‘Practically Perfect in Every Way’

If you know your films you will know that this is the description of Mary Poppins – Practically Perfect in Every Way. 

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Recently I watched the film ‘Saving Mr Banks’, which is the story of how Walt Disney eventually managed to get the film rights to the story of Mary Poppins.  It took him over 20 years to persuade the author, P.L. Travers, to let him do it and interestingly her obsession with perfection nearly put pay to the film altogether.

I was talking to a lady at a networking event the other week and she was struggling with her time management – so many things to do but so little time – doesn’t that sound familiar?!  She happened to comment about her husband cancelling the cleaner because she would go round and clean up after them as she felt that they hadn’t done it properly!  I suggested that her obsession with perfection was part of the cause of her time issues.  In her view other people can’t/aren’t doing jobs to the standard that she would do them and so she is struggling to delegate even simple things like cleaning of the house.

I introduced her to the phrase “Good Enough is Good Enough” and challenged her to find a good cleaner over the next couple of weeks, someone recommended by someone she trusts, and accept that their standards of cleanliness are good enough and therefore relinquish the task of cleaning the house.  She did let me know a few days later that she had got a couple of names so was on her way to finding someone.

There were also things she needed to sort at work and the same phrase applies.  I’m sure there’s many people who don’t delegate tasks because they don’t think other people will meet their standards, or don’t send out marketing letters because they don’t think it’s quite perfect.  I have been told many times, the not-quite-perfect marketing letter that is sent out is far more likely to get you sales than the perfect letter that is sat in your desk ‘cos you’re too scared to send it out in case there’s an error!

‘Good enough is good enough’ and if striving for perfection is getting in your way, stopping you doing things or making your life difficult, you really need to use this new mantra!

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