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ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough

Are you caught up in the quest for perfection? Whether you're preparing for a presentation or a birthday cake, our drive to make things look, feel or seem perfect is dangerously on the rise and has dire consequences for how we feel about ourselves and how well we live, work and collaborate with others.

In the new book, ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough ($24.95), author Lynne Cazaly believes that whilst striving for excellence, quality and continuous improvement are important, the pursuit of perfection isn't. Drawing from her experience working with leaders, business owners and individuals, Lynne shares the latest thinking, information and ideas on the problems of going for perfect and how caring less and being more 'ish' – which means somewhat, more or less, to some extent - is a more flexible, helpful and happier way to think and work.

Near enough is often good enough on the things that don't matter as much as we think they do. ish shows you how to care less about more, and care more about less, adopting the practice of good enough to make so many things more wonderful, valuable and worthwhile.

Lynne Cazaly helps individuals, teams and organisations transition to new ways of working. She is an international keynote speaker, a master facilitator and the author of 6 books. Lynne works with executives, senior leaders and project teams on their major change and transformation projects. She will help you think better, make sense of information and handle the realities of information overload with a range of ingenious processes, tools and methods. Lynne is a partner with and on the Faculty of Thought Leaders Business School and is an experienced board director and chair.

ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough
Woodslane
Author: Lynne Cazaly
ISBN: 9780648297314
RRP: $24.95

Interview with Lynne Cazaly

Question: What inspired you to write ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough?

Lynne Cazaly: I've been a perfectionist most of my life, and it particularly came to light in my business life. It most certainly stopped me from getting on with my business and making good progress. When I found some ways to 'hack' or work with perfectionism, I felt like there was a story and a way of working that was worth sharing. When I realised a lot of what I do is 'ish', which means 'near enough' or 'somewhat', and that most of the time it doesn't matter and people don't notice, I was convinced this was a message that others could read about and learn.


Question: What is the main message you hope readers take from ish?

Lynne Cazaly: That when we've put in some effort to a task, project or activity, often what we've done is enough, it's good enough. We don't need to go after perfection on anything – you can't get there anyway, so it's a waste of effort going for it. Rather, we can test out our ideas sooner, go with what we've done and see how it does the job, whether it's 'fit for purpose'. We've often done a wonderful effort anyway and we're just being hard on ourselves about it.


Question: What are the dangers associated with our pursuit to be perceived as perfect?

Lynne Cazaly: The research by PhD perfectionism researchers, Curran and Hill, and others in the field, show that dangers include mental health challenges like depression and anxiety; stress, sleeplessness and burnout from working all of those extra hours trying to make something better; and physical symptoms like migraines and asthma. We tend to be quite harsh on ourselves, criticising ourselves when we don't get to perfect, yet that's unwarranted self-criticism because we couldn't have reached perfect if we tried. We need to relax the expectation we have of ourselves.


Question: What can we do instead of aiming for perfectionism?

Lynne Cazaly: Accept and recognise that we all have unique imperfections that make us who we are. Think of a friend you have – you know they're imperfect but you love them all the same. The same goes for us; we need to accept there are imperfections that make us who we are. With that knowledge, we can go about our work, tasks, chores or activities and just aspire for 'good enough'. Get things done to a standard that's acceptable – not perfect, just good enough – and most of the time, it will be plenty good enough.


Question: How can we begin to care less about more, today?

Lynne Cazaly: A great way to start is to notice if you start to behave in perfectionist ways. Are you putting in extra hours and effort trying to make something 'better'? If you are, just pause for a minute and reconsider, 'do I really need to put in this much effort for this thing?' Once you've paused, and asked yourself this a few times, you'll start to catch yourself out and realise you can care less about more things … and therefore save your time, effort and energy for things, people and relationships that matter more to you.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough
Woodslane
Author: Lynne Cazaly
ISBN: 9780648297314
RRP: $24.95




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