“The definition of insanity is expecting things to change when I haven’t changed anything about what I do or anything about the circumstances.”
For the past 20 years, host John Laurito has been speaking at events all over the world to share his knowledge on what makes the best leaders so good (personally or professionally). Recently, he realized that his own perfectionism was holding him back from being an effective leader. He would get so caught up in making sure everything was perfect that he would miss deadlines or not even start projects. He decided that the only way to overcome this was to put some of his leadership responsibilities in the hands of others—delegating. This has been a game-changer for him, and he can now focus on the things that he is good at and make progress instead of getting bogged down in details.
[1:12] The problem with perfectionism
[4:00] Is your life affected by perfectionism?
[5:23] John’s recommendation if you are plagued by perfectionism
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right. Welcome to the show. Tomorrow’s leaders. Okay. Question for you. Do you suffer from perfectionism? Seriously, though, do you are you one of these people that actually is such a perfectionist about stuff? You just don’t get stuff done or maybe in a certain area, your life, you become a perfectionist about stuff and you don’t get stuff done. Hey. Yeah, well, I feel your pain, and I know what you’re going through, because for me, I’ve recognized that’s a big obstacle. And I’m going to give you some perspective on this and even a way to overcome this, because I finally figured out what I need to do and I’ll give up. Be totally honest with you and I’ll tell you exactly what it’s been. So for some of you who followed me on social media, you know, especially on LinkedIn, I was always really consistent with making posts on social media and promoting the podcast and this and that. And but at the same point, it took me so long because I wanted every post to be perfect and every word structured the right way and every point made the right way. And it had to be this brilliant post and something I felt was absolutely worthwhile and valuable and hitting all audiences and all this stuff.
John And I just got to a point. It took me longer and longer and longer, and the longer it took me to do that because of my perfectionism, the less likely I was to actually do it. So if you actually follow my social media, you’ll look and see, Boy, you know what? Laurito was doing this for like three times a week, pretty consistently for a long time, and then it kind of dropped off. And I recognize, especially for my business, that’s a that’s a big deal. I’ve got to do that consistently to build the brand and most importantly, get great content down there. So I enjoy sharing great content, things that I learn. I do that through the podcast, but also social media is a big part of that. And I’ve realized recently that it’s my own obstacle mentally around being a perfectionist with this that has caused me to go from executing to then executing, but executing more slowly and then more and more slowly to the point where I’m not even executing. I’m executing at a fraction of what I should be, could be and want to be. So I’m putting this out there because I know many of you and I’ve talked to many of you that have shared the same type of thing. And it’s a challenge because if you take a lot of pride in what you do, a lot of that becomes or comes from this need to really want it to be as high quality as possible. I mean, I remember at a point I think I shared this in a past episode that I didn’t feel like I did a great job in a keynote unless I got a standing ovation. That was truly how I measured success.
John It had to be perfect. And the problem with that, that’s a whole different issue because you’re measuring that not based on your own definition of perfect, but based on what you think other people will do when they feel it’s perfect. And your bottom line is you can’t control people’s actions or decisions or how they express themselves. Some people could be sitting very comfortably thinking, wow, that is phenomenal. You you’ve you’ve seen comedians and funny movies and not laughed audibly, but you’ve thought it was really, really funny, right? So people just express themselves differently, whole different thing. But that for me has been an issue in in many areas is trying to get things so damn perfect that it slows the progress down and ultimately stops the progress altogether. So my my point to you as a leader, leader of your own life and leader of your organization, is are you plagued by this? Are there parts of your and it doesn’t have to be in every part of your life because believe me, it doesn’t with mine. But there may be parts of what you do where you realize, you know what? I’m getting so nitpicky about stuff and so judgmental about stuff, whether it’s my own work or somebody else’s, that I’m slowing things down to a halt and in reality it’s got to be executed. And if it can be executed even at 90 or 80%, that in many cases, in most cases is better than not having it executed at all. Right. So I figured something out that for me and I’ll just related to the social media is I need to do one simple thing. I need to take it out of my hands. I need to have somebody else manage that and run it entirely.
John It doesn’t mean that I won’t be involved. Of course I will be and for a period of time be very, very involved in it. But I need to have somebody that’s actually running that and in reality, doing it, taking it, taking it from my thoughts into action and executing and actually posting it because it doesn’t do any good if it just lives up in my brain and doesn’t get communicated out there. So my, my recommendation advice challenge to you is if you’re plagued by this, you. Have to be focused on what can I do to overcome this? And number one is being aware of it and realizing that, okay, my need for this thing, this project, whatever it is, this presentation to be so perfect that it’s causing me not to even do it or do it so slowly that I miss the point. You have to make a change, because if I continue down the same road, the definition of insanity is expecting things to change when I haven’t changed anything about what I do or anything about the circumstances. So in many cases, this could be a solution for you. Take something that you are managing or doing yourself and put it in the hands of somebody else, because I know if somebody else can do it, 90% is good as as me. And chances are they’re going to figure out how to do it even better than I did it, because they’re going to take it. It’s going to be their baby. They’re going to focus on it full time or much more than I would, and they’re going to take it to a whole different level. But I don’t know that unless I release it and get it out of my control.
John Okay. So that’s that’s my message. Brief, brief podcast. Again, I know you like these short ones. This is just my Aha sitting here today and I’m thinking I got to do my social media. And again, I’m just not so. This will change. I will be making that happen in a different way because taking it out of my hands will make it happen. Can’t tell you when that’s going to happen. I’m in the process of doing that right now and starting the process to find the right person. But that to me is a will be a game changer. And one less thing for me to have to worry about, right? So for those of you out there plagued by perfectionism, realize your desire to be perfect with something is causing you not to do anything at all or not even scratch the surface on your potential and progress. There’s so many of these episodes, by the way, that, you know, some some of you were asked about how much do I script these out? I don’t you know, I have different points and bullet points that I want to make. Sometimes I have notes in front of me. Sometimes I put them on the whiteboard behind the camera. But in reality, a lot of this is I have a general theme and ideas. And you know what? If I try to make it too perfect, it takes too long. I hope you appreciate kind of the casual nature of this. That’s who I am and that’s what this is all about. And bottom line is, I couldn’t do this many episodes if I needed it to be absolutely perfect and did retakes all the time and all this kind of stuff. So yeah, you hear the dog barking every once in a while, your lawnmower outside, your hear all kinds of stuff.
John Well, hey, that is what it is. I’d rather get it out there. Have you enjoy it? Have you get some value from it? Help an impact you make your life better, then have it be in the production studio or editing studio trying to make it perfect, ever perfect, ever perfect. So I hope this is an example of a message that impacts you, makes your day a little better. Maybe it’s an aha moment for you where you say, Okay, you know what? Yeah, he’s right. I’m just. I’m seeking something that’s not realistic. Okay, make progress. Progress, progress, progress. All right. Hope your day is going well, as always. Appreciate you. I appreciate your listening.
John I appreciate your suggestions for future guests and topics as always. Like sure, subscribe to Down Below. Give a five star review and we’ll see you next time next. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!