I read a saying yesterday that “perfectionism is the enemy of done” (I believe that’s from Brenè Brown). I’m finding this extremely true as I write these posts. It’s tempting to want something to be perfect before we put it out there in the world. There’s good reason for wanting that, and I completely believe that things worth doing should be done well. However, perfectionist thinking can prevent me from moving forward and can actually crush my creativity (also from Brenè Brown). In every creation process, we have to decide when it’s done or we never get to enjoy the completion of it. Completion releases us of the responsibility to keep looking at it, and to keep spending energy there. Being done frees us up to start a new creative venture without strings.
Giving myself a daily deadline to post here is definitely a stretch for me. At some point each day, I have to feel okay about what I’m posting. I’m choosing to done. I know my writing isn’t perfect and I could very well go back and improve everything I have written. Day after day I’m making that decision of when to be done. It’s an internal debate, every single day. I’m choosing to be okay with my creation being less than perfect because it’s creating growth for me and new confidence. It’s getting me to actually create something, put it out into the world, and then move on to the next. I like it –even if it’s B- work.
[Quick preface to introduce the LDS section coming next: For anyone unfamiliar, Thomas S. Monson is the sixteenth and current President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a member of the LDS church, I believe that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in the latter days through a man named Joseph Smith.]
I once listened to an interview from Heidi Swinton, who authored the biography of Thomas S. Monson. I remember her saying something to effect that when it was done, she wasn’t entirely convinced that it was as good as it “should” have been (my words, not hers, but I recall something along those lines). I can only imagine the desire she must have had to feel really good about her work. She understandably wanted it to be perfect, and it might not be.
She took comfort in a story from the life of Joseph Smith: Before his martyrdom, he needed to pass along important parts of the restoration (I believe it was the temple endowment), to the living apostles who would be carrying on the work. This would ideally happen within the walls of the temple, however the temple wasn’t completed yet. It was under construction. Although not “perfect,” this occurred (if memory serves) above the Whitney Store, a temporary space they had used for other religious teaching at the time. Even though it likely wasn’t exactly how Joseph Smith would have pictured it or wanted it to come about, it was sufficient. It worked. What needed to happen, happened, and it was okay. Through this story, Heidi Swinton was able to find comfort in her work being “okay” rather than needing it to be “perfect.” Maybe Joseph Smith’s experience occurred exactly how it was supposed to. Perfect, actually.
Whether my writing would be considered B- work or not is irrelevant to me. What is relevant to me is the growth I’m experiencing and the practice I’m getting at creating, being done, and then creating again. The process in and of itself is rewarding, and it’s helping me to discover things about myself and what’s inside my brain. This is my fifteenth post of my goal of thirty in thirty days. I can’t wait to see what else I create!
[Credit for the thought about B- work goes to Brooke Castillo, The Life Coach School podcast.]