"Tinkering With Pixels"
It was the turn of the century - 2000. I was still in my corporate job but had started the transition to my next career, Business Coaching, and Consulting. Although I had created a number of part-time businesses over the years, I was finally going ALL IN on coaching. I had hired a mentor coach, I was going to coaching school, and I already had a couple of "test clients". It was time for me to begin to actually create that business that I had longed for my whole life.
I'm a planner by nature and had been planning this transition for a year. I had a pretty good business plan in place (another story for another day). I had created my LLC because I wanted the legal side of the business to be perfect. The next thing that had to be handled was marketing.
Marketing - the bane of most small businesses. How the heck do you tell the world that you're there and ready to help them? How do you convince them that they need you? Why should they pick you? Do they really have an issue that you can resolve? Can you catch their attention long enough to tell your story? Add this into an upbringing that suggested humility - and you've got one heck-of-a mix.
I had decided that my marketing would be mostly by referrals, however, the absolute core of that marketing was going to be my website. I had done my research and checked out the competition. Back then the competition for business coaching was dismal. Most of the websites were extremely rudimentary and had a picture of a person holding a cat. The copy said something to the effect of "Me and Mr. Boots will help you become everything you've ever wanted". There were worse websites. The one that really stands out was the one with a big picture of a wrapped gift. You clicked on the "gift" and you entered into their writing about abundance and greatness - all available to you if you pay them X per month.
I had planned my website by doing market research. I found a dozen websites of coaches that I liked, and took bits and pieces of each to cobble together a website that was going to just be FABULOUS!
I had chosen colors and fonts. I had written out the copy for each web page. I had hired a photographer to take pictures for me to use. I had hired a friend's son to do the web programming (it seemed smart at the time). Finally, I had hired a friend's girlfriend to do all of the graphic design. Gosh, I felt like a real business owner! Hiring people to do all these tasks that I couldn't do myself! It was all coming together.
When I worked at Aetna I had essentially followed a path of project management - specific to insurance I/T systems. This was no different. Tasks / People / Timeframes / Dependencies / Critical Path. Yup. Easy Peasy.
Try though I may, I couldn't get the graphic designer to complete her tasks. She'd push off and push off the completion date. I wasn't at Aetna - and this wasn't an employee - so it was extremely difficult to navigate getting this done. She always said that it was 90% or 91% or 92% done. I begged her to finish. Nope. Wasn't happening.
I finally asked for a face-to-face meeting. She agreed. I asked her to bring EVERYTHING that was done on the project and show me where she was with it. What she showed me was superb. Fantastic. Everything I had wanted. But she refused to release it to the web programmer BECAUSE she wanted everything to be perfect. I asked her what was wrong. She said that she needed to adjust some pixels in the shading under my chin. She had a laundry list of things to touch up - here and there.
I begged her to release her work so that I could get my website live. She refused. She said that she took great pride in her work, and it would be ready when she said it would be ready.
Being a typical Swede, I'm a pretty easy-going guy. UNTIL. Once I'm pushed beyond my limits of sanity, there's an entirely different person that emerges. I don't know that I remember the conversation in detail, but I demanded that the work be released later that day. I demanded that it go to the web programmer. We were already weeks behind and I wasn't going to accept any further delays, especially when this was polishing pixels.
I called my friend and explained the circumstances of how his girlfriend had driven me insane. He said that perfectionism is something he'd been trying to help her with for a while. The website was published that week, and I could finally begin to market my new business.
Now for the rest of the story...
It's amazing that what we see in others is often a reflection of ourselves. If I like something that you do - I probably do it as well. If I don't like something that you do - it could be that it's something that I do as well, but don't want to admit to it. Case in point: Other people drive too fast.
Truth be told, I'm a slowly recovering perfectionist. it's a blessing and a curse. I'm the one who can spot the slightest thing wrong in anything. I've got great attention to detail. I've always been able to suggest things that will make an end product better, a system more efficient, a cost lower.
And yet, I hold back on releasing and giving life to many of my ideas. Because they're not quite good enough. I hold back on creating things that will represent me in the world - because I know they can be better. It's not easy when you're your own worst critic.
I will tell you that writing these stories since the summer of 2020 has been unbelievably helpful in my journey to live with this saying: "GOOD AND DONE is better than PERFECT AND INCOMPLETE".
Next, I'll put this whole thing through a spelling and grammar software check, make sure the font is perfect, and then go polish the pixels on the photo before I publish.
Till Next Week!