Done is better than perfect
Until recent years, my approach to any new project, activity, or skill was to only attempt it if I was 99% certain I could execute it perfectly or at least close to perfectly the first time. My fear of making a mistake and looking/feeling stupid was nearly debilitating, to be brutally honest. It crept into and paralyzed me in every area of my life. It prevented me from having a social life, kept me from discovering new interests and hobbies, stagnated my career, limited my education.
I have always been a lover of books. I learned to read at 4 and from then on you would be hard pressed to find me without a book in my hands. It was so safe for me, to live through the characters in the books. I could travel the world, be the most popular girl in school, excel at sports, or write a best seller without having to risk failing. It was the perfect setup…until I grew up and became the mother of 4 children, no longer able to find ample uninterrupted time to read. I was forced to live in reality and make do with what turned out to be a very limited skill set. I spent a good many years feeling inadequate, trapped, and depressed.
I used to believe that the people in this world who stood out as exceptional in their field – exceptional artists, exceptional musicians, exceptional athletes – were born into good genes and great talent. It never once occurred to me that these people spent hours and hours, years and years, honing their skills and practicing their craft. It also didn’t occur to me that maybe, just maybe, they sucked pretty bad when they were just starting out but they continued to pursue their passion because it was fun and brought them joy, mistakes and all.
I’ve spent a good chunk of time in the last year learning about not only the accomplishments of some of the most insanely successful people, but also about their failures and it has been a game changer for me. Knowing that Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 different publishers and Henry Ford had several failed businesses under his belt before he founded the Ford Motor Company makes me realize how silly it would be for me to give up on something before I even started out of fear of not being wildly successful the first time.
Facing this fear of imperfection is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most freeing, rewarding, and fun. I have learned to let go of expectations and re-learned how to do something for the sheer enjoyment of it. This blog is the perfect example. Even as I’m writing this, there’s a fight going on in the back of my head…what if it sucks? What if no one reads it? What if people are mean? And I have to constantly work at quieting that voice and saying, so what? I mean really, absolute worst case scenario let’s say all of those things happen. What changes? Did I still enjoy writing it? Yup. Did it still feed my creativity and knowledge of self ? Yup. Then that’s all that matters.
And so now I’m just doing stuff. Just for the heck of it. Just to see what I like and what I don’t like. All with a let’s-see-what-happens kinda attitude. Cause I would way rather, as they say, have a lifetime of ‘Oh wells’ than a lifetime of ‘What ifs’.
Done is better than perfect.