Thursday, September 12, 2013

Focus on Excellence Rather Than Perfection

Helpful Hints from Harmony
Life is Good When You Live in Harmony

Hint #8:  Focus on Excellence Rather than Perfection

September 11, 2001, was a red-letter date not only for our country but also for my business.  The events of that day directly caused the demise of a predecessor company I shared with four other partners and led to the creation of my own enterprise, SunBridge.

These past 12 years have been quite a ride.  With a team of three people, SunBridge has produced a wide array of tools, processes, and programs:  The Life Circle, The Legacy Circle, Priceless Memories, Priceless Conversations, Selling with Stories, The Level-Three Circle, The Legacy Builder Network, The Legacy Builder Retreat, The Advanced Legacy Builder Retreat, The SunBridge Symposium, The Success-Full Multi-Generational Family, Personal Asset Advisors, Main Street Philanthropy, and most recently, Main Street Legacy and The Family Philanthropic Adventure, to name just a few.

During the same time, I’ve written and published three books — Closing the Gap (in two editions): Like a Library Burning (with my dear friend Peggy Hoyt); and Double Your Sales: An Honest and Authentic Approach to Professional Selling — and dozens of workbooks and study guides.

Recently, a new member of the SunBridge Legacy Builder Network, after reviewing our hub website at and browsing the download and store pages of the member-only section of the SunBridge Legacy website,, where much of this collection is housed, said he assumed that SunBridge must have a staff of a dozen people.  I assured him that there’s never been more than two part-time employees and me. 

“Then you must do a lot of outsourcing,” he said.

“No, almost all of this was created in-house,” I replied.

With that, he was dumbfounded.  “What’s your secret?” he wanted to know.

“Two things,” I said.  “Most importantly we are passionate about what we do.  Without passion, any job is just a job, and if the passion goes away, it’s time to move on. With passion, you find boundless energy and creativity.

“Second, we focus on excellence rather than perfection.  We want everything we design and build to be wonderful, innovative, effective, polished, and pretty.  But we don’t wait for it to be perfect before we push it out the door.  We concur with Michael J. Fox when he said:

‘I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.’”

I know a lot of people who never get anything done because they can’t deal with their own expectations of perfection.  Some of them just keep tinkering and tweaking, editing and re-writing, in search of the elusive “perfect.”  As a result, nothing ever emerges. 

Others are so intimidated by their need to be “perfect” that they can’t even get started.  They are always on the verge, always, as they say in Mississippi, “fixin’ to,” but can never seem to pull the trigger.

Too many people live their lives this way.  “Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

Over the years I’ve learned that 90% of something is a whole lot more and a whole lot better than 100% of nothing. 

So go ahead.  Summon your courage, jump from the nest, and try your wings.  You’ll discover on the way down that you really do know how to fly.  It’s only by jumping that we learn to soar.