Stop Waiting for Perfect

  • Drift CEO David Cancel (aka DC) hates the cold. But one thing he hates even more? Consensus. Consensus is the enemy of growth, the enemy of action. And DC says it should be avoided at all costs.
  • When it comes to making forward progress, maintaining momentum is key. If you set out to get 1% better everyday, you’re doing the work to create big improvements through small habits. You’ll have an attainable goal that keeps you going each day – instead of waiting for the circumstances to be perfect.
  • Another DC recommendation? Use the scientific method. It’s a classic example of the learning loop – you’re making hypotheses, running tests, and reporting on results. It’s an iterative process, and it’s never going to be perfect. That’s why the most important thing you can do is to just get started. NOW.

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In this episode of Seeking Wisdom, DC and Drift’s VP of Marketing, Dave Gerhardt (aka DG) are at it again, this time giving us the reality check (and tough love) we all need. Because it’s time to stop waiting for perfect. Here’s a peek at what inspired the theme – an email DC wrote to everyone at Drift:

stop waiting for perfect Drift

Waiting for perfect is a trap. We all seek perfection. We all fall into the trap.

I hate to burst your bubble, but most of the time, perfection never comes. It’s an illusion. And according to DC, it’s an illusion that paralyzes you.

Sometimes we get caught up in this quest for perfection because we spend too much time waiting for everyone to agree with our ideas or our approach to solving a particular problem. We want everyone to get along and make everyone feel good. But it’s not hard to see this a trap. DC has even made it his personal mission to stomp out consensus wherever he sees it. He says:

“It’s better to disagree and commit. Make that decision and then be responsible for it and learn from it. When it succeeds and when it fails.”

But we know it’s not just waiting for consensus that slows progress and innovation. Waiting on anything is the sign of an amateur. But keeping momentum? Carving out small wins on the way to your big goals? That’s the sign of a professional. Check out this quote DG shared from author Steven Pressfield.

“Play hurt. The amateur believes that she must have all her ducks in a row before she can launch her startup, or compose her symphony, or design her iPhone app. The professional knows better.”

?  This is the inspiration we all need to put on a sticky note at our desks. Stop waiting around for the right time, waiting for the stars to align, or waiting until you have all the pieces of the puzzle. Waiting will get you nowhere.

Instead of waiting, DC says to remember the scientific method next time you get stuck in the trap – iterate, don’t perfect. If we focus on making small changes and improving just 1% each day, think about how much we’ll have improved after 365 days. Thankfully, there’s a chart for that:

My take? Just get started. Start with running a mile when your goal is to run a marathon. Start by taking a class when your goal is to learn a new language. Start by running an A/B test when you want to see what messaging resonates most with your audience.

It’s time to stop waiting for perfect. Because when we stop waiting and start doing, that’s when the magic happens.

There’s a lot more insights from DC and DG in the podcast. Give it a listen!

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Books mentioned in this episode: