As a successful financial advisor, have you ever been stuck in the holding pattern of over-preparation?
For example, have you ever:
- Not fully engaged in LinkedIn because your LinkedIn profile wasn’t “just right’?
- Held off on attending a networking function or other event because your elevator pitch wasn’t “perfect”?
- Avoided giving a presentation to a priority prospect because your presentation deck (i.e. pitchbook) needed some tweaking?
- Or something else?
If so, you might be stuck in the over-preparation stage.
Preparing Too Much?
Seth Godin writes brilliantly about this in this blog post, The Myth of Preparation. He defines the three stages of preparation: Beginner, Novice and Expert. He points out that, in the Beginner phase, we see huge gains with incremental effort. However, in the Novice phase, incremental effort yields comparably little. And this is where many of us get stuck. Procrastinating, polishing and polishing, procrastinating again, looking for excuses (not reasons) as to why the project isn’t happening and goals aren’t being met, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.
His advice? Bull your way through the Novice phase. Whatever it is that we are working on doesn’t have to be perfect. In his words, “Begin, begin, begin and then improve. Being a novice is way overrated.”
Just Get Going
Actually, there have been studies on this very phenomenon. It’s called the Zeigarnick Effect, which says that the mind focuses on finishing a task that has been begun. When we aren’t completing a project that has already been started, the mind continues to poke and prod us with intrusive thoughts that compel us to the end.
Experts are great. We need more of them. But unless everyone around you expects you to be an expert in everything that you do, your efforts to refine your stalled project to perfection may not be a productive use of your time.
Stop thinking about it. Just get going.
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