So. There’s That.
"Profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful." —Paul Valery, 1931
It’s every perfectionist’s mantra: “Why settle for anything less than perfect?”
Strive for perfection and you’ll either a) start to lose your mind b) get nothing accomplished or c) some combination of the two.
Perfectionism is actually deeply flawed. Perfectionists set themselves up for constant stress. They resist taking on challenging new work for fear of not being able to deliver. Their progress can easily be paralyzed by impossibly high standards.
From start to finish, every creative task or project we tackle can take on unfathomable proportions when we are unwilling to settle for anything less than perfect. Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a time coach and self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist knows all too well how easy it is to slip into the danger-zone of perfectionism. Here are three common perfectionist roadblocks Saunders identifies and how to overcome them:
1. REALIZE THAT THERE WILL NEVER BE A PERFECT TIME TO START.
Getting started is often the biggest hurdle to any creative project. You need the right inspiration, work environment and uninterrupted time. But waiting for the perfect time to start can mean never starting. Usually wherever you start out won’t be the actually beginning to your end-product, so why belabor the results from the get-go?
JUST START SOMEWHERE, GET SOMETHING DOWN, AND LET IT LOOK UGLY.
Instead of agonizing about not getting work done or lamenting that you don’t have the time, space or resources you need—just start somewhere, get something down, and let it look ugly. “Expecting too much too soon can be a fatal mistake,” writes Alan Watt in his book The 90-Day Novel.
Taking too long to get started is why perfectionists often find themselves scrambling at the end of a project, says Saunders, having belabored the beginning without factoring enough time to get to the end.
2. WHEN ALL YOUR WORK DOESN’T PRODUCE TANGIBLE RESULTS.
If every detail must be perfect, you’ll have a hard time making progress. We often get in our own way, wanting to make sure every word or line or idea we lay down is accurate. But trying to iron all the kinks along the way can be exhausting.
To avoid this kind of burnout, Saunders recommends defining a specific end goal and then outlining the steps you need to take to get there. When you look at what must be done and the steps to get there, weighed against how much time you actually have, you can start budgeting your time more effectively before it’s too late.
CREATE A NEW IDEA OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FINISHED
Set milestones throughout a project to allow yourself to keep pushing forward, rather than looking impossibly far ahead to the end. Most importantly: this requires letting the work be good enough.
3. IF IT’S FLAWED, IT’S NOT DONE.
Look hard enough and you will always find flaws. You will always see imperfections and inadequacies. Instead, create a new idea of what it means to be “finished,” suggests Saunders. Establish a set of minimum requirements that must be met in order for your project to be complete.
Once you’ve met those requirements, allow yourself to consider it done. If you have more time once you reach this point, you can go back and make improvements, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.
From Art F City
When in doubt, or when it’s just not good enough, make an exhaustive list.
Every complaint someone might have about a particular product
Every media outlet that might be interested in your story
Every time you’ve ever been rejected and what it has cost you
Every successful product in this category that you’ve ever used, and why
Every person you know who might help you reach the person who can help
Every reason your current project might not work
Every person you’ve ever met who would be perfect for this job
Every person who deserves a thank you note
Every animal that might be part of a name for this product
Every reason you can think of to use what you’ve made
Every successful restaurant within three blocks
The challenge of every is that it’s exhausting. You have to go to the edges, and that act, the act of going beyond the obvious, is where innovation lies
Block babies, Upworthy, twerking, annoying friends, awful coworkers, and anything else you hate with things you’d rather see, like cats. My friend Yvonne made this. She’s a cool chick and a good listener.
Lester Bangs, in Almost Famous
Played by the brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest character actors of all time #rip
42:00 - 44:50
I C O N I C B Y E
"To see is to think. To think is to see."
"Art teaches us to see in new and unforeseen ways."
- Serra is JUST the best.
How to look at art.
"Branding? It’s, ummm, the logo, the tagline, the stationery, all that stuff."
"I think branding is what you do when you’re not trying to get a sale. So, if it’s not direct response, and it doesn’t have a call to action, then it’s branding."
"Branding is your company’s personality. It’s like, Nike’s branding is how it is always talking about pushing yourself to the limits."
"It’s the big idea. Apple’s branding is about being simple, making things easy to understand, that’s branding."
"Branding is what a company does to make people get to know them better. It’s usually something big, like Super Bowl ads."
Real answers from real people.
Although there are elements of truth in all answers, even the first one which is confusing corporate identity with branding, no one hit the nail on the head.
The Ad Contrarian, got very close to the truth recently with this statement:
"All ad campaigns are branding campaigns. Whether you intend it to be a branding campaign is irrelevant. It will create an impression of your brand regardless of your intent."
He’s right. But he’s missing out the most important aspect of branding. It’s not just about ad campaigns. Branding is in the DNA of a company. And as such, one fact cannot be overlooked…
Branding Is EVERYTHING Your Company Says or Does.
Every press release.
Every piece of packaging.
Every bad customer service story.
Every Facebook post.
Every ad campaign.
You have to be completely aligned in all those aspects, and many more, to have a strong, cohesive brand with a consistent message.
And it’s oh so easy to focus on a “branding campaign” but not live and breathe its ideals. For example, if FedEx puts out slick ads claiming to be the best package delivery service in the world, but then hidden camera footage shows a delivery driver clearly not abiding by those principles, then the branding is for nothing. And this has happened.
It’s the same with any company. Apple has always prided itself in making computers that are easy to use. The new genius ads veer far from that, but the very idea of the genius tool itself is off brand. Why do you need help in the first place?
You must make every aspect of your company live and breathe the brand.
If you are a children’s toy company, it must be in the bricks and mortar of the building. Make a visit to the bathroom entertaining. Put slides and firemen’s poles between floors. Make the employees feel entertained. Do this, and the work they do will be ingrained with that spirit. If they look and feel like they’re working in a bank, that’s not going to help the cause.
Branding is systemic. It really is in everything your company says and does, whether you like it or not. A new lick of paint, a new logo, a new tagline, they are all well and good, but if you have not got everything else in line, they’re just a façade.
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