Obsessing over perfection is an exercise in futility, but striving for excellence is another matter entirely.
To be excellent at your work is to be passionate about growing your skills and consistently improving quality. But it's when this passion abates that we find this sneaky phrase enter our minds when signing off on a project:
"Meh, good enough."
I hate it when I catch myself saying those words out loud. To me it means "I see how I could do better, but I won't." Granted there needs to be point when you wrap it up and deliver it, otherwise you run the risk of perfection paralysis. But there are factors that cause you to lose that effort you often have, that striving for becoming better and pushing your own limits. And if you can recognize these factors you can avoid them. Then you stop being satisfied with "good enough" and start surprising both yourself and your clients.
Behold, here are some of those factors that you can watch out for and dodge:
Be passionate about the project
If your heart isn't truly into the content, then you're not going to have an emotional connection with your edit. And if you don't have that emotional connection then do you think viewers will? I'm not saying that you should only say yes to the jobs that really excite you and speak to your passionate side. We all have to take jobs now and then more for the paycheque than the personal connection we have to the subject. The trick is finding that connection with content that you never thought you could have before.
Finding something about the job that excites you or drives you to tell the story to the best of your abilities. If that passion isn't there, then what will motivate you to do push yourself? And if you're not that proud of your work, what are the odds you'll want to add it to your portfolio and show it off to prospectful clients?
Keep your body happy and fuelled
Your attitude towards your work is directly affected by the state of your mind and body. Right now how is your posture? Are you standing or sitting? When's the last time you ate? And was it healthy food that your body likes or junk food that gave you a sugar spike? How many hours of good sleep did you get last night? It's no secret that if you are underslept, hungry, irritable, and/or out of shape then you are putting yourself in a negative space to do your work. And that negativity affects the quality of your work.
When you're giving your body what it needs, you're setting yourself up to do your best work. Know what food your body needs, know how much sleep you need to function and know how to keep your body and mind active and healthy. Speaking of knowing what you need to get the job done...
Get what you need to get the job done
There's a very good reason why I restrict the number of lo/no pay jobs I say yes to. Obviously you need to make money to keep the lights on and the hard drives spinning. But stop me if this sounds familiar: You've said yes to a friend who asked for a favour working on his/her latest passion project thinking it would be good karma. Hell, it might serve nothing more than a good opportunity to hone your skills. Once you get into the meat of the work however, the reality that you're not getting paid for your time sets in.
You may have to say no to another opportunity because you're already committed to this. That makes you bitter. You don't want to do a shite job for your friend, but you also don't feel like going above and beyond for them either. Is the edit perfect? No. But are you willing to put the effort in to get it there at your own expense? That would be a hard no.
So even it is a friend (or maybe just someone looking for a deal) you need to demand what you feel is worth your time to do the job right. Otherwise the quality will surely suffer.
*On a side note, if you require a break every hour to stand and stretch, have specific dietary requests when meals are provided, or know that you can't function on less than 5 hours of sleep, don't be ashamed for one second to explain this to your client/employer. If they can't understand that you need some of these things in order to do good work, then they are not worth working for. That being said, expect a hard time finding an employer who understands a need for 10 hours of beauty sleep per night.
Accepting that you're not skilled enough
If you've convinced yourself that you don't possess the skill level needed to do a great job, then you've already set yourself up for mediocrity. The reality is that even experts encounter jobs that require them to research, learn, practice and push themselves to deliver outstanding results.
If you tell yourself that you can't reach the top of the summit when you start climbing, you're just preparing an excuse for yourself for when you fail. Be realistic when you set goals for yourself, but make sure those goals require you to reach further to achieve them.
Ever caught yourself settling for "good enough" in your work? What do you do to get yourself out of that funk? Share this article with someone you think could use it. Leave a comment below on any one of our social media thingies.