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Everyone wants to do the best work they possibly can. Especially in content marketing, it’s really important to turn out the best product every time. In addition, the deadlines can be constant – because great marketing requires regular content updates, the pressure can easily build. It can be easy to want to be perfect every time. 

But I have something to tell you. Stop. Being perfect will keep you from producing your best work.

How Perfect is Different than Excellent

It seems that striving to be perfect is what every employer and client would want. However, it’s a crippling goal that will keep you from being your best. Perfect means you never make any mistakes. It keeps you from experimenting. It keeps you from taking risks. It means you produce the same work over and over. And like all repetition in marketing, that means you will quickly lose your edge.

Excellence, on the other hand, is daring. It takes risks. It does great work that stands on the edge of what’s possible. Excellence means trying new things, wanting new ways of thinking, and being OK with falling flat every once in awhile. Often, your greatest successes will come from what seemed to be failures. 

Failures that Changed Our Lives

Being willing to not be perfect can be our way to unbelievable success. Look at these two case studies:

Play-Doh. Play-doh is a must-have toy for every child at some point growing up. The colorful, shapeable, and playful dough entertains children in a creative way for hours. It’s also an unbelievable commercial success – and started as a result of failure. The McVicker brothers were trying to create a substance to clean off wallpaper. The dough didn’t do that, so they tossed it aside. However, a teacher friend mentioned that traditional clay was hard for her students to handle. The brothers supplied schools with their new play-doh, and it was so successful that it became a powerhouse commercial product.

Mauve. A beautiful shade of purple, mauve came about when a chemist was trying to create a medicine to treat malaria. His attempt did not succeed, but he noticed that one of his coal-tar experiments left a residue that created a lilac colored dye. The dye created a mid-1800’s fashion sensation and set the stage for many other artificial dyes in a wide range of colors. 

The moral of the story? Be willing to experiment. Do your best work. Stop worrying about being perfect and start getting work done. You never know what success you will find. 

Anna Brown 

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