I recently received the email above from the marketing machine at Air France, a subsidiary of the multi-billion dollar Air France – KLM Group (2017 group revenue was over US$30 billion).
Pay special attention to the subject line, “test image.” And, no, I’ve not cropped out anything: what you see above is the entire email I, and probably millions of other people, received from Air France.
If it’s not immediately clear to you, let me tell you what’s going on here: the screenshot below is the actual email the Air France staff wanted to send out.
Got it now? Someone from this multi-billion dollar giant in the airline industry hit the wrong button — sending a test email out to, possibly, millions of actual customers and email subscribers. Yikes!
But, here is the thing, and the lesson for you and me: in spite of this blunder, the world did not come to an end for Air France. And I’ll wager that the majority of people who received this “test image” email recognized it as a mistake, laughed it off, and went back to their (hopefully) awesome lives.
So, why am I writing about this then?
In my years of teaching, coaching and generally perambulating through life, I’ve come across many smart young men and women who have interesting life stories and amazing skills that they would like to share with the world — and I have every reason to believe that their bank accounts would get extra digits if they did.
Yet, these people perceive themselves as not being good enough, and, consequently, instead of being on the stage and changing lives, they have chosen to burn their candles under the table — denying the world of their brilliance and their bank accounts of those extra digits.
In the past, in my zeal to help (or maybe it’s just because I really, really hate to hear excuses), and upon multiple assurances, I would spend my own money and time to purchase domain names and hosting, set up a WordPress site, and teach these people how to publish new content on their sites. About a year later I would receive notification of upcoming domain expiration from the registrar, only to check the site and discover that no additional posts were made after I handed over the websites.
Now I know better.
If you are one of these people — if, deep down, you feel a desire to share your life story and/or skills online but you’re held back by fears of failure or being ridiculed because of your perceived imperfections (you don’t write perfectly, you don’t have a perfect voice, you don’t look perfect on camera, you’re not an expert yet, you don’t have X yet, etc) — here is the best advice I can give you:
You'll make mistakes anyway, so why not make most of those mistakes now when no one knows you? In all likelihood, you and Google's bots will be the only visitors to your site and readers of your articles in the first several weeks, if not months :-)
I strongly believe perfection is mightily overrated, and often, good enough is, well, good enough. And here is the thing: no amount of reading or even private practice is going to make you “perfect.” Neither will a multi-million dollar budget or US$30 billion revenue make you immune to little blunders and mighty goofs, as the Air France story above clearly illustrates.
You will only learn, grow and inch forward towards your idea of perfection when you step on the stage and perform publicly.
Yes, there is a fair chance that you will make mistakes. And people will laugh at and ridicule you for those mistakes. But this is the only way to learn, grow, and prosper.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent, as Calvin Coolidge says. And if you don’t immediately achieve the perfection you crave for, you might achieve excellence along the way. And your bank account will thank you for it!
So go out there and make your dent in the universe. I, for one, will be behind you every step of the way, cheering you up and urging you forward.