Really? It’s super hard, isn’t it? Letting something go into the world, even when you think you’ve done your very best?
But what about the times when it’s simply “good enough”. And holding back longer would mean you’re not sharing with the world at all.
In conversations with other entrepreneurs this past week, this has been a common theme. And in the spirit of letting you see my blog in the middle of a transition, it seemed like the perfect time to write about …
Taking Imperfect Action
Are there other options?
Waiting until it’s Perfect
This is my usual style of work. Most people with a Type A personality will work their fingers to the bone, ‘pull an all-nighter’ to avoid the shame and embarrassment of letting people see their work with a single flaw. There can be a valuable trait. Especially if this someone is your accountant, lawyer or maybe even your Virtual Assistant. You would like all the “i’s to be dotted and the t’s crossed”. In many cases, the details really are important.
But are they important enough to miss a deadline, or a real live conversation with a client, or time with family? Will the extra bolding in the bottom line of a header be noticed by the client, or is it possible they are just as happy with a neat and tidy report that clearly points them in the direction of a simple answer. Are they looking for a simple way to move forward in their busy life?
Perfectionism: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable ~ according to Merriam Webster dictionary
Listen to the Fear Talking
It’s been said that perfectionism is simply a method of holding oneself back from completion, and subsequently feeling a sense of accomplishment. And then being able to move onto a larger project, purpose or goal. Based on some conversations I’ve had this week with clients, friends and colleagues I can see how this could easily be the case.
Seth Godin refers to this as the “lizard brain”. It is keeping us safe from physical harm, of which there really isn’t any. He encourages us to listen strongly to the fear, and move towards it, instead of against it. Now that’s a concept, isn’t it?
What if the Fear is right?
Is it possible that I didn’t want to release that last e-report, not because it wasn’t perfect or right, but because I’m fearful of the rejection, or maybe even the lack of interest? That’s a good one, isn’t it? What if I release something into the world and NO ONE cares at all. Not even a pin drops. That could probably affect my ego. And maybe in some ways it’s easier for the ego if I don’t complete at all. Simpler to say, “Well, I didn’t release it because it wasn’t ready yet.” Than to find out that no one cares at all that you finished the project.
I’m not saying that’s the case. I’m guessing a lot of people care. And maybe there is just ONE person that really needs to hear what you’ve written, see what you created or hear your voice today. Maybe that one person will find their own voice after hearing, seeing, reading what you created. And if that’s the case, then could you find the courage inside to finish, even before it’s perfect?
Some days I can, and other days it feels absolutely impossible. The fear wins. It tricks me into thinking things are more complicated than they really are. It encourages me to believe the only way to get my report finished, or the blog post ready or the design of a project loaded up to the server, is to see it looking exactly as I imagined it in my mind. And nothing else will do.
And on those days I often just close up shop. I shut everything down and come back to it later. Sometimes I never come back to it at all.
A lot of those things are collecting virtual dust in the closets of my computer hard drive. They are filling up space in the shelving unit in my office and inside the drawers of my desks. Half-finished projects, waiting for a day when they can be perfected.
There’s my little confession. I have ‘closets’ full of half-finished projects. It’s true. But at least for today I’ll take this one step. I’ll approach 1 more person to share my dream and vision. I’ll write a blog post, connect with someone on twitter, and make a human connect.
Absolutely Imperfect! Me
Do it anyway
Or you could simple get it out there. Let people see what you’ve created. Listen to what you sang, read your words, taste your recipe.
Let the world you’re connecting with hear your song & give feedback. You will be surprised at the response. Sometimes there will be none for a while, and that’s okay too. The more you create and share the easier it will flow, and it’s scientifically proven you’ll have more energy than when you’re feeling stuck & stressed about your imperfect project.
How about you? Do you procrastinate? Have you taken a courageous act, even when part of you really wanted to hold back until “it was perfect”? Share your story here ~ your courage will help someone else. I promise.
p.s. Don’t be afraid to tell me where my bloopers are here today. I’m happy to make changes on the fly. That’s part of imperfect action too. Being open to suggestion, gentle criticism and collaborative work! A lot of people thrive in that type of environment (an extra source of good energy).