Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Saying ‘NO’ to Perfect

Cerebration is the enemy of originality” ~ Martin Ritt

So many of us struggle with being perfectionists; I would say that 80% of my coaching clients struggle with this need.  That in itself tells me something, knowing that I draw to me what I think about.  Perfectionism robs us of the ability to share our genius.  It takes away the joy of creating, and moves it into the realm of drudgery and incomplete works of art.  It means we have stacks of projects sitting around waiting to be completed because we stopped in the middle to go back and review, tweak and “make it better”.  

In paraphrasing Julie Cameron, perfectionism is a loop – an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are making and to lose sight of the big picture.  I laughed out loud when I read this chapter of her book, The Artist’s Way, because I could see myself so very clearly.  She says so succinctly that “perfectionism is the pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”

I’ve been practicing the mantra “80% is good enough” and asking many of my clients to practice it as well.  So, while I do the spell check and grammar check on my articles and blogs – you will see some misspellings come through – or I won’t catch it when my software changes the spelling of a word and I wasn’t paying attention.  I apologize in advance to my perfectionist proofreading friends; I’m not deliberately trying to annoy you!  I am also giving myself permission to flow with the idea rather than making the structure perfect. 

It has occurred to me that we stop growing in our ability to create anything meaningful if we are constantly re-doing what we have already done.  It leaves no room for exploration and action in any other areas of our life.  It stops us from making positive changes in our lives, to make them fuller and richer than we ever dreamed possible. 

If you were willing to be less than perfect, what would you do with your extra time?  Would you take up yoga?  How about learning to speak German?  Fill in the blank:  If the outcome didn’t have to be perfect, I would try… _______________________________________.

I’m looking for a golf partner – someone willing to golf with a really bad golfer so that we might both practice our way to being 80% perfect!  Anyone willing to step in to that one? 

“Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”  ~ Les Brown

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