"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Non-Perfectionism: Is it Right for You?


Perfectionism is like fire; helpful if contained and directed, dangerous if allowed to run amuck. Wikipedia defines perfectionism as a personality trait characterized by 1) striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards 2) accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. The 1st set of characteristics are thought to be adaptive, the 2nd set potentially maladaptive.

Striving for Flawlessness; Setting High Performance Standards

High performance standards in areas of critical importance is vital; you want your pacemaker to work, right? Your parachute to open, your airbag to deploy. However, I’m not going to spend 30 minutes every morning making my bed to Martha Stewart standards or setting my dinner table to please her perfectionist eye either for that matter. Why? Those are not my priorities, not my goals; there are higher and better uses of my time and energy.

Critical Self-Evaluations; Concerns re Others’ Evaluations

I resolved a LONG time ago to be my own best friend, to convert my inner critic into my #1 fan, cheerleader, and coach. Further, I decided it was the good regard of the “man in the mirror” that counted most, that I would not put my sense of self into the hands of others, that I valued “self” esteem far more than “others” esteem. Rudyard Kipling’s line from the poem “IF” said it well: “…all men count with you, but none too much.”

Closing Quotes:

“If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” – Management Maxim

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire, 1694-1778

“Unrelenting perfectionism can be the enemy of happiness. Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and keep moving forward.” – Roy Bennett

“The maxim ‘nothing avails but perfection’ may be spelled P A R A L Y S I S” – Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier


Coaching v. Micromanaging


Coaching: “Directing, instructing, and training to achieve some goal or develop specific skills.”

Micromanaging: “Supervision with excessive/obsessive control or attention on details.”

No leader, no manager sets out to micromanage; every human being has a strong desire to be successful, Team Members WANT the team to WIN.

So how and why does micromanagement occur?

– The skill set that got a manager to a senior position isn’t always what they need once they are there: Many managers rose through the ranks by staying in control and paying attention to detail. That works great… up to a point. Then the manager reaches a position where THEY no longer do great things, they must empower, lead, and enable OTHERS to do great things; a mega change!

 – Managers want to win too… and Managers DO know a LOT, and they often can do it faster, better… they just can’t do it ALL; hence the need to let go and watch others make mistakes on their dollar, name, and time! Ouch! It hurts. But for every mistake, hopefully many, many other things are done right and the mission moves forward.

– Sometimes it’s legitimate coaching! Often folks think they know more than they do or they underestimate the complexity of the situation they are facing or they do not fully understand the possible ramifications of their actions. What to a manager is legitimate coaching and setting of guidelines may be labeled micromanagement by a subordinate.

Communication is vital. Establishing clarity around scope, desired results, and reporting requirements, and creating an ongoing dialogue go a long way to establish mutual understanding re common vision and shared goals. The more a manager feels that a subordinate is coachable and listens and comprehends, the more confidence they will have and more authority and freedom they will give.

Closing Quotes:

“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than others, a manager is a person who can get others to do the work better than she can.” – Unknown

“Micromanage the Process, not the People.” Joe Apfelbaum, CEO/Co-founder of Ajax Union

“Micromanaging is always something we accuse others of doing.” – Ryan w 37 Signals

“Micromanaging is a form of anxiety that manifests itself as controlling behavior.” – Sharon Rivkinn

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Felt Any Zielschmerz Lately?


Zielschmerz is “the exhilarating dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream, which requires you to put your true abilities out there to be tested on the open savannah, no longer protected inside the terrarium of hopes and delusions that you created in kindergarten and kept sealed as long as you could, only to break in case of emergency.”

Zielschmerz is not a real word except in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows a fascinating collection of words for obscure, often fleeting emotions that we all have at one point or another but have no common term to facilitate understanding them or discussing with others (i.e. Exulansis—Sense of frustration when you realize that you are trying to talk about an important experience, but other people are unable to understand or relate to it, so you give up).

It takes courage to put our dreams into action; new beginnings often require we leave something familiar and comfortable behind; to grasp the rung above we must release the rung below.

Closing Quote:

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier