The Zen of Imperfection
Perfection has been a nagging little mistress in my life. She constantly told me that although I worked hard, my efforts were not enough. She sucked the joy out of amazing accomplishments by incessantly and loudly highlighting what I should have done more, better or different.
When I started this particular writing venture and business, I was obsessed with doing every single little thing totally 100% perfectly. I felt like I needed to make the ultimate best decision on everything from my playlist to my pitch letters.
I read everything I could get my sweaty little hands on. Bookmarked everything. Highlighted, outlined, made notes. Ordered eBooks and reports. Watched all the podcasts, read all the interviews, subscribed to all the newsletters. Poured over blogs and signed up for courses.
Did I get a lot of really helpful information out of it all? You betcha. Did I spend weeks and weeks trying to decided on the perfect place to start, blow off the rest of my life, and have more than a few sleepless night?
Oh, yes. Yes, I did.
Here’s the thing: One is better than zero. Some is better than none. A little is better than nothing.
I realized it was time to stop that chatty little thing from making me crazy.
Like any good mistress, she deserves one of those little ball gag things. Or, does the mistress do the ball-gagging? I’m not up on my bondage metaphors. Anyway, that sound you hear is me popping one of those in her mouth. *POP*
Allowing the quest for perfect to sidetrack our adventures and successes is so completely human. But, it’s okay to just let it go.
I learned something revolutionary through this process though: Nothing I do right now is set in stone. I can change my mind later.
Okay, so that’s not really a revolutionary concept. However, it totally escaped me in any real, practical way. It just somehow seemed to be an abstract idea that didn’t apply to what I was actually doing.
There is no magic day to follow your passion. It never comes. Perfect is not a destination we can set in our GPS.
There’s a saying: If not now, when?
When faced with the fear of making huge mistakes and looking like an ass, there’s another saying: Oh, oh what the fuck. Go for it anyway.
Will there come a day when you just magically know everything and suddenly every tiny piece of the puzzle will fall effortlessly into place?
Just start where you are.
You’ll make mistakes. You’ll always have to figure things out because we can’t figure out all the things. Anyone who says they have it all figured out is hiding bodies in the basement. Don’t ask me how I know that.
If you’re a writer like me, start writing. If you’re a creator, painter, designer … whatever-er … just start doing it. Who cares if you have to make changes to your website later? Or get another domain name? Or change things around? That’s the process, it’s all part of the package.
Focus on what you CAN do. Focus on gratitude.
Every day, people go about their lives and they forget that they actually have a choice to do something different, create something, follow their dreams. They let the details stop them.
As writers do, I began writing about my struggles with the fixation on doing things perfectly. I kept focusing on what I should be doing or what someone else did.
Finally, I remembered gratitude. I got myself a Five Minute Journal and made gratitude a practice every morning and every night. That helped me focus on all the things I did accomplish (instead of relentlessly rehashing all the things that I didn’t), all the things I’d learned, and all the progress I’d made.
I’m not new to writing for a living, but even old dogs … erm … old pro’s … uhhh … seasoned professionals … need to learn new tricks. I let the new dogs run away with my resolve there for a minute.
Embrace the crazy. Embrace the unknown.
It will seem scary and unfamiliar, but that’s okay. You have a friend there. Look me up … I have a condo at the corner of Crazy and Unknown.
The beautiful thing about not knowing what happens next is that anything can happen next.
Embracing the unknown is the very epitome of Zen. It is … what it is.
We are the dominoes of inspiration.
While you are trying to figure it out and making progress every day, someone is watching you and thinking how amazing it is that you are going for it — whatever “it” may be for you.
We are a community, really. All of us out there figuring out how to make things awesome for ourselves and those around us.
There is another saying: Perfect is the enemy of good.
So, let’s do it together. Imperfectly.