Episode 189: Your Pencils Could Always Be Sharper

Episode 189: Your Pencils Could Always Be Sharper

Look, your pencils could always be sharper, okay? Your hair could be shinier. Your long-jump could be longer. Joe and I talk about your worst trait, and why it’s keeping you paralysed. I also get over-enthusiastic about Brené Brown, who is a wise owl. If you struggle to get your best stuff out there, listen in to this episode, and listen good.

Key Points

  • [1:20] Vicky is in her brand new office!!!
  • [2:50] Vicky is looking to name her office. Do you have a name suggestion for her?
  • [5:10] Vicky recently had a crap experience with a provider and wants to share how you can avoid making the same mistakes.
  • [9:25] Do you suffer from perfectionism?
  • [13:00] How can perfectionism make you ill?
  • [19:20] Are you your mistakes or are you just someone who makes mistakes?
  • [20:00] Don’t praise children for the end product, praise them for the work they did.
  • [21:40] Perfectionism keeps you outside of the action.
  • [25:20] Slowly work your way towards being ‘good enough’ instead of ‘perfect enough’. 
  • [28:00] Vicky is almost done writing her book! Preorder it now!Mentioned in This Episode:​WebsiteVicky on MediumPreorder Vicky’s new book!Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and OvercastProject DingleBrene BrownWant to know more? I’ve written a book, you know. You can get your mitts on it here.If you’ve read my book and you’re ready to take the next step: brilliant. You could join my Small Business Superheroes Inner Circle here.Want to read the transcript? See below…​

Episode Transcript

Business For Superheroes Podcast Transcription: Episode One Hundred And Eighty Nine: Your Pencils Could Always Be Sharper

Download the PDF here…

*In an industry stuffed with marketing bullshit, empty promises and shiny-suited liars, one woman’s had enough. She knows what it’s like to have the wrong clients, no money and no time for fun, but she also knows how to fix it, and, on the Business For Superheroes Show, she promises to tell the down and dirty truth about business, sales and running away with the circus! Here’s your host: Vicky Fraser…*  

Vicky:  Hello, and welcome to the Business For Superheroes 1,000 Moxie Authors show.

Joe:  The what, now?

Vicky:  Well, we haven’t changed it yet, have we? I know. Well then once many people listen to this, maybe it will have been changed.

Joe: I think that’s what you said last time.

Vicky:  Mm. Right, this is really exciting because if you’re watching this podcast on the YouTube, you’ll notice that we don’t have laundry behind us, there isn’t a massive mess, there aren’t drape-y wires. What you will notice, in fact, is that we’re in my new office.

Joe: Yay!

Vicky:  It’s fricken’ awesome, isn’t it?

Joe: It is pretty damn cool.

Vicky: It’s pretty damn cool. I am so delighted. I’ve had this grin on my face all day. This is my first full day in the office, and I’ve got actually very little done apart from preparing this podcast and then recording it because I’ve just been too excited about the whole thing.

Joe: You prepare these podcasts?

Vicky:  How very dare you? Today, we are drinking hot drinks.

Joe: Hot drinks.

Vicky: Because we are still working out how to heat my new office appropriately. I think I bought a heater that’s a little bit too small for the space.

Joe: Yeah.

Vicky:  So we’re sitting draped in–

Joe: We have a blanket.

Vicky: In a middle-age person blanket. And we are drinking, what am I drinking?

Joe: I don’t know. Tea of some description.

Vicky:  Misery tea.

Joe: Misery tea.

Vicky:  I think peppermint tea. And you’re drinking pink tea.

Joe: Mine’s hibiscus?

Vicky:  Oh! Yeah, hibiscus tea, that was what I had earlier. So yes, welcome to my new office, which I haven’t named yet. Misty suggested Bookingham Palace, spelt like a book. But I’m not sure.

Joe: I’m not sure either. Suggestions welcome.

Vicky:  Yeah. Oh, yes! Right, okay, suggestions– No, this is a really good idea. Suggestions for the name of my new office, ’cause I’ll be getting a sign made for the outside of my office, by the way. And bare in mind all of the things that I like, I’m a circus person, I’m a book person, I’m a reading person, I’ve got three tiny sheeps, I’ve got my chickens, I’ve got the cats, we’re renovating a cottage, I like to help business owners do things. What do you do? I like to help business owners do things. One day soon we’ll do a podcast on elevator pitches and how not to do them. If you would like to submit a name for my new office I will send you a prize.

Joe: Nice.

Vicky:  Actually, the prize will be you can borrow my brain for half an hour and that’s a prize that is worth £250 plus VAT.

Joe: Cool.

Vicky: So this is like a proper competition. And I’ll be putting it on the social media as well.

Joe: Nice. All right.

Vicky:  On like the Facebook and the Instagram. Right. So, what are we talking about this week, Joe?

Joe: I have no idea, I’ve literally just walked in with a cup of tea and sat down.

Vicky: I just told you.

Joe: Perfectionism. Perfectionism is what we’re talking about today.

Vicky: Yes. So we are talking about why perfectionism is your worst trait. And we’ll come to that in just a moment. But first of all, I wanted to talk a little bit about my struggle with wellies.

Joe: Struggling with the wellies.

Vicky:  Struggle with Wellies. So I’ve been through four pairs of Wellingtons over the last year.

Joe: We’ve lived here three and a half years.

Vicky:  Yeah.

Joe: Three and a half years.

Vicky:  I have had, I think this is my fifth pair of Wellingtons now.

Joe: In three years.

Vicky:  In three years.

Joe: That’s ridiculous.

Vicky:  It’s ridiculous. I don’t tap dance in them, I don’t know what you’re supposed to do in Wellies other than what I do in Wellies which is walk around the garden and clean out the chicken coop and, you know, Wellie things.

Joe: Kind of muddy, wet grass type garden-y stuff.

Vicky: Yeah. So the first couple pairs that I had were from Joules, I believe, and they were rubbish. Proper rubbish, so Joules, thumbs down from me. I can’t remember what the other pairs I had was. And then the most recent pair was from Bogs and I have had recommendations from people from Bogs. So I bought a pair, and they were probably more decorative than, you know.

Joe: Practical.

Vicky:  Than practical. But, they’re Wellies, and you expect your feet to stay dry, right?

Joe: Mm-hm.

Vicky: And they lasted six months, I think. Before they split and I went out the other day and was like, “My feet are wet.”

Joe: That’s ridiculous.

Vicky:  I know, I was really annoyed.

Joe: You’re not buying, like, ten pound Wellies off the market are you?

Vicky:  No, these were 60 quid. I know. These were not cheap Wellies. So I was pretty annoyed about that, and with the other Wellies I just was too lazy or forgetful to kind of complain about it, but with these ones I thought, no, I really haven’t had these for very long. So I’m gonna get in touch with them. So I emailed them and said, “Dudes, “do you wanna sort this out, “I’d like another pair of Wellies.” And, you know what, they fixed it for me. But they made me feel like crap in the process and that was kind of what I wanted to talk about a little bit today. Because, if you run a business, it is not enough just to put things right financially if something goes wrong with your products, you have to make people, you have to make them feel like you care about them. Preferably by actually caring about them.

Joe: Yeah, leave people with the right feeling of the whole–

Vicky: Yeah.

Joe: Whole transaction.

Vicky:  So I emailed Bogs, and I got a reply fairly quickly. And they didn’t say, “Aw, I’m really sorry to hear that. “Can you tell us a bit about what’s wrong “with your Wellies?” It was just like, it’s really cold. In fact, I could find it right now. Talk amongst yourselves, Joe.

Joe: So the overriding kind of feeling was that they kind of expected it, they didn’t really care.

Vicky: Okay so here we go, their response was, “Hello, Vicky. “Were your Bogs purchased directly from our website, “Or from another retailer?” That was literally the first response I had from my, you know, quite friendly email that I sent to them. “I bought a pair of your fine Wellingtons, “blah-blah-blah, “how do I go about getting a replacement pair?” And they sent back, “Were your Bogs purchased directly from our website–“

Joe: I mean, technically that’s a fair question, because if you bought them through a retailer, your next transaction should be with the retailer. You should go back to the retailer and say, “These Wellies I bought off you didn’t work.”

Vicky: But that shouldn’t be the first sentence that they send to me.

Joe: No, no.

Vicky: The first sentence that they sent to me should be, “Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that.” Or, “Oh, that sounds rubbish. “Can you tell us a bit more about it? “Where did you get them from?”

Joe: Sure. Technically, it’s a question that needs answering. But it’s a poorly worded email.

Vicky:  Yes.

Joe: With very little care in it.

Vicky:  Yes. And so I said, “They were from your website.” And they came back with, “Would you prefer a replacement of the same style “or something else?”

Joe: Mm-hm.

Vicky:  Which is fine. And I said that, “I don’t really have “much confidence in that style “so I’d like something else, please. “And these ones, I know they’re “a little more expensive, “so I’m happy to pay the difference.” And they came back and said, “I’ve processed the exchange for the new pair, “they should ship out in a few days, “no need to worry about the price difference.” Great. You know, all that is great. But it was really cold. You know what I mean? It was really cold, and there was no interest in what was wrong. They didn’t ask what was wrong with the Wellies, there was no interest, as far as I could tell, in them trying to improve their product or prevent that from happening again.

Joe: Sure.

Vicky:  And so that was my problem. And that’s not really anything much to do with perfectionism, which we’ll move on to in a second, but it is, I guess, a cautionary tale to business owners. That it left me feeling a bit cold, and like, “Well okay, I’ve got my replacement Wellies and I’m not out of pocket, but I don’t feel like they cared or gave any kind of a shit about me at all.

Joe: Yes. I mean, they didn’t say, “Have you been wearing them every day, “tromping around in a hot muck-heap.”

Vicky: Which would have been a reasonable question.

Joe: Or, “Have you been hiking up hills in them?”

Vicky:  Belly-dancing in them.

Joe: No interest whatsoever. You could have worn them twice and they’re broke and they wouldn’t care.

Vicky: Yeah and it made me think, as well, it made me think of disposable culture, as well. That they weren’t making things to last, they were almost expecting like a big proportion of their–

Joe: Did they ask you to provide a receipt, or how old were they, or how long had you bought them?

Vicky:  No, I mean, I think because I used the same email address I guess they just searched for that and found the transaction through their website.

Joe: Right.

Vicky: But yeah, just the total lack of interest in what was wrong with them or, any kind of human. Do you know what I mean?

Joe: Mm-hm. Just, “Where did you buy them? “We’ll sort out a replacement, “Goodbye.”

Vicky: Yes. Technically, it’s fine, but I’m just left feeling like, “Huh.” You know, I don’t feel like they cared about me as a customer, and I don’t really feel like they cared about the quality of their product, either. Which is a problem if you run a business and sell products.

Joe: Yes.

Vicky:  Anyway. Perfectionism. That’s almost the opposite of perfectionism, in a way, so maybe that does link in to what we’re talking about today. That answer that people give at job interviews, you know the one?

Joe: Oh, what’s your biggest flaw.

Vicky:  Yeah.

Joe: What is your biggest flaw? “Well, sometimes I’m a little bit “too much of a perfectionist.”

Vicky:  Which means that, “I’m just really great at everything that I do.” It’s just a coded way of saying that, isn’t it?

Joe: Yeah.

Vicky: And it’s really funny because actually perfectionism, if you genuinely are a perfectionist, probably is your biggest flaw. It’s not a good thing. People kinda say it in a self-deprecating way, “I have no flaws, “but this is the one that I can think of, “and it makes me sound like I’m good at everything. “I’m also a bit of a wanker.” So I wanted to talk about perfectionism because it’s one of the things that will stop you from writing your book or from doing anything else really cool, in fact. Brené Brown, I love Brené Brown, as you know, I talk about her a lot.

Joe: Brené Brown, author of the book?

Vicky:  ‘Daring Greatly’.

Joe: ‘Daring Greatly’.

Vicky:  ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. ‘Dare to Lead’. I love Brené Brown. She is a wise owl. She says, “Shame loves perfectionists. “It’s so easy to keep us quiet. “Perfectionism is armor.”

Joe: Perfectionism is armor.

Vicky: Yeah. So she calls it, and I’m quoting her directly here, “The 20 ton shield. “We carry it around thinking it’s going to protect us “from being hurt, “but it protects us from being seen.”

Joe: Right.

Vicky:  And I think that’s really really important because perfectionism is a way of… If you have to think of yourself as being absolutely perfect, then you’re never gonna get anything done. And hiding behind that, it’s like, “Oh, I can’t do this until it’s perfect, I can’t do this because I’m not good enough.”

Joe: I can’t send this until it’s perfect.

Vicky: Exactly.

Joe: It’s not finished yet.

Vicky: Yeah. And it will stop you from being seen at all. And that’s really disastrous for humans in general. Because if we feel invisible, then we feel like we don’t matter. Like the Wellington people made me feel. It was very traumatic. But it’s especially important when you’re running a business, because if people can’t see you and what you’re doing, how are they ever going to buy things from you?

Joe: Sure.

Vicky:  How are you ever going to help people if they can’t see that you’re there. So the way Brené Brown puts it is that it’s a way of thinking that says, “If I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect, I can avoid or minimize criticism, blame, and ridicule.

Joe: Right.

Vicky: Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Joe: Very sensible. However. Well, you don’t get anywhere do you? Partly, why are you so desperate to avoid criticism, blame, and ridicule? Hopefully you’re a strong enough person to accept a bit of that.

Vicky:  Well yeah, but it’s difficult, isn’t it?

Joe: It’s difficult. But also, you’re just not going to release anything to the wild.

Vicky:  No.

Joe: ‘Cause you’re not gonna look perfect, you’re not gonna live perfectly, and you’re not gonna work perfectly.

Vicky:  ‘Cause there’s no such thing as perfect. And really it’s self-destructive, as you can probably tell. It’s also addictive. An addictive way of thinking. You get into these loops and cycles where you don’t ever do anything because you think that you’re not good enough. And it just feeds into itself. And then you don’t do anything which makes you feel worse, ’cause it’s like, “Oh, I should be doing all of these things “but I can’t do them because I’m not good enough “and I should be doing them but I can’t do them “because I’m not good enough.” And then your head explodes. Did you like that?

Joe: Yeah.

Vicky:  Like a cycle of lunacy.

Joe: Like a Dalek stuck half-way up the stairs.

Vicky: Yeah, like a Dalek stuck half-way up the stairs. Or maybe even just at the bottom of the stairs. Can they do stairs?

Joe: Well.

Vicky:  I thought that’s what’s stopping them.

Joe: Recently they can.

Vicky: And they hover, don’t they?

Joe: They elevate.

Vicky:  Which is kind of horrifying. So, you wanna be a modern Dalek and elevate yourself above that perfectionism. I think that is tweet-able.

Joe: Do you think?

Vicky:  Be more Dalek. Probably not a good piece of advice. Perfectionism can’t just keep you stuck though, it can also make you ill, as I discovered when I was researching perfectionism.

Joe: Right.

Vicky:  And that was like, huh. Okay. And I want to talk about that in just a moment. Actually no, we’ll talk about it now.

Joe: Talk about it now?

Vicky:  Yeah. So there’s a guy called Andrew Hill who is a professor at York St John University, and he did a meta-analysis. And a meta-analysis, for the non-science nerds out there, is where you combine data from multiple studies in order to have a look at common findings or effects. If there’s a common thread running through them all, analyze it and bring it all together.

Joe: You do a study on the studies.

Vicky: Do a study on the studies, yeah. That’s a meta-analysis. So he looked at 43 previous studies on perfectionism and he found a link between perfectionism and burnout which isn’t terribly surprising, really.

Joe: ‘Cause you’re never gonna stop working if you need it to be perfect.

Vicky:  Yes. But he also found something else interesting as well. That the constant worry about meeting high standards that no actual human being can achieve, it leads to serious health problems. Or it’s correlated with them or can contribute to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, fatigue, and even early death. So in other words, you can worry yourself into an early grave. Which kind of sucks. And I’ve been there. Not into an early grave, obviously, because I’m here, but I have been in that burnout situation because that kind of perfectionism and that kind of stress about what you’re doing can destroy your love and enthusiasm for what you do. And it really sucks, it’s awful. It’s an awful place to be. Because it makes you feel and it makes you believe like you’re not actually doing anything worthwhile or good in the world and you’re not making a difference. And that is really horrible. We all need, I think, once you get beyond the basic level of remuneration for paying for food and shelter and all the rest of it, we need to feel like we’re making a positive difference in the world. Like we’re doing something that matters because otherwise what’s the point? Do you agree?

Joe: I do agree.

Vicky: So yes, there’s many reasons to kill your perfectionism, not least of which is that your perfectionism may kill you. I reckon that’s tweet-able as well.

Joe: It could well be. I wanted to talk a little bit about what perfectionism is and what it isn’t. Because I think people argue a little bit over perfectionism as well, ’cause there’s the kind of perfectionism that does paralyze you, but there’s also the kind of perfectionism, or what people call perfectionism, that they would say, “Oh, it’s not a bad thing to have really high standards.” Right.

Vicky: And that’s true, it’s not a bad thing to have really high standards. I think if more people had higher standards the world would be a better place. But it’s not, it’s about being okay with not reaching your standards, reaching your high standards all the time. So I think you should be setting the stretch goals, you know?

Joe: Yeah, there’s gotta be a modicum of realism in what you’re doing.

Vicky:  Yeah, I like a good mix of fantasy and realism. So some stuff that I think, “You know what, “I’m really not sure that I’m gonna be able to do this. “This is like setting the bar so high “that I might not ever be able to reach it, “but it’s a good thing to kind of go for. “But also mixing it with the stuff that I can do.”

Joe: Is that perfectionism or is that…?

Vicky:  No that’s not perfectionism.

Joe: No it’s not. Are you talking about skill based thing or are you talking about a product type thing?

Vicky: Either, really.

Joe: Okay.

Vicky: So one of the things I’ve been putting off lately, and this is down to perfectionism, I think, is I’ve got my course, I’ve got my Published In 90s Days course. And it’s a full course, people have done it, people have loved it, people have written books from doing it. And it’s sitting there and it’s doing nothing at the moment. Because I haven’t finished proofreading my new book. So I’m like, I need to change my course based on my new book, because my course needs to be better, I know new things now, and have done new things, and I need to change it. So it’s just sitting there doing nothing. Which is ridiculous because it is, as it is, good enough. And I can put it out there and improve it as we go.

Joe: But you don’t.

Vicky:  But I don’t. Because that is scary and I want it to be better. I won’t say I want it to be perfect, ’cause there’s no such thing. But I want it to be better than I think it is at the moment. And that’s stopping me from shipping it, as Seth Godin would say. And done is better than perfect.

Joe: Okay, so what you gonna do? You gonna put it out there?

Vicky:  I’m gonna put it out there.

Joe: When?

Vicky:  November. November the first, whatever date the Monday is. The first Monday in November. Was my date for relaunching. Actually, I’m launching my book at the beginning of November, so it’s gonna be out a week after my book launches.

Joe: Okay. So can I go online and buy this thing right now?

Vicky:  No.

Joe: Why?

Vicky:  Because–

Joe: Could you not just–

Vicky: I mean yes but no. So, perfectionism is not just high standards. It’s not just high standards. Actual perfectionism is paralyzing and I wanted to just list out a few things that perfectionism isn’t. Actually, Joe’s gonna list them out.

Joe: Okay, so. It’s not striving for excellence, and it’s not about healthy achievement of growth. It is a defensive thing. It’s not self improvement, it’s about trying to earn approval.

Vicky:  Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. Because people think that being a perfectionist is, “Oh, I need to be better, “I need to be the best.” But it’s not about getting better, it’s about being seen to be better.

Joe: Right.

Vicky:  And I think that’s a really important difference. Do you disagree?

Joe:No I don’t, no I don’t, at all.

Vicky:  ‘Cause it’s okay if you disagree.

Joe: I’ve not spent an awful lot of time thinking about perfectionism because I’m so far from it that it’s never been something I’ve even aspired to think about.

Vicky:  Okay. Don’t know how to respond to that.

Joe: It’s also a debilitating belief that we are what we accomplish and our worth is tied to how well we do things. Gosh, that’s. Yeah, okay.

Vicky:  Yeah, it’s a belief that we are our mistakes, not that we are people who make mistakes. And I think that’s a really important thing as well because I think this is ingrained into many of us from really early childhood, and I’m not knocking my parents or anybody’s parents, because you can only parent and teach with the tools that you are given yourself, but I think that we, when you praise children for being clever, or pretty, or funny, it’s actually quite a damaging thing to do. Because, rather than praising people for the work they put in, and how hard they’ve worked and what they’re learning and how they’re progressing, you’re praising people for the end product. Do you see what I mean? So, because I did well in the exam doesn’t mean that I’m clever, it means that I’ve worked hard.

Joe: Sure.

Vicky:  Does that make sense? And so, when we believe that all our worth is tied into our accomplishments and what we can do, it takes away from the people we are and the things that we do outside of that as well. And I think that that’s a sad thing, and it stops us from living a full life, I think.

Joe: Okay. That’s good.

Vicky: And also as mentioned earlier, it hinders achievement, and is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction, paralysis, and missed opportunities.

Vicky: Not like physical paralysis. Like mind paralysis.

Joe: Yeah. You sit with this product that is certainly very good, it’s ready to go, there are people out there who want it, you’ve got it, you could release it, but you choose not to because reasons. Because other things are getting in the way. Because you feel like it could be better.

Vicky:  Yes, that’s true.

Joe: Everything could be better.

Vicky:  Yeah, everything could be better. It’s an infinitesimal, like–

Joe: Airplane’s could travel faster, they could use less fuel.

Vicky:  Pencils could be sharper.

Joe: But sooner or later you’ve got to kinda go, “We do need the airplanes now.”

Vicky:  Yeah. And you make that trade-off. Is it fast enough, safe enough, and economic enough, and as always it can’t be all of those three things, there’s always gonna be a compromise.

Joe: There’s definitely a compromise. Otherwise it would be infinitely fast, use no fuel–

Vicky: Nobody would ever die.

Joe: And it would be actually perfect. It’s not gonna happen.

Vicky:  No it’s not gonna happen. ‘Cause you know, physics. Perfectionism keeps us outside of the action, where everything is safe, rather than in the trenches, which is where all the exciting but scary stuff happens. And that’s a real shame. And it is a function of shame as well. People think that perfectionism will keep shame away, that if you’re perfect, then you will never feel that shame. But actually perfectionism comes out of feeling shame, “I’m really frightened that I’m not good enough, “that people are gonna judge me for this, “that blah-blah-blah.” And that’s where the perfectionism comes from. It’s the other way around, and we think it’s one way but it’s not, it’s another way. So yeah. Here are a few problems that perfectionism can cause, as well. You may not be willing or able to do something unless you know you can do it perfectly, which is a real tragedy.

Joe: Huge amount of risk aversion, isn’t it?

Vicky: Massive amount of risk aversion. We would never learn anything new or do anything exciting if we allowed ourselves to live like that. I’m learning to play the guitar again, for the first time in three years, and I learned to play a while ago, and the thing that has stopped me until now is it’s really frustrating not being able to do something well. And that’s stupid because until I sit down and have lessons and practice, I’m not gonna be able to do it well. So it becomes this vicious cycle and I will never learn to play the guitar. But now I’m learning and I’m kind of getting okay with the fact that, “Okay, that was rubbish.” But then I’ll come back to it two days later and I’ll be able to do the thing that I couldn’t do before. Don’t be a perfectionist, ’cause it will stop you doing things that could be cool. It also means that you focus on the end product as the most important thing.

Joe: Always looking at the future.

Vicky:  Always looking at the result, always looking at the future rather than being present in the journey of learning. Learning things is a real pleasure. It’s a real pleasure, and it’s a privilege to be able to learn the new things that we want to be able to learn. And to squander that by focusing solely on the result that you can’t control, you can only control what you do, is, again, a real tragedy I think. It also means that you’ll never finish anything, because it’s never good enough. So you just end up with loads of unfinished projects. That’s not the same thing as having entrepreneurial attention deficit disorder, and having 53 ideas and starting them all and you pick a few and see which ones… I have a mixture of both, I think. Things that I haven’t finished because of perfectionism and things that I haven’t finished because I just have too many ideas.

Joe: You need to release your book course.

Vicky:  I do. I know. Procrastination is a similar thing. You don’t start until you’re ready. You’re never ready.

Joe:  Just crack on.

Vicky: Yeah just crack on, nobody is ever ready, there is no better time to do something than right now. Taking too long ’cause you go way beyond good enough into it’s never done, because it’s not good enough. Done well is better than perfect. It means that you’ll struggle to be happy about other people’s successes. Because you’re so focused on what your perceived successes and failures are, that you will struggle to find joy in other people and you will become envious of them. And that’s a really shit place to be as well. And I think sometimes it does take an effort to find pleasure in other people’s successes when you feel like you’re not being a success. But ultimately it helps you feel better about yourself. It stops you from having fun. And being silly. And there are some areas of life where I’m not a perfectionist.

Joe: You don’t mind being ridiculous.

Vicky:  I don’t mind being ridiculous in certain arenas.

Joe: That’s a good thing.

Vicky:  I think that’s a good thing ’cause it’s fun. What’s the takeaway, Joe?

Joe: Takeaway. Well, you haven’t written one.

Vicky:  I know.

Joe: Geez, that’s not fair.

Vicky:  Well what have you learned from this podcast?

Joe: I would suggest that if you feel that maybe you have perfectionist tendencies, then you maybe need to take a look at how you could become a bit more comfortable with things being good enough.

Vicky:  Bit more comfortable with failure.

Joe: Bit more comfortable with failure, bit more comfortable with ridicule, perhaps, bit more comfortable with just reaching the end of something and just going, “You know what, “that’s enough of that.”

Vicky:  This is good enough.

Joe: This is good enough.

Vicky:  I’m gonna put it out into the world and then I’m going to improve it iteratively from now on.

Joe: That’s it, you can always change it later. But don’t make it not being perfect stop you releasing your product.

Vicky: Yes, that’s the takeaway. That was a really good takeaway. So I’ll concisely summarize.

Joe: Summarize that.

Vicky:  Create something and put it out there, even if you don’t feel like it’s ready yet, even if you think it’s not good enough, because put it out there, get feedback from people, and make it better, and put it out again.

Joe: And then make it better.

Vicky: And that is how every good product in the entire history of the universe has become a good product, right? They didn’t come out as a fully formed, wonderful product. Apple computers did not start off with the Mac that we’re doing this on now, they started off as a great big box. Software is a perfect example, right? The first release of software tends to be quite buggy.

Joe: Yes.

Vicky: And they deliberately do that, don’t they? They deliberately don’t wait until they’ve caught everything because they know they can’t catch everything because people use things in different ways than they intend them.

Joe: They just send it out there.

Vicky: So they send it out there and they rely on the users to come back and say this is buggy, this doesn’t work, this glitches. And they fix it all and then they release the second version. And that is the way of not just software but every product.

Joe: Continuous improvements.

Vicky: Continuous improvement, yeah. Takeaway is continuous improvement, not perfection. Because it doesn’t exist. Cool. Right. So coming up next week we’re gonna be talking about horrifying things, because it’s a Halloween episode. We’re gonna dress up, there’s gonna be costumes.

Joe: Are we?

Vicky: Yes we are! There’s gonna be costumes, it’s gonna be great, I’m gonna decorate my office.

Joe: You’re gonna spooky up the office.

Vicky: Oh my god, yes. It’s gonna be like Christmas but with Halloween. I’m just gonna transfer the spider webs from the house into here basically. So yeah. Next week we’re coming at you with fear, which will stop you from doing stuff. And we’re gonna be talking about Halloween and just scary things generally, and it’s gonna be lots of fun. I might make Joe do some apple bobbing. But not on my new floor.

Joe: Right.

Vicky: So what’s going on in my world? Well my book is in the final stages of proofreading still.

Joe: Mm-hm.

Vicky:  It is.

Joe: I feel a bit of irony going on in this episode.

Vicky:  Honestly we’ve spent the last two weeks building this office.

Joe: Painting the office, laying floors, and running electrics.

Vicky: It has genuinely been difficult to get all that stuff done as well. So there’s that. If you’ve been listening to every episode, please email me with your postal address and I will send you a special super fun gift. If you like this podcast.

Joe: Five stars. Everywhere.

Vicky:  Itunes, Stitcher, wherever you get your podcasts from, leave us a review, we love reviews.

Joe: We do like reviews.

Vicky: And share it. If you enjoyed it, other people will surely enjoy it. If you hated it, sorry.

Joe: If you know a perfectionist, send them this episode.

Vicky:  If you know somebody who is always talking about getting stuff done but never quite manages it, send them this episode and hopefully it will help. ‘Cause I would love to see more cool stuff happen with people.

Joe: Cool.

Vicky:  All right, we’ll be back the same time next week. Thanks Joe.

Joe: No worries.

Vicky:  Bye!

Joe: Bye!

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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky…

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.