No B.S. Coaching Advice

Perfection is BS2

Perfection is BS

You took the wrong message from school. You decided that you could not fail or do anything wrong. That was unrealistic. In this video, I talk about failure and recovering from, and how important that is.


I just got back from the gym and got a lesson there that I thought was really helpful that I thought I would share with you from a coaching perspective.

Now, I’ve been coaching people in life. I’ve been coaching job hunters for a long time. One of the things that is painfully aware to me is how much people believe they have to be perfect, that no mistake is allowed. At most, they wind up in situations where they punish themselves.

Now, some mistakes are outside your control. Some mistakes are within your control. For example, from a job search perspective, if you’re not prepared for an interview, if you haven’t proofread your resume, that’s your fault. You could have done something about that beforehand and you chose not to and yes, you’ll learn a lesson from it. It was completely avoidable.

A lot of times, we make mistakes and, in your life which language, fail because we didn’t anticipate every possible contingency known to mankind. Like now, I remember I had a boss chastise me, because, in my history is as a recruiter, on September 13, 2001, two days after 9/11, he called me up on the phone and I’d been doing business with a small subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, one of the firm’s whose buildings were destroyed as part of the attack. He lambasted me for not having disaster recovery business with Deutsche Bank, even though I’d only been working with a small subsidiary for four months. Like they were going to give this employment agency disaster recovery business, even though we had no experience whatsoever. This global multi billion dollar bank was going to say, “You small employment agency . . . “that’s nonsense sometimes. But he went out of his way to “beat me up.” I looked him square in the eye and said, “Gee, I wish you you had offered that as a suggestion I would have tried.”

So, you know, I’ll simply say, a lot of things that you consider mistakes, maybe blind spots, maybe good choices, but you’re beating yourself up over them. Why? Why?

The notion of being perfect comes from grade school where were graded on a numeric scale that says, “excellence is 100%.” You were able to parrot back the answer in a way that pleased your teacher perfectly on that particular score. The testing is purely subjective.

Are you telling me that one student was advantaged over another when the teacher had a little bit of doubt about that essay that was written and they gave him a break? Of course! So, the system was set up to train you into focusing on this industrial mindset of being perfect and being another widget coming down the assembly line that look perfect.

In life, in business, let’s look at baseball. You can hit over .300. You fail to get ahead seven out of 10 times, you’re a star. When did you get this lesson about perfection? I do want to say that people who are more successful, try more, try harder and get more and better results.

As a result of that, they fail quickly. They recognize their mistakes; they adapt, but they don’t stop. For many of you the first time you make a mistake, you stop and you never go forward.

Keep pushing, because, after all, that failure . . .  like you’re a scientist, experimenting, and one experiment that they have fails, they go back and try it in a slightly different way.

Well, you have to try your ideas in lots of different ways. Experiment more, fail fast, fail often and come out as a winner in the end.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

Are you interested in my coaching you? Connect with me on LinkedIn and, once we are connected, message me. If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

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