It's like decorating the holiday tree.

You've got the lights, the tinsel, the favorite ornaments. They all work in harmony.

Everything's almost, well, perfect.

Except one thing.

That one exquisite decoration that would make the most magical of statements on the tree. It's gotta be here somewhere.

But alas, no.

It was broken last season and no replacement could be found anywhere.

That perfection is not to be.

So do you tear everything down and forget about it?

The aforementioned sequence parallels a recent assignment I worked on for an awesome client of ours.

I received deep and rich input from the client team. As a result, I wrote a powerful, emotional document. In my eyes, it was close to flawless.

I fussed over it for several days before sending it off to the client. I wanted this to be a "portfolio piece" for our growing Conscientious marketing agency. You know, the kind of work certain to attract the types of organizations we truly want to collaborate and partner with.

Much to my surprise, the client asked for some changes to my "Picasso."

But I wasn't ready to just roll over.

I explained the "why's" of my choices for words, phrases and ideas in the document. How inspiring it was. How impactful it would be.

However the client team requested a minor addition relevant to their constituencies.

I called my partner.

After listening to me sputter and freak out with a couple of well chosen words for a few minutes, she paused. Then she said, "Tom, this is excellent work. You've taken them from basically sea level to base camp. Look at the progress. And our client loves the end result!"

In fact, it was presented at this organization's holiday party as we sat in the audience as guests. Our client, indeed, was very proud of the organization's new work as he read it aloud to all of his executive team and team members in attendance.

As a bonus, a board member even complemented us on our work.

In retrospect, I totally agreed with the change as it was a critical part of "who" the organization is. That's not to mention that we pride ourselves as being true collaborators, even if my ego short-circuits every once in awhile.

The next day I ran across this quote:

"Strive for progress, not perfection."

- Unknown

And it hit me right upside the head.

Perfection is not of this world. It's a concept that really has no place in our thinking as Conscientious leaders and marketers.

Yes we want to do outstanding work.

Yes we want to make a difference.

But more than anything our true measuring stick is something that is both real and attainable.

Whether it's a holiday tree or a client document, it's progress that we should want to see.

Not perfection.

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