Leonardo DaVinci and I Share This Problem…


A few months ago, I was working on a new version of a 60-minute storytelling presentation. I was tinkering and tweaking, adding and adjusting. I wanted to make it “just right,” and that was holding me back.

My friend Susan, who was helping me with the presentation, had seen enough.

Gently but firmly, she said, “Tom, it does NOT have to be perfect.”

Of course, she was right.

I snapped to my senses and knocked out the presentation later that day.

And a few days later, I booked a speaking gig where I’ll deliver the presentation and generate some business.

If I’d continued tweaking, I wouldn’t have booked that engagement, and I would have missed a great opportunity. 

Action drives business. Inaction kills it.

If you constantly tinker and tweak in pursuit of perfection, you’re choosing inaction. 

You’re busy. But you’re not moving forward. 

That’s what happened to Leonardo DaVinci back in 1481. 

Augustinian monks hired  him to create a painting for the altar in their monastery near Florence.

They gave DaVinci 30 months to finish the painting that would depict the adoration of the magi – the nativity scene in which three kings (“magi”) adore baby Jesus.

DaVinci didn’t meet the deadline. He tinkered and tweaked. He added and adjusted. He pursued perfection.

But he couldn’t get the painting just right so he never released the work.

The monks lost patience and canceled the commission.

They hired Filippino Lippi to create the altarpiece, instead.

Art historians say Lippi’s Adoration is way worse than Leo’s… except…

…it’s finished.

DaVinci had lots of unfinished works.

DaVinci was the better painter.

But Lippi met deadlines, delivered the goods and – most importantly – cashed in.

Today, we call DaVinci a genius and gawk at his works in great churches and museums – The Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, The Last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, and his unfinished Adoration of the Magi at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Many art historians call DaVinci the greatest artist ever.

But back in the day, DaVinci was just another struggling artist who scrambled to pay his bills.

The bottom line: Leonardo DaVinci had a perfection problem.

Don’t do like DaVinci did. Don’t do like I did with my presentation. 

Don’t pursue perfection. Release your work. 

Remember that the next time you’re thinking, “I can’t launch an email campaign because I’m not a good enough writer.”

(You’re good enough, or you can hire someone who is good enough.)

Think of Lippi cashing in the next time you re-edit content, over and over again, because it’s “not quite right.”

(It’s right enough or you can hire someone who can quickly make it right enough.)

If you wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait…

…until your stuff is practically perfect, you choose inaction over action.

Then, like DaVinci and me, you will have a perfection problem that becomes a business problem.

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

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3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.