Go ahead, be imperfect.

One shot. Solid rocket motors don’t have an off-switch. Light them and you are committed to go.

When our company launched a satellite, the entire trajectory and performance department sat in a closed conference room in San Diego California with other key players in the mission design and coordination.

The aerospace engineer who was responsible for designing that launch path had beads of sweat on the forehead, ballpoint pen clicking and unclicking.

The jammed roomful barely breathed as the closed-circuit mission control announcements popped through the speakers from the Florida launch-site bunker. Terse, even-keeled, blasts of jargon. Silence between. No fuzzy-for-the-public chatter like NASA’s Shuttle launches. No video of the ascending vehicle, either. Each of us who contributed to the mission bowed our heads or closed our eyes in quiet contemplation, building the ascent trajectory in our minds one final time, hoping we did the calculations right… or at least that the double-check wasn’t flawed.

At end-of-contract I felt the sudden release of tension as heads whipped up and applause broke out, interspersed with congratulatory chatter as the group rose from their padded conference chairs.

During the victorious walk back to our desks, we understood that our accurate analysis and a bit of luck played in our favor that day. The objective was to eliminate or counteract any foreseeable problems. But there was always the unpredictable, the chance-in-a-million flaw or freak weather condition, that could have ruined the mission in an instant.

We controlled what we could… and it worked.

In my former profession, if I messed up my work, people might die or a multimilliondollar satellite & its launch vehicle might need to be destroyed –purposefully –in mid-flight.

Truth be told, there were always checks. And re-checks. Review boards and redundant systems. All of which pushed that awful possible outcome into smaller and smaller probability. But the pressure was still there.

Once I launched my first network marketing business, I had to break that perfectionist habit.

In my current profession if you do the best you can with the best intentions, most people are forgiving of the flaws.

In fact they might find those imperfections comforting… not to criticize you but to say, “I could do that, too!”

So go ahead, be imperfect. Know that imperfect action beats perfect procrastination.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

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