Embrace the draft. Embrace enough.
“Done is better than perfect.” — Sheryl Sandberg
How often do we find ourselves in endless cycles seeking this mystical point of perfection? Convinced that at some point we will just know that our creation has achieved the point of perfection, ready for release.
Now, this is the point where our brain begins to chime “Oh. Well. I’m not a perfectionist. I know [whatever you are thinking of/working on/creating] can never be perfect. Perfect isn’t real. Learned that in primary school and I’m much smarter/more self-aware than when I was 8. I wouldn’t fall in that trap. I’m just making sure my [whatever] is good enough. It’s just not there yet…”
Have you published it? Shared it? Let it even glimpse the light of day? If it were to be shown to the world right now, at this moment, would you be fine with it?
Chances are, if that version we have right now was made public, we would panic. I know I would freak out thinking, “it’s not ready yet! Shit, everyone is going to judge it” etc etc in a little meltdown spiral.
Recently, my coach made a great point to me. “If it’s perfect, it’s fucked.” There’s no where left to go, left to grow. It’s done. Perfect = static. What we should be aspiring towards is growth, not perfection. Accept that everything we create, heck even our lives, are drafts. Embrace the draft.
Embrace the idea of enough.
Look at what you are working on. Instead of asking “is it perfect yet?” Ask “is it good enough for now?” Remember, we can always come back and work on the next draft whenever we need.
Change your end goal. Let go of perfect and ask yourself what is enough. You aren’t looking for the Nobel Prize winning version right now. Do Nobel laureates win on their first try? Nope, but they all start with a first draft.
“Perfect is the enemy of good.” — Voltaire
This mentality switch can have incredible power. It takes our ego out of the equation. Without even realising it, the pursuit of perfection often is not about the work itself, but our insecurities, desire for recognition/affirmation, and needs of our ego. We fall victim to the endless cycle of “not yet” because no work, no matter how spectacular, can possibly satisfy the craving of our ego. So we stay stuck in our fixed mindset, waiting for the perfection to hit.
When we aim instead for enough, our ego loses its hold and we are able to just see our work for what it is. Our work. Not the epic battleground of our self worth. And then, we are free to start growing again, step by step, draft by draft.
For me, (don’t get me wrong I still have to fight my ego demons that want perfect to keep my insecurities at bay) I am starting to appreciate my work instead of only seeing it’s shortcomings. I can look at my writing, for example, and say is the message getting through? Can people understand what I’m trying to say? Great, that’s enough. Rather than antagonizing over every line. Is this piece perfect? Definitely not, but I’m going to publish it anyways.
Liza Tullidge is a serial entrepreneur, investor + advisor focused on reengineering business + individuals to build a better planet. Find out more about Liza + her work at www.lizatullidge.com