As creatives it can be hard not to aim for perfection. We ask ourselves constantly, how can I be the best? We are told that our work has to be amazing, or perfect as possible from a young age. The school system trains us to think that perfect exists, and I hate to be the person to say it to you, but perfect doesn’t exist. As with the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder“, it is the same for perfection. You might see the faults in the work, but your audience might not.
In this podcast I talk about ways that chasing perfection has damaged my own career. I also share tips about how I overcame that, and things that you can do to stop perfection preventing you from making progress. You can listen to it here.
How to prevent perfection
Start before you make a mark
First of all, take a moment to think about the work that you want to create, and before you even start, set a deadline. Because we all know deadlines are meant to be followed, let’s get cheeky here. You are in control of your own deadlines. Sure there may be a client involved- but for the moment let’s imagine there isn’t one. This is work that you want to create for your own business or career. By setting a deadline, and even if you don’t make it, it allows you a date on the calendar to check in and see if you have made progress, or if you are starting to delay finishing because you want to make it perfect!
How to be the best
Start by thinking where this thought comes from. Do you want to prove to all of the people who doubted you that you are amazing? What if I gave you permission to know that you are the best already? Only you have you way of looking at the world. Only you can create the work that you do. This already makes you amazing. Being the best at something doesn’t magically happen. It takes time to build a profile, gain experience and put your work out into the world. But you are already the best at being you, right now. Try to acknowledge that, and focus on turning up again, and again, so that you can become the best in your industry.
Progress not perfection
Making progress in your work and your career is much more important than chasing the perfection-unicorn. Think about the steps that you can take towards a piece of work today. What small things can you do right now to get it going? Build in review moments so that you can track your progress.
Quit the research
As a research junkie, I know how easy it is to get stuck into the research stage. The danger here is that you think that you are making progress because you feel like you are doing something. When in fact you are using delay tactics. Do a tiny bit of research and then make a start. It doesn’t need to be the most amazing start in the world, but by starting you break that cycle of getting in the research comfort zone.
To help you with your own progress not perfection journey, I have created a workbook for you to use along side the podcast. It helps you to identify where you are chasing perfection, when it is linked to fear or imposter syndrome, and steps that you can take to make progress yourself.
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