It’s Ready.

I was at an open mic night a number of years ago. The host called out the name of the next group and asked them to take the stage.

Instead of taking the stage, they ran outside to their cars and began carting in all their gear. And all their gear. And then some more gear. Smartly, the host recommended that everyone in the audience take this time to get a drink from the bar.

I stayed in my seat and watched as the band began to plug everything in and power everything up. Which was no small task among the tangled web of cables and wires.

Finally everything was plugged in and working.

Now it was time for the sound check.

Thankfully, they had brought a sound guy with them to make sure everything was mixed juuuust right. After all, this open mic night was probably going to be the space and time where everything came together and they would receive their big break.

Ok! Sound check checked! The host timidly stepped back on stage to introduce them.

By this time, to say the audience and energy of the room had dwindled would be a bit of an understatement.

The host introduced the band to a smattering of applause.

The band stepped downstage to play their opening song…

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming out tonight. If you’ll just give us a minute or two to tune…”

What was left of the audience, left. The band performed for their girlfriends, the host, and me.

I stayed for one song.

They lost their audience due to too much preparation.

We live in a world that preaches that there’s no such thing as too much preparation. Make sure the product is perfect before you launch it, ship it, or put it out there.

Interesting thought, but I do wonder how many opportunities and potential audiences were lost due to too much preparation.

I have worked for theater companies that rehearsed for weeks and months in pursuit of perfection and excellence. Unfortunately, the cast peaked too early and the audience never got to see it.

I have worked for other theater companies that would workshop something for an hour and immediately put it in front of an audience. The audience would then get to see the rehearsal process and all the mistakes that go with it.

I think there’s a place for both methods. Every process calls for a different approach and balance.

But in every case, at some point we need to take the step and embrace that it’s ready. It might not yet be perfect, but it is ready.

Put it out there.

Lest you lose your audience.

What are you perfecting that can never be perfect?

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