Perfection is the Enemy of Done

Are you a perfectionist?  Most of us don’t like to put that label on ourselves.  We reserve that label for “other people.”  However, for those of us who really care about our lives, our families, and our careers, it is easy to allow perfectionism to take over.

Photo Credit Daniela Vladimirova

Photo Credit Daniela Vladimirova

When this happens, we find ourselves stuck.  Our ideas and dreams stay on the shelf.  We process, plan and strategize.  But, we never actually accomplish anything.  We let our identity get wrapped up in our projects.  Then, our fear of failure takes over and we find ourselves procrastinating and paralyzed.  Whether you are writing a resume, creating a business, developing your next product, building a website, planning a family outing, or taking care of the house,  Perfection is the enemy of done.  And, only “Done” gets results.
So how to we break free, accomplish great things and move into our destiny?  We need to change how we evaluate our projects. Rather than focusing on the details and striving for perfection, we need to look at the big picture and strive for excellence.

Here are the definitions from Merriam-Webster

Perfect – having no mistakes or flaws
Excellent – very good of its kind, first class

Do you see the difference?

Perfection is a never ending goal.  None of us are perfect and therefore none of the tasks or projects that we set our hand to will be perfect.
So if you have a project that is being held up by the goal of perfection, here are some steps to get it moving again.

  1. Re-evaluate the purpose of the project
  2. Determine the “non-negotiable” criteria for the project based on the purpose
  3. Evaluate your project based on these criteria
  4. Once the project is “Excellent” based on these criteria launch it and consider it “Done”
  5. Evaluate the results of the project
  6. Make improvements.

Keep in mind that you can always keep improving.  If you strive for Excellence, Done and the Improvement, you will accomplish great things.  Your “first shot” at a project may not be so great.  However, the feedback you receive from that project will allow you to make improvements that give you a much better end result.

How do you get a project moving that has gotten stuck?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below

– Brian

Tony Stewart Tragedy – Was it Intentional?

Photo by Associated Press

Photo by Associated Press

I awoke Sunday morning to the news of the tragic accident overnight involving superstar race car driver Tony Stewart.  After an on track collision, a young driver walked out on the track.  While attempting to confront Stewart, he was struck and killed as Stewart circled the track.  It is an awful tragedy.  A young life is snuffed out way to early, Stewart has to live with the memories of what happened, and a family has to deal with the loss.
The second thing I awoke to, was social media filled with people passing judgment of the video that they watched of the accident.  (I watched it too)  Some vehemently proclaimed that it was intentional and that Tony Stewart should be in jail.  Others, defended Stewart and claimed it was purely accidental.
What puzzled me is how quickly people were willing to make a judgment call about the motives of someone they don’t even know.  AND, these judgments were based on a dark, poor quality video of an accident at a chaotic sprint car race.  Do any of these people know what really happened, much less the motives of those involved?
This led me to a question…  What is it in human nature that has such a need to pass judgment on the motives of others based on the actions we observe? AND, why do we hold onto these judgments without ever feeling the need to check them with the individual involved?
I believe, somehow we feel that these judgments give us control over our situations.  We believe if we truly understand the motives behind actions then we can control others and what happens.  But, nothing could be further from the truth.  Instead what happens, is that the judgments (right or wrong) control our actions not the actions of anyone else.  Therefore, we find ourselves at the place of “others” running our lives.
If we are going to break free from our current ruts and move into our destiny we have to take responsibility for our own lives and the things we can actually control.  To do that, we have to check our judgments of others’ motives with them. Then we can live in the realm of truth rather than speculation.
This is not easy! It takes courage and hard work.  It is much easier to sit back as an “armchair quarterback” and pass judgment on others rather than have the difficult conversations that lead to freedom.
Finally, choose today to spend your best time and energy on the things your can control rather than on judging others who you can’t control.  You will accomplish more, make better decisions, and enjoy life.

What one action are you going to take to change your life today?

Share your thoughts in the comments below
  • Brian

My Journey

Don't give upI am a former bi-vocational pastor and contractor.  I was the President and founder of Home Innovations, a Design/Build remodeling firm based in Fishersville, Virginia. We provided design, construction, and fine furnishing services for the home. Beginning in 2010, I pastored a new Heartlink Network church plant in Nelson Co. Virginia called Riverbank.
For years my career and work has centered around construction.  I have always enjoyed working with my hands, but honestly I found my way to construction by default.  I had spent time in summer jobs (that paid better than fast food), church youth group mission projects, and one year serving with Habitat for Humanity, and family projects and learned some skills.  So when I got married, and I needed to provide for our family, I naturally went into construction because it was the only marketable skill that I had.  Through the years I moved from general laborer, to carpenter, and then from foreman to contractor / business owner.
Then in 2009, the business that I had founded and ran, Home Innovations, failed in bankruptcy.  It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  There were a lot of reasons for what happened, some outside of my control.  But, I was the one leading.  I was the one “at the helm when the ship went down.”  I was embarrassed, felt like a failure, and felt like I had let everybody down.  The affects were far reaching, hurting my employees, suppliers, friends and family.  For month’s I struggled with feelings of failure, worthlessness, and hopelessness.  Over the next few years I went through the slow process of healing and rebuilding my career and life.  Therefore, I have a special place in my heart for those who are trying to get back on their feet after a crisis event.  I know first hand how difficult those seasons of life can be.
Ever since I was young, I have sensed a call to pastor and help people.  I studied pastoral ministry at Liberty University and then received my Biblical Studies Certificate from Cornerstone Bible Institute.  My wife and I spent a few years in youth ministry until our twins were born and we shifted our focus to our young family.  In 2008 we started sensing a call to pastoral ministry again and began the process of relocating our family to Nelson County, VA .  Over the next 5 years we gave leadership to the establishment of the Riverbank church. During  this time, I also worked bi-vocationally as the Production Department Manager for Integrity Home Contracting in Charlottesville, VA.
In 2013-14 God led me on a journey to personal and relational health that resulted in me resigning from both Integrity Home Contracting and the Riverbank church.  During this season I worked as independent construction consultant and business consultant for construction companies.  I also took this time to rest, spend time with my family, and discern my direction and God given destiny.
As a result of this journey, I am launching this blog as the first step of encouraging ordinary people to fulfill their destinies through writing, coaching and speaking.

Library – Tribes, We need you to lead us – Seth Godin

Tribes-GodinMy desire is to put good resources in your hands and make you successful.  I am currently reading “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.” by Seth Godin.  This is an amazing little book.  I believe it should be required reading for every business owner and entrepreneur.
The world is rapidly changing.  The explosion of technology, information, and communication through the internet is amazing.  It has created opportunities that never existed before.  Just like when TV and Radio opened up a new form of communication and created wealth and opportunities, we are seeing the same thing through the internet.

A tribe is any group of people, large or small who are connected to one another, a leader and an idea.  For millions of years, humans have joined tribes, be they religious, ethnic, political, or even musical (think the Deadheads).  It’s our nature.

Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost and time.  All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger and enabling new tribes to be born – groups of ten or ten million who care about their iPhones or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.

Who is going to lead these tribes?

The web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership.  That still has to come from individuals – people just like you who have a passion about something.  Anyone who wants to make a difference now had the tools at her fingertips.

-Excerpt from the Book Jacket

For those of you who desire to follow your dreams, passions, skills and abilities to realize your destiny, ultimately you will need to lead a “Tribe” to turn that passion into your career.  You may not feel like a leader.  But in the words of John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence,” nothing more, nothing less.  Start by connecting with those who value your influence and grow from there.


Tips For New Business Owners (What I wish Someone Had Told Me)


Photo Credit Paul Inkles

Photo Credit Paul Inkles

Years ago I embarked on a journey.  I left my comfortable world as a construction foreman and launched out to start my own remodeling company.  The only business I had ever run before was my paper route when I was in middle school.  That hardly constituted experience.  But, I was eager and willing to work hard.  So off I went into the wild blue unknown of business ownership.  
Along the way I have had success and failure, joy and pain, laughter and tears, relaxation and hard work, and reward and loss.  I have made money and lost it.  However, I would not trade this journey.  Every success and failure brings experience.  And experience is the building block of future success.
So here are some tips from my experience that I believe can help those who are getting ready to embark (Or have already left the station) on their own business ownership journey.

  • It’s about the customer not the product – The first mistake I made was making my business about the product (remodeling). I mistakenly thought that if I made a better product, I would be successful.  My background was as a carpenter, so I focused on the work.  But over time, I learned that there are many successful business without a “great” product and many “great” products in failed businesses.  Without customers every business will fail.  You have to focus your energy on taking care of your customers and what they want.  And sometimes, that means changing your product.
  • Learn the numbers – Success and failure in business ultimately boils down to money, and we track that money with numbers.  If you do not understand the numbers that drive your business you will find yourself in trouble even if you are successfully taking care of your customers.  This happened to me a couple years after I launched.  The company grew fast and I did not understand all the numbers. I was not able to stay on top of what what happening.  Therefore, we started losing money right in the middle of our greatest success.  If you don’t understand, the numbers find someone to teach you.
  • Surround yourself with a team – I am not talking about employees.  I am talking about a team of experience and other perspectives to help you make good decisions about your business.  These need to be people that you can be honest with, so that they can give you good feed back.  I suggest putting together an informal “Advisory Team” or joining a mastermind group of other business owners.  Either way, you need a team that you can share with and get feedback from.  Leading a business can be a lonely place.  And, “Lone Rangers” do not make good decisions.
  • Connect with people – Your business success will be correlated to the people you connect with.  These will be employees, clients, trade partners, suppliers, consultants, service providers, friends, family, etc.  You need to spend time investing in these relationships.  Through these connections you will provide leadership (influence).  That leadership will be key to the success of your business.  As I have noted above, you need a lot of other people to be successful.  Take time to care about people, connect with them and really invest in those relationships.
  • You will have successes and failures (Keep Going) – This is part of the journey.  It is easy to get too prideful about your success and become resistant to change.  And, it is also easy to become discouraged about your failures and lose motivation.  Both will keep you from moving forward, and without moving forward your business will begin a slow decline.
  • Have a coach – Every great team, athlete, successful person has a coach (or multiple coaches).  If you want to be successful you need the same thing.  This could be a retired executive through SCORE, a friend or family member, a pastor, or a professional coach that you hire.  However you find a coach, you need one.
  • Be an aggressive learner – There is no way for you to have all the knowledge or experience that you need.  Therefore, you must take responsibility for learning.  Take advantage of business workshops, online webinars, read books, listen to podcasts, talk to other business owners, attend conferences.  But whatever you do, don’t stop learning.
  • Observe and interact – Every day there are subtle things happening that affect your business.  It may be the performance of an employee, the satisfaction of a customer, a changing market condition, or an open door of a new opportunity.  You need to train your eye to observe what others miss.  Then, interact with what you observe and take actions that benefit your business.
  • Accept responsibility – You alone are responsible for your success or failure.  You must own it.  It is too easy to take a victim mindset and blame everyone else for your business success or failure.  If you “can’t find good workers” then grow yourself as a leader and trainer.  If your market is changing then change your products and business.  This means you have to accept responsibility for the good and the bad.  That is not always fun, but you will find yourself empowered and those around you will appreciate your leadership.

What tips do you have for those starting out as business owners?

Share your thoughts in the comments below


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The dump was very uncomfortable, emotion coming in waves….

The following is a guest post from Matt Schubert.  He spent this past week in Guatemala these are excerpts from his journal.  It is so exciting to see someone living out the destiny by helping others. When we serve others we often find ourselves in uncomfortable situations.  These situations are what stretch us and shape our hearts.
May you be challenged and inspired to serve beyond yourself.
When have you been in a situation that challenged and stretched you personally and emotionally?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.
July 30
Schubert - Guatemala3The dump is difficult to describe. Vultures circle, smoke rises, the ground is hot. Children wander among the trash, just beyond the reach of the flame. An old lady combs through the burning trash – hoping to contribute to the $10 a month her family can earn by finding cans, metal & bottles. The children enjoy playing – but unlike the other villages – there is a gravity to the dump that mutes even the play.
It’s easy to imagine the poor as being unwilling to work. It’s difficult to see people working, harder than I do, just to survive. I have many questions, but remembering the dump is imperative.
I connected with a boy at the dump, he was clearly an athlete and his soccer skills stood out. He wasn’t one of the kids that comes running to you. After proving myself, he allowed me to team w him, even as a gringo. I uttered more Spanish than I had spoken all week when I told him he played well. To my surprise when we returned to the bus he was waiting. Loading the bus I had to get back off to tell him (in broken Spanish) that God loves him. He stood and watched as we boarded, my eyes met his as we left – he waived. I want to remember him and I pray that he will remember that God loves him.
The dump was very uncomfortable, emotion coming in waves. Nearly 2,000 people call this home. I hated seeing the dump – but the faces cried out and it tore at us to leave.
It’s humbling and overwhelming to consider our role as Christ followers. We are called to bring hope to the broken. It’s encouraging to be here and see people rescued & transformed by the power of God’s Word – His Word in action is evident here. God bring healing and hope to this place.
Psalm 35
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation. 10 All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
Psalm 9:18
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
August 1st
Schubert - Guatemala2Today we celebrated with the people of Pueblo del Rio. It’s a village of about 400 that has been adopted by our church. The village lines the gentle curve of the river. Children play along the steep and rocky banks as mothers wash clothes.
As far as we walk, we see small children peaking around rusted sheet metal with brown bright eyes, some shining with excitement as they remember past interactions. Others want to be noticed but need to know we are safe. Their homes are made of sticks, rusted sheet metal and plastic bags. However, inside they are frequently well organized albeit simple. The people here are gracious.
Much of the week was spent building a cinder block house, playing and teaching children and moms. Today is noticeably different, we are sharing pizza with the village, giving a motorcycle to the village pastor and delivering live goats and chickens. Today the teenagers and men are present – perhaps a sign that we are building trust.
It makes for good soccer games. At home, we wouldn’t recognize the packed dirt patch as a field, yet here it doesn’t matter. The game is fast and physical, our bodies glisten as we banter back n forth. On the field it hardly matters that we speak different languages, we forget about our differences focused on the game at hand – we are communicating. We laugh, we goad, we encourage, we celebrate. Perhaps this is why soccer is called the most beautiful game.
When the game ends, the men stay, perhaps realizing we aren’t so different. Blank faces now show signs of smiles as the indifference fades. I extend my hand and say simply “God loves you”. But I suspect it’s the warm handshake between players that they remember.
The village pastor exhorts these men to be in church. I’m praying that when we return many of these men will have submitted themselves to Christ. The families of the handful of men currently in Church thrive.
The children here need fathers – father’s everywhere bring stability and economic mobility to communities. Here a Father also represents physical protection. A father enables young teens to find their place at home, not in the local gang.
By the end of the day it is unclear who has blessed who – the simplicity of their lives, a magnifier of gratitude, brings joy to our team. We leave excited to invest further in the village. The progress is a reminder that God is at work and we have been privileged to play a small role in bringing hope.
My prayer for the village and for our team today is that together we could say:
“…I shall sing of Thy strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Thy loving kindness in the morning, for Thou hast been my stronghold, and a refuge in the day of my distress. Oh my strength, I will sing praises to Thee; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving kindness.” Psalm 60:16-17