Success needs you to be an obsessive and difficult perfectionist?

Loving this quote from Barbra Streisand,

“I’ve been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details, for any artist to be good.”

Do I agree with it? Do I agree with it when applied to running your own agency business? Well, yes and no.

Yes, perfectionist.

Yes, difficult.

Yes, obsessive.

But also, no.

One side of running a great agency is not settling for second best. Not being happy with good enough.

This all reminds me of the George Bernard Shaw quote,

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Yes, you need to strive and yes, you need to push the boundaries.

However, these attributes – perfectionist, difficult, obsessive – just in case these are characteristics you display or aspire to, can make you pretty difficult to live with.

There has to be a flip-side that they miss. A yin to their yang. The capacity to step back and see the bigger picture. The capacity to see things from the point of view of the customer, to understand what is important to them. The ability to deliver on time, to specification.

What is clear to me is that your agency does need two characters (ideally two people) running it: the visionary (extrovert, strategist, blue-skies, big-picture thinker) and an implementer or integrator (making stuff happen when and where and how it was scheduled).

The side of obsession I struggle with is when it turns from perfectionist and difficult to downright obnoxious, thick-skinned, selfish and win-at-all-cost.

Put simply, I do not believe you need to be a total and utter sh*t to be successful. After all, success, for most of us, is not simply about valuation on exit. If it were, we’d be in banking.