Nothing stifles our success more than the pressure we put on ourselves to do things perfectly, and avoid the possibility of falling short in the attempt.
We live in a culture that celebrates perfectionism even as it censures it. Every time we pick up a magazine or turn on the TV, we feel pressure to have perfect homes, perfect bodies, perfect children, perfect lives. And too often we want to feel like we have to do something perfectly before we attempt to do it at all. Nothing stifles our success more than the pressure we put on ourselves to do things perfectly, and to avoid the possibility of falling short in the attempt.
I’ve spent the last few months immersed in words while writing my third book, “Brave.” When writing books (and even blogs!), one of my challenges has been that I’m never fully satisfied with them when they’re published, and this book was no exception! Though it hit the shelves earlier this month, I’m sure that if my editor gave it back to me again today I could make another few hundred small tweaks to polish it further. Books are like that. Words are like that. Life is like that. It’s always easy to see how it could be better – more perfect – and not so easy to feel content with how it is.
One of the chapters in this book is called Forget perfect. Good enough is good enough. Needless to say, it’s advice I have to live myself. The truth is that if I’d waited until I had the literary brilliance of the writers whose books line my own shelves, I would never write a darn thing. Likewise, if I kept editing this last book until I felt it was ‘perfect,’ no one would ever get to read it.
The fact is that right now, you are more than “good enough” to get started toward accomplishing new goals and pursuing new dreams. It begins with having the courage to believe in yourself, in the value you bring and the dreams you hold. Yes, you are smart enough, strong enough, worthy enough, capable enough, and ready enough right now… just as you are… and as imperfect as you are.
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. ~Ecclesiastes 11:4
Consider how many adults never learned to swim as children, who now refuse to learn as adults. Their fear of having to go through the same learning curve of every child keeps them from even getting into the water. Don’t fall into that same trap when it comes to doing something that would enrich your life and expand your future. Rather, trust yourself that you have everything it takes to do what you really want to do. What you don’t yet know, you’ll learn. And what you can’t do well won’t really matter. Remember, done is better than perfect! It’s a mantra that will serve you well.
As Brene Brown wrote, “Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.” So let me ask you, what would you do if you gave yourself permission to do it less than brilliantly? Don’t let your fear of not being good enough keep you from realizing just how capable, worthy and talented you truly are.
Your fear, if left unchecked, can keep you from living the life you want. Don’t give it that power! Life’s perfection exists in its imperfection. So forget perfection, and just get on with it!