My best tip to overcome perfectionism in your creative work, and in pretty much anything you do
Having known perfectionism myself for as long as I can remember , I know how this aspect of yourself can affect the way you live your everyday life. The funny thing is that it hasn't bothered me so much in the past. I was quite proud of my perfectionism in school, which meant I was always doing my homeworks right, being prepared for exams, and it was reflected in many other aspects of life.
A funny story about how my perfectionism still shows up, even if I'm now aware that it's a limit and an expression of insecurity....I enjoy bureaucracy! I like filling up my tax statement, dealing with social security, health documents, and the reason for that it's that I like details. I read carefully the instructions and I always send out the right paperwork, and it even makes me feel empowered!
But, since I've started writing this blog, or doing pretty much anything creative in my life, I've felt STUCK. I knew that I was creating something from the deep of my heart, something that couldn't be controlled like filling a bank questionnaire, and showing up regularly felt so hard and almost intimidating.
I thought that to be creative I needed to wait the moment in which my mind was calm and still, when I had lots of time to dedicate to it and the words would just flow out of my hands and into the keyboard, in the most natural way.
The reason is that writing is a BIG part of my everyday life, and it's something that has always come out of inspiration, a need to express myself in that exact moment and that I couldn't put my inspiration in a box, right?
Well, it all sounded good and right in my head, but I noticed that even if I was scribbling down and filling my journal and notes of ideas as usual, I wasn't putting any of them into the blog. I wasn't pressing published. And my desire to share myself to the world out there, became more and more an abstract idea and less of a reality.
The truth is that I was waiting for the perfect moment.
The ideal sunny day where I could sit on a bench in the park and let all my beautiful words flow out, but this moment didn't happen very often! And my blog was quite empty, and I was frustrated that all I wanted to say wasn't getting to the people I wanted to reach and help.
This until I read few weeks ago a Facebook post from a young painter I follow. She was preparing for a show, an important exhibition of her work and she was freaking out because she didn't know if the quality of her work was good enough. She was in so much doubt and fear, and she was judging her work quite harshly. Until she realize that the only thing she could do was making something.
A few days after I ended up listening this podcast ( which I completely love by the way) and the woman interviewed, also a visual artist, discussed about spending a whole year of her life just making stuff and exploring her art. Until she found her style and was so much more confident about which kind of art she wanted to make.
So...the message from this post is :
Quantity over quality.
Yes, you're hearing it right! It may seem the opposite of what you've learned so far, the opposite of what education taught us and also good sense sometimes. But especially when you start your own business, and more specifically when you're a creative entrepreneur, doing is more important than doing well.
Than you may have once in a while a day in which you're a total inspired goddess, but most days you'll have to simply SHOW UP to your blank page, to your empty canvas, and just put something out there. And this is so much more valuable for the world than leaving that page blank until the perfect idea comes to you!
Today I want to share with you 4 STEPS to help you overcome perfectionism, :
- Step 1 : First of all when the procrastination hit you, and you think you'll be better or more ready tomorrow, or the day after, well just START FOR 2 MINUTES. It may seem like a very short time, and here it's the trick. Exactly because you think that 2 minutes are so short, you'll allow yourself to try it out, and guess what, there is a higher chance that once you've started the worst moment will have passed, and you will keep on going ( that's pretty much what I did today to start the article you're reading now ;-)
- Step 2: Focus on showing up every day. Yes, every damn day. It may seem like a chore and so scary, but even if you do something for 2 minutes everyday, you'll end up creating so much more than thinking about it, because clarity comes from experience and not thinking about the experience .
- Step 3: Focus on the quantity over the quality. Yes, just make stuff, don't worry how it will look like, and worry even less about what people will think about it. Maybe it will not be your master piece, but you're getting so much closer to that by practicing. You'll fing yourself with so much work done, and just naturally the quality will come by refining your work over time. If you still have doubts just think about it in this way : If you like what you're doing. and enjoy the time spent in that task ( and this may change over time of course), you're probably doing a GOOD QUALITY job already because you're putting the passion and commitment in.
- Step 4: Finally a very important last step, that will make you so accountable, SHARE YOUR WORK. This can look like a blog post, a photo shared on social media, an idea share with your friends or family. I don't care, just let it free into the world, let it have its own life and forget about it.
I hope you've enjoyed this article. The steps I described above are exactly the reasons why I'm writing this post to you today. Because I love blogging and connecting with people. And I SO wanna do it more often. And because I don't wanna let perfectionism stop me here I'll make a commitment to share a post per week. Yes I say it out loud. It may not seem much for other bloggers that write daily, but for me it is, so I'll press download once a week in this space, and I'm so looking forward to share my "imperfect" but very honest and authentic words with you all.
Now it's your turn, what do you procrastinate on because of your perfectionism? Share it in the comments below and see how sharing it openly to this community will make you accountable!
With love and light,