Why repetition trumps perfection

Lisa D'Andrea
Jul 15, 2019
Business

Being in business for yourself requires a whole new level of grit and tenacity. 

In one week you can finish up three projects, sign a new client, create grumpy cat level insta engagement, and still be left wondering whether you are ever going to make enough dough to pay yourself six figures or take that sun-drenched trip to the Amalfi Coast.

We work so that we can afford the things and experiences we love most. So how do we drive more success in our businesses?

Forget the perfection and one hit wonders.

We can sit back and daydream about our goals. We can take big hail mary leaps towards achieving our goals. But, in my opinion, the big bucks don’t come from the single posts and emails, the fleeting morning routines or sporadic strategies. And your success isn’t just driven by your ‘natural’ skills or talents or delivering ‘perfectly’ every time. 

Nope, I think the biggest determinant of your progress is how willingly you take consistent action on the tasks that matter. That’s what will make all the difference to your success in anything you do. 

Why quality isn’t always better than quantity.

On the first day of film photography class at the University of Florida, Jerry Uelsmann divided his students into 2 groups. The first group would be graded on the amount of work they produced. The more photos, the higher the grade. The second group would only need to submit one photo, but they would be graded on the quality of their photo alone. 

At the end of the semester, he found that the best photos were not from the group that was focused on quality. They were from the quantity group.

The quantity students had spent their time experimenting, testing, learning from their mistakes and honing their skills, whereas the quality group had spent more time planning the ‘perfect’ photo and their work suffered for it. Story from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

Does this mean that the quality of your work or content doesn’t matter? Of course not. But it does mean you’re going to have many shitty first drafts, less than perfect attempts, and cringeworthy flops on your way to honing your skills. And it's those embarrassing, frustrating moments that are the hardest to push through without giving up.

How we can all be more consistent.

I’m not even going to pretend that I’m the poster child for consistency. But, these are the tips that have worked for me when I’m trying to take more consistent action, and I hope they can help you too.

Choose what you’re working towards.

Being consistent is harrrrrd. It’s much easier to be flaky. But, for me (and maybe for you too) the goals I’m working towards are enticing enough to keep me motivated when the going gets tough. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, make sure you’re crystal clear on the why, otherwise it’s going to be tough to stay on track. 

Know your game plan.

Instead of just focusing on the end goal, like earning an extra $50000, creating a digital product, building a new website, or finding 10 new clients, outline the actual strategies that will help you achieve them. Make sure these things are actionable. Are you going to post daily on instagram? Create a blog a week? Wake up at 5am to work on it everyday? Go to 5 new industry events? 

And once you know the what, decide when you will do your task, and the duration of your sprint. E.g. ‘I will post on instagram every day at 8am for 5 weeks.’ Put ‘em in your calendar, and make them non-negotiables!

Make yourself accountable.

Finally, create rules for yourself so there are consequences if you don’t stick to your plan. Maybe you’ll owe a friend money if you don’t do your daily tasks. Or if you skip a day working on your website, you have to wake up early to make up the hours the next day.

Those who are relentless will win the day. 

Success doesn’t require grand gestures. It’s the small, consistent actions that will have the biggest gains in time. It just takes a little bit of patience, relentless optimism and tenacity to see things through. When we focus on the reps, the results follow. 

Now I want to know— what's your game plan? How are you going to take consistent action this week or this month? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this article and know someone else who would too, I'd love it if you shared it with them!

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