When we are young, we are taught that our school projects have to be perfect before we hand them in. Because once we do, they will be graded as they are, without a chance for feedback and refinement. We are left with the rubric or directions for the project and don’t have the chance to refine our process in community, unless it’s a group project, which, let’s be honest, have their whole own set of challenges.
When we grow up and become entrepreneurs, this mentality no longer serves us, and yet it still haunts us. We are no longer in a position where everything has to be perfect before we hand it in, yet we hesitate for fear of judgment. Grading requires a judging process that serves our education at that time, though even when we leave school and drop the grading system when we put something in the world people are still free to judge it. This fact can shake us to our core.
Here is the good news about teasing those two things out: Judgement can’t hurt us. It really can’t. Unlike a grade, it won’t determine if we can get into the college we want, or how we’ll match up alongside our classmates. As adult entrepreneurs judgment actually becomes a helpful refining tool.
This is the good news about releasing a project as an entrepreneur. The feedback we can choose to listen to is from our ideal clients and peers, which is exactly the feedback we want to improve our offerings. Though it may sting to be told that the vision we have won’t serve our clients or customer in the way we thought it would, it will steer us in a new direction that will. This is the benefit of sharing our work, of practicing out loud.
And yet I notice in myself, my friends, and my clients that women hesitate. We want to wait until the idea is perfectly constructed, we have 3 degrees in the subject, or we’ve taken all the online courses on the topic before we show our creation to the world. It stems from our conditioning and lack of affirmation to share our work while it’s in process. Western culture idealizes competition over collaboration, but the beauty of collaboration is twofold. The first is that we get to feel less alone in the creation process. The second is that sharing our work helps it grow in all the right directions, reaching the people it was meant for.
The ability to get feedback in live time as our work is out in the world is scary. But take a moment to imagine how much scarier life is without creation at all. Yes, we want to wait until the work is as ready as possible to release it, but, sitting on it until it’s “perfect” doesn’t serve anyone, least of all you and your creative genius.
So try it out! Release it into the world, experiment, get feedback in live time and continue to pivot to what your audience wants. You are no longer being rewarded for being a “good girl” or for getting straight A’s. In fact, there is no longer a grading system. The only compass we need here is: does it feel right? Did you run through it more than once for major grammatical errors? Okay, then go ahead girlfriend, send it out, send it up, and refine as you learn more!
Take me, for example. I updated my website in April and transitioned it from just a blog to a website that advertises my Virtual Assisting services. Since then, I’ve continued to refine my site with feedback from different people whose opinions I highly value. My website is not static, it’s a living extension of my work that grows each time I learn something new, which as an entrepreneur is daily!
Musicians get better by playing live gigs, writers improve by having others read their work, and for entrepreneurs? Now it’s our chance to practice in public and invite others to our show. Show up, share your work, it’s time, you are ready.