Getting it right.
One of the reasons I finally quit marketing for other people last week was because there was too much pressure to get it right.
Getting it right meant ensuring that my clients got a direct and measurable return on their investment. It meant a fast turnover between launching something and seeing it work.
While this model might seem appealing at first, in practice it leaves very little room for the essential failures—and time it takes to build relationships—that could lead to something truly valuable being created and shared.
Getting right is about finding the shortest path between A and B. Between connecting to an individual or group and profiting off of them.
Getting it right is about the colonization of a market not the exploration of it.
Getting it right is also in the way of so many people doing their best work.
The industrial model that many of us were educated in taught us to get it right. Which means not getting it wrong. Success is the point and failure is to be avoided at all costs.
The problem is, trying to avoid something—such as failure—changes how we show up and share our work. It demands that we play it safe. It pulls energy and attention away from doing the work that matters to straining to see every possible challenge before it arrives.
If it even does arrive which most of the time it won’t.
Another problem with trying to get it right is that there’s a tendency to look back to what has worked in the past. Even though that’s no guarantee that it will work now or in the future.
This approach leaves no room for art or innovation, only iteration.
Success today means delivering something that delights, surprises, and wakes people up. It can’t be something that’s already been done before.
The challenge is being okay with what happens between what’s worked in the past and what will allow you to contribute to what’s going to work in the future. In that space, you’re not going to get it right most of the time.
And as long as you get it right enough of the time—without holding onto the need to get it right at all—you’ll get where you’re trying to go.
Chances are, this approach will feel uncomfortable at first. Maybe even painful.
And the people around you might discourage you from trying something so risky. This is less a comment on whether or not what you’re doing is actually risky and more a comment on their limited beliefs about what you’re capable of.
The truth is, in our rapidly changing world, the riskiest thing we can do is play by the rules and try to get it right.
The future belongs to the artists and innovators. Which you can be if you let go of your need to get it right and instead focus on who it is you want to serve and the smallest change you can try to make.
So how is trying to get it right getting in your way?