Coach Andrea's Coaching Tip of the Week
Coach Andrea's Coaching Tip of the Week )
  October 29, 2004 
Contents In This Issue
    Perfection, Excellence and "Good Enough"
    by Dr. Philip E. Humbert

  • Brought to you by Andrea Novakowski, Master Certified Coach, Business and Personal Coaching for Corporations, Businesses and Individuals


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

    -- Michael J. Fox

    Perfection, Excellence and "Good Enough"
    by Dr. Philip E. Humbert

    There are two phrases in business and in life that are widely thought to encourage peak performance, but are actually recipes for disaster.

    The first is the ever-popular search for "best practices" and the other is the quest for "zero defects." While I understand the intention behind them, in working with real people in the real world, too often they merely trigger our fears and cause tremendous damage.

    Professionals hate making mistakes, and that is a good thing! No one wants to mess up, drop the ball or fail! We hate being embarrassed!

    Unfortunately, human beings are only human. We get tired, we forget, we get distracted. We have misunderstandings and sometimes (I hate to say it) we make mistakes. We "mess up."

    In the quest for perfection, we kid ourselves and we waste time and energy striving for the impossible. Most of the time we are far more successful if we strive for excellence rather than perfection. And, sometimes, the situation merely calls for "good enough" and our efforts beyond that are a waste of time.

    This week, I finished a biography of Howard Hughes and in summing up his life, the authors made this astonishing assessment: ". . . geniuses must, like all of us, live in the real world. Hughes never learned how to convert his knowledge to practical application. Instead, he sought a perfection THAT ASSURED FAILURE." (Emphasis added, citation below.)

    Now, of course there are instances where "perfection" is the appropriate standard. These are, however, few and far between and most of our quest for "perfection" is simply inappropriate. It grows out of an exaggerated desire to be right, to be super-human, to avoid criticism or risk, and it is not how life works.

    Peak performers GET THINGS DONE! High achievers look for appropriate outcomes and measure their success based on the quantity and quality of their results.

    In most areas of life and business, here are my preferred standards:

    1. EXCELLENCE. In work and in relationships, seek excellence. We want to produce superb results that other people admire. We want both quality and quantity, but not perfection. Mistakes are merely the price of experimentation and learning and growth. Don't fear making a mistake; fear failing to learn and move forward.

    2. "Good Enough." In most activities our goal should be a performance level that is appropriate to the task at hand. Anything less than "good enough" is sloppy or careless and that is never acceptable, but anything beyond "good enough" is a waste of time.

    Consider my front lawn. It is not a prize-winning lawn and no one's life or happiness or career depends on it's appearance, so "good enough" requires a few minutes with the trimmer, a half-hour with the mower, and a bit of fertilizer twice a year. Anything beyond that is time invested for some other reason.

    Perfection is rarely required. Instead, strive for excellence in the important areas of life, and "good enough" in everything else. I think you'll be happier, more productive and, in the long run, far more successful.

    Quote from "Empire: The Life, Legend and Madness of Howard Hughes" by Donald L. Bartlett & James B. Steel, p. 623.

    Copyright (c) 2004, all rights reserved.

    Dr. Philip E. Humbert, professional coach, author and popular speaker can be reached at


    Perfection, excellence, and "Good Enough". How many times have you struggled with these issues. Many of my clients want to be the best in all areas of their lives and all they do. That mindset can paralyze you and keep you from taking any action. "Before I make the call, presentation, effort, I practice, practice, practice so that it's perfect," is a typical statement I hear. What would happen if you stopped at "good enough" this week and didn't give 100% in all areas? Might there be some room for fluidity, discovery and fun?

    Choose one area this week where you can lower your expectations of yourself and your time commitment and see what happens.


    Warm Welcome to Keefe Tech Program Attendees

    A warm welcome to our new Coaching Tip of the Week subscribers who we met at Keefe Tech last night during our program "Empowering Yourself". We enjoyed sharing our tools for gaining control of your life.

    November 11, 2004
    Empowering Ourselves at The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)

    Andrea will provide her 5 step program for gaining control of your life to the Route 128 Chapter of the IAAP -- the world's leading organization promoting the education and recognition of the office professional.


    Price Check

    Sometimes it feels as if your salary couldn't stretch from your kitchen table out to the mailbox -- where, come to think of it, more bills await. To see how far your paycheck would go in another city or state (or just to fuel your affordable-real-estate fantasies), go to Sterling's BestPlaces,, and click on the "Cost of Living" tab. You can also use the site to find your ideal locale, based on climate preference, marital status, and if you're a sports fanatic, what kinds of local teams you'll get to cheer for. Source: Real Simple/October 2004


    Coach Andrea's Coaching Tip of the Week is brought to you by Andrea Novakowski, Master Certified Coach who provides Business and Personal Coaching to Corporations, Businesses, and Individuals. Andrea is a professional coach who partners with people to set goals and create momentum to produce effective results in their business and/or personal lives.

    Andrea is available for individual coaching. If you are serious about reaching your goals and living with greater fulfillment and satisfaction, consider using a coach. To schedule a COMPLIMENTARY initial consultation, send an e-mail to Andrea at


    Please feel free to pass on Coach Andrea's Coaching Tip of the Week to your friends and colleagues. To subscribe, click the "Subscribe" button below. You may also subscribe at

    We never send unsolicited e-mail. If you have received this message and you did not subscribe yourself or you wish to unsubscribe your e-mail address from the list, please click the link below. You may also unsubscribe at

    If you need to get in contact with us directly (if you have trouble subscribing/unsubscribing, or have questions about the list itself), send an e-mail to

    Copyright 2004. When you forward Coach Andrea's Coaching Tip of the Week to your friends and colleagues, please keep the copyright and contact information intact.

    Coach Andrea
    Focusing your vision, achieving results

    Quick Links...

  • Subscribe to Coaching Tip

  • Last Week's Coaching Tip
  • More About Us

  •      email:


            Tip of the Week
            Tip Archive 2008
            Tip Archive 2007
            Tip Archive 2006
            Tip Archive 2005
            Tip Archive 2004
            Tip Archive 2003
            Tip Archive 2002/2001
    October 29, 2004
    Contact AndreaE-mail Andrea

    © 2000 Andrea Novakowski. All Rights Reserved  | designed by The Complete Website


    Sign up to receive a free weekly tip from Coach Andrea. These tips provide thought provoking and inspirational ideas on business and life issues. We will also let you know what's new at