Innovation over perfection

Living my life like it’s golden

I’ve been thinking a lot about eggs. 

It’s our first summer of weekly camps. At the promise of fresh bread and dinner contributions, I sent my son to a local French cooking camp. On the first day, the kids made a quiche. And of course, I had to ask the director: how many eggs did this take? 

When I was little, my mom ran our house on a tight budget. All the food that came from the store was allocated to a meal or purpose. So when we learned to bake, we had to be able to crack those two or three eggs carefully and cleanly. Because there were not more eggs. 

And we knew – if you waste or you spill, if an accident happens, there’s not more. Those eggs were scarce and precious. Follow Mom’s technique and get it right. Two taps, two hands, low to the bowl. 

Meanwhile, my kid probably smashed a dozen eggs before he figured out his technique. Ten teensy weensy taps. Two smashy taps with half the white left on a cutting board. Thumbs clean through both sides. 

In most cases, I was able to fish out the shells, but a few were obliterated. I had him grab another egg and try again. 

And the camp director confirmed, a few of the kids needed a couple of tries before their eggs could go into the quiche.

Our eggs are abundant. Sure, I don’t like wasting food, but to learn, my son needed some freedom to make mistakes. He’s building his confidence and his love of cooking. 

So why am I talking about eggs?

Many of us grew up with scarcity. Even if our households had more money, our parents may have passed on a scarcity mindset when it comes to things or money.

I’ve been observing innovative business owners for 15 years now. You know that phrase, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”? It’s how the world moves forward. It’s hard to innovate when you have to be perfect. It doesn’t leave a lot of space for discovery and growth. 

So if you grew up personally or professionally in a scarcity environment, it may be holding back your ability to grow. 

There are moments when you have to execute perfectly, assess every penny. But if your business is still growing pretty fast (versus at a sustainable steady state), you’re in a position where some of what you do will be only temporary or perhaps not work. It’s hard to optimize and grow at the same time. 

You’ll need to make space to smash a few eggs. Again, I’m not saying be blatantly wasteful. But I am saying give yourself space and grace to believe that you will be successful in growing your business and your resources. 

Here’s how that might look in scarcity versus abundance:

Scarcity: This still isn’t exactly right – we need to do more versions.

Abundance: This is functional and meets our minimum standard – let’s put a beta out there and learn from customer feedback.

Scarcity: I have to finish every module and understand every concept in this course to get my money’s worth.

Abundance: I learned the thing I wanted / needed that will help me do better. I give myself permission to let the rest go and learn the next thing.

Scarcity: We need to be really careful about spending – are you using that $2.99 app enough?

Abundance: This is an investment in moving us forward. And my time is more valuable than $2.99.

It takes practice and support to find your balance of egg breaking. Keep building your understanding of investing versus spending. Create some small tests to build your confidence. 

I’ve always wanted to learn to crack an egg with one hand. I’m going to give myself a dozen egg budget to try it out. After some research, of course. Who’s up for some quiche?

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