I’ve heard it said that “you tend to preach to others what you need to hear most.”
When it comes to the topic of perfectionism, I don’t know if there is a more accurate statement! So in all honesty, I need this reminder as much as you do.
Sure, there are times when I throw caution to the wind and just jump right into a project, indifferent to whether or not it turns out just right. But most of the time I am a HUGE perfectionist, and everything does have to turn out just right.
Done Is Better Than Perfect
For those of you who know me, you know that I may or may not have a slight obsession with journals and sketchbooks.
Case in point: The last time I went through and cleaned out my office, I put all my journals in a pile to see how many I really had. Let’s just say I stopped counting at like, 35…. (I might need an intervention soon).
But the sad thing is, most of those journals are just sitting on a shelf… full of blank, empty pages. Want to know why?
It’s because they are nice journals and they have such lovely paper, so I don’t want to make a mistake or mess up any of the pages. So I just don’t start at all.
Seriously. That’s been my thought process for the longest time…. How ridiculous is that?! (It’s ok if you laugh at me – I laugh at myself for it, too).
But I am slowly realizing that done is better than perfect.
I’m learning that it’s better to have a sketchbook with pages full of scribbles, crossed out ideas, and funny looking doodles, than a completely blank sketchbook. I’ve learned that once you get rid of that pressure of perfection, it gives you so much more freedom! Freedom to try new things, freedom to make mistakes (and be ok with it), freedom to just have fun!
Now, I still don’t love making mistakes. But I am getting better at using them to my advantage when they do happen, which means I don’t let them eat away at me as much anymore.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: Making mistakes is how you learn. It’s how we figure out what works, and what doesn’t work. It shows you what to do, or what not to do, for your next project or idea.
Mistakes allow you to get the bad ideas out of the way, and make room for the good ideas. And believe me, for every one good idea you have, you will have probably 10 bad ideas to go along with it. But that’s why you need to keep creating! You’re not going to hit a home run every time, but keep swinging until you do!
One of my favorite memories is from when Lady Jane was about 3 years old. She was standing on the edge of the ottoman, and announced “I have an experiment!”
She counted to three, then jumped off.
That jump didn’t go quite as planned, however…one of her feet didn’t clear the ottoman, and down she went. A hard “hands and knees” landing on the floor. But you know what? She immediately bounced right back up and proclaimed, “I’m ok!”
Admittedly, we did all laugh at her a little bit….but only because she was ok!
The second attempt went much better, because she knew what not to do.
As you go through your creative journey don’t be afraid to jump sometimes. Try something you’ve never done before. If you stick the landing, great! Or if you face-plant, that’s ok too – just get back up and try it again, tweaking what caused it to go wrong the first time.
Try not to put the pressure of perfection on yourself. If you do make a mistake, learn from it, and then just roll with it! Pull a Bob Ross and turn that mistake into a happy little tree. Take what looks like a failure and make it into a successful endeavor. It could turn out to be your greatest creative accomplishment yet!