess your professional and personal strengths and weaknesses? Have you become like the employees, vendors and customers that we noted in the previous paragraph; where what were strengths are now weaknesses? Where what was once passion, now borders on wild-eyed zeal? Or maybe boredom, just going through the daily motions? Before you can correct your imperfections, you need to know what they are. If you have advisors, who you respect and who you feel know you well, meet each of them one-on-one and have them give you a professional assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Same thing on the personal side with good friends. Make sure they're friends who aren't afraid to tell you the truth. Before you can correct flaws you need to know, objectively, what those flaws are.

Strive for imperfection! Nobody's perfect. Know when you've failed, made a mistake or have weaknesses. Aim to correct and learn from them. This not only makes you a better entrepreneur and professional, but a better person.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

Have you turned a failure into a "learnable" moment? Please share it in your comments. It can help another entrepreneur.

If you like this post, by all means, share it with your networks and colleagues.


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2013-06-02 08:04:09 by Clark Vitulli

"Perfect" article! Total buy in here!

2013-06-03 06:55:13 by Charlie Seymour Jr

Nice article about being imperfect, Lonnie. Hey... no problem with that over here! lol

What we recommend to clients is that they ban the word "failure" from their lexicon. It has so much baggage with it that most people can't see their way through the quagmire.

We substitute "Feedback" instead.

You put something out to the market and it doesn't go over well? The market is giving feedback that it doesn't like what you offer. Learn from it, avoid the Einsteinian-repeat problem, and improve what you do and what you offer.

And heck - the first lesson toddlers learn is: when you fell down: GET UP!

Charlie Seymour Jr

2013-06-11 01:52:23 by Ciaran Keating

Charlie, I don't share your reluctance to use the word "failure". Rather than dodge the issue by substituting a weasel word, I prefer to face the truth. Failure happens, and despite what the movies tell you it is acceptable. Just not too much of it!


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