You’ve been there before. Maybe you were writing an important brief and your arguments just weren’t working. Or you were planning to meet with a potential client – and big client – and your pitch was so off you were tempted to cancel the meeting. Whatever the scenario, your own inadequacy was staring you directly in the face, and it wasn’t insecurity or imposter syndrome. Your work was objectively bad. You knew it, and it stopped you in your tracks.
Years ago, a photography teacher at the University of Florida decided to engage in an experiment. He divided all of his students into two groups: Quantity and Quality. He told the Quantity group that they would be graded solely on the number of photographs they took. The more photos they took, the better their grades. The Quality group, on the other hand, would be graded solely on the quality of their work. They could each turn in only one photo each and, if that photo was exceptional, they’d get an A.
At the end of the term, he graded all the photos the students had turned in and the best photos had all come from the Quantity group, not the Quality group. He tried to understand why this was and the truth began to emerge: while the Quantity group was busy just taking lots of photos, they were learning from their mistakes and getting better. The Quality group, however, had so much pressure to take a perfect picture that they procrastinated, took fewer photos, and didn’t learn as much.
Imperfection and Failure Leads to Change and Growth
Here’s the thing: you’re probably used to succeeding. Unmotivated people don’t pursue law careers, and they certainly don’t start their own firms. You are used to putting in the effort and reaping the rewards. That’s why, when your efforts don’t immediately yield the results you want, it can be tempting to quit. But you don’t get better if you aren’t willing to be imperfect. You don’t grow without the struggle.
A better approach is to focus on what is within your control – and that’s your effort. You won’t always be able to control the outcome, but you can always control what you give to it. Stay at it, embrace your imperfections, and your output will improve.
To Your Continued Success,