How often does perfectionism get in the way of action?
If you’ve ever been stalled by that perfectionist voice in your head that says, If you’re going to do it, you better do it right, then you know what I’m talking about. That voice pushes you to think about it some more, or to work on it for longer or … to not do it at all. Can you say productivity killer?
At the beginning of this year I set a goal for myself to create one video a week as part of this series. 53 videos in total, all with the help of my wonderful husband Ewan, who is a professional photographer and videographer.
In the last few weeks we’ve both been very busy with our respective businesses, and I realized a bit too late, that we don’t have a video done for this week…and at this eleventh hour my videographer is away on a shoot. Now what?
I admit I obsessed about it for awhile. “I could post it late. It won’t look as good if I do it myself. We should have stayed up late and got it done. Everyone will notice it’s not as good. BLAH BLAH BLAH.” And then I said to myself …
“I’ll just have to shoot this week’s video myself…no matter the outcome. DONE is better than perfect.”
I don’t have my hubby’s fancy equipment, or skills with lighting and sound…but I mostly know what I’m doing.
I have a simple Sony point-and-shoot on a stable tripod with a small external mic… and Mother Nature as my light source.
Not perfect… but GOOD ENOUGH. And to me, it’s far more important to stay on track with my video goal than to drop it or delay it until it can get shot ‘properly’ by my hubby. He could use a week off this project anyway.
Where in your life can you let go of perfectionism…just a bit?
In her book Bird by Bird, Writer Anne Lamott says:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”
Sounds like a whole lot of NO FUN to me. And beyond what perfectionism does for your sanity, it messes with your success in two key ways.
#1 Perfectionism is a time waster
All that extra time you take to tweak here, change there, …perfect, perfect, perfect could be spent starting on the next project or task. Why waste time ‘perfecting’ when the work you’ve done is already pretty damn good?
Let’s be clear. When you let go perfectionism, when you surrender, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still do your best possible work. It just means accepting circumstances as they are at any given moment, doing what you can, and knowing when done is done.
I talk a lot about doing the freakin’ work (#DTFW), because action is the true success maker, and imperfect is way better than non-existent. Which brings me to my next point.
#2 Perfectionism is a project killer.
When we obsess about doing it perfectly we sometimes freeze ourselves into not doing it at all. Wrong timing, wrong weather, wrong equipment, not enough time or help or money… I have to wait until the planets align… or until I get a sign…
Until you’re saying crazy things to yourself like:
I guess it’s not meant to be. I’ll start tomorrow. Maybe I need to rethink this.
NEWS FLASH! You’re not going to find success with anything by putting it off! This week’s video (below) may not be perfect, but it’s done and my project stays on schedule for another week. WIN!
My husband may wince when he sees the quality of this video compared to how it might have turned out under his guidance… or he’ll more likely just say. “Good job honey, and thanks for the week off.”
I know I’m capable of shooting a better video, but I can’t beat myself up because this one isn’t as good as previous ones. I’ve got 30 more of these to shoot so I’ve got plenty more chances to get it right.
Same is true for you, in anything you need to do. Imperfect progress makes for really good practice. ACTION is the true success-maker.
Where do you need to loosen the reigns a bit with your goals or projects? In what ways can you let go of perfectionism?
In the name of getting the job done, let imperfect be perfect and #DTFW. Until next time I’m Michelle Cederberg helping you transform your work and life, one imperfect recharge at a time.