The Impossible Goal of Perfection

Connie Ragen Green
5 min readJan 3, 2020
Connie Ragen Green — The Impossible Goal of Perfection

Every week I have calls with people who are caught up with the impossible goal of perfection. Many have waited for years to start their online businesses because they wanted everything to be done right, with no mistakes or flaws before they shared it with the world. “Right” is code for “perfect” and it doesn’t exist in our world.

As a classroom teacher I had children of all ages who were frozen in the quest for perfection. When their work could not live up to this impossible standard they’d break into tears or act out or shut down. I had to calmly and gently explain to them why perfection was not our goal, but excellence was a worthy one.

I called it the beauty of imperfection. Years later John Legend would call it “perfect imperfections” in his popular song “All of Me.”

One of my little dogs, Kali has one eye slightly larger than the other. She must have been born that way but no one noticed until she was a couple of years old. When anyone points this out to me I say she’s this way so I can tell her apart from all the other dogs in the world. She is perfectly imperfect to me.

I’m so glad Bill Gates didn’t wait until DOS was perfect to create and sell the first personal computers. If he has been holding his breath he would have turned blue long before he began selling it the way it was. It was good enough during the 1980s and led to the first version of Windows, which also did not approach any level of the impossible goal of perfection. Bill shipped anyway and made it better over time.

For thirteen years now I have thought of excellence as my goal. I want everything I do to be slightly more excellent that that which has come before. My mentees are productive because they have accepted this idea.

Nothing in nature in perfect. Flowers and oceans and mountains are so imperfect that we celebrate them for being unique. And after attending a rose show where people had worked for years to grow the perfect rose I never went back. My yard is filled with imperfect roses that make me smile and bring me great joy.

Whatever you are working on for your business, ship it now and make it a little more excellent next week. I promise you it will all work out.

Connie Ragen Green

Online marketing strategist, author, speaker, and publisher working with entrepreneurs on six continents.