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Strive for Excellence not Perfection when tackling Imposter Syndrome

Introducing my 3E’s for sustained high performance.

In this post, I am introducing a concept that’s an absolute game changer.

I know from not only professional experience but personal too. I am a recovered Perfectionist.

It’s also key when learning to overcome Imposter Syndrome.

Are you ready?…

We must strive for Excellence not Perfection (mic drop)

And how understanding my 3E’s can help – Excellence, Effort, and Energy.

Because when you learn to idenitfy what’s ‘good enough’ to get the task, job, action done it’s a game-changer for your productivity, confidence and overall satisfaction.

It’s also vital at this stage to acknowledge that Perfection in business/your career is myth, often exacerbated by Imposter Syndrome.

Even in the most precision driven careers – such as most of the STEM fields, mistakes, failures, rejection happen(s).

No individual or organisation can be flawless, as mistakes and shortcomings are part of the journey.

This realisation is liberating, but only when you’ve conquered your Imposter Syndrome, because Imposter Syndrome has you fixating on the 1% ‘mistake’ or ‘gap’ as opposed to celebrating the 99% excellence, achievement, or result.

Excellence VS Perfection

The pursuit of excellence is about striving to do your best within realistic constraints, structures, options.

It involves continuous improvement, learning from feedback, and adapting processes to enhance quality and efficiency. Unlike perfection, which is rigid and static, excellence is dynamic and responsive to change.

As I like to say:

Perfection (driven by Imposter Syndrome) is simply fear masquerading as excellence.

We don’t want fear to be in the drivers seat.

Understanding the 3E’s (excellence, effort, energy)

Excellence: Achieving excellence means performing tasks to the best of one’s ability, not perfectly but exceptionally well.

It focuses on outcome quality and impact rather than flawlessness.

Effort: Relates to the dedication and hard work put into tasks.

It’s about the process and the journey towards achieving goals, emphasising perseverance and resilience.

Energy: Refers to the mental and physical stamina required to undertake tasks.

Managing energy wisely is crucial, as it ensures you can sustain high performance without burnout.

Defining ‘Good Enough’

When is ‘Good Enough’ truly Good Enough?

Good Enough: Is a pragmatic approach that prioritises efficiency and effectiveness.

It means delivering work that meets necessary standards and achieves desired outcomes without unnecessary time or embellishment. ‘Good enough’ allows for progress in situations where perfection could/will hinder momentum.

Good enough work is adequately detailed and complete to fulfil its purpose and move projects forward. It is not substandard, rather, it’s a strategic decision to optimise time and resources.

Here are some strategies to help you decide when ‘good enough’ is appropriate:

  1. Prioritise Tasks: Identify high-priority tasks where excellence is crucial and lower-priority items where good enough suffices. Delegate where possible and practice setting small boundaries to protect your time and energy.
  2. Set Clear Objectives: Understand the requirements and expectations for each task. If objectives can be met without extra polish, consider it complete.
  3. Consult with Stakeholders: Sometimes, discussing expectations with others can clarify what level of detail and quality is necessary (don’t just believe your imposter voice)
  4. Assess Impact: Evaluate the impact of additional effort. If the incremental benefit is minimal, it might be a sign that the task is already good enough.

Embracing the 3E’s—Excellence, Effort, and Energy will help you recognise when to invest your best and when to opt for good enough.

Because you don’t have infinite energy, save it and the maximum effort for where it’s really needed.

By focusing on excellence as a flexible goal rather than an inflexible rule, you can enhance both your performance and your well-being.

So I encourage you to commit to being excellent when it counts and efficient all of the time.

In this balance lies your greatest chance for success not just in your role but also keeping your Imposter feelings at bay (or eliminating them entirely).



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