Move on and create more

So many dear and wonderful women I know (including me) get caught in trap of perfectionism on a regular basis.

We wonder: Is this good enough? Will it land with my audience? Am I doing it right? What if I mess up? 

These are all common concerns, but they stop us from taking the necessary actions that will propel us toward our ultimate goals. Sometimes this can happen in decision-making as well (as illustrated by my questions below in thinking through my job search):

-academia? public sector? nonprofits? small companies? (note: I have temporarily ruled out large companies)

-program management? project management? people management?

ease flow and beauty
While I am not a visual artist, I did not hesitate to create and share this piece. Some might be embarrassed but I find it endearing that my inner 7-year-old likes to do art. 😉

But when we allow ourselves to linger too much on each of the options, we just allow confusion to cloud our judgment.

This is how I feel when I am writing blog entries. I give myself about 20-30 minutes to draft an entry. Then I figure out a picture (~5 minutes?) and get it posted up. If I have a little more time on my hands, I spend another 5-10 minutes editing. In total, I spend no more than 45 minutes on each post.

It is not that I don’t *think* through ideas when I brainstorm topics. But the writing itself is typically posted without a lot of anguish or delay.

And that’s why I can write often without much stress about it. I press the publish button and I let go of the result. I am grateful that so many “citizen journalists” can exist today without editorial gatekeepers.

Sometimes I notice there are typos when I go back and read prior entries, particularly if I did not remember to go back and edit. But well, what can I say? This is the internet. Everything has a pretty short shelf-life.

Very often I will go back and read a month of entries (or entries from the year before) and discover themes emerging that I find interesting. Or I’ll realize: wow, I keep learning the SAME lesson over and over again! 😉

I move on, and I create more. There is very little advantage to spending lots of time to polish each post until it shines. Good enough is good enough.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Done is Better than Good

Right now I am preparing to work on a few cover letters for some jobs I already applied for at my current company. The application process does not actually require them, but I believe that it is probably best to explain what interests me about these positions, and why I see myself as the best fit for them.

I am re-listening to Liz Gilbert’s wonderful book, Big Magic. She has a chapter on avoiding the trap of perfectionism, and making sure we complete our work. I love this book so much, and if you ever suffer during your creative moments, it is a must-read. I love her way of describing the beautiful gift of creative practice, this wonderful ability we humans have to engage with our gifts.

In the past, I have sometimes not completed things like job applications, a sort of failure ahead of time, convinced the result would not be good enough. Really what I was responding to was my inner “chicken,” the voice of fear that nearly all of us have (but some have overcome it more effectively) that avoids risk and seeks reward. There is no shame in realizing we have this voice. Risk aversion is a developmental necessity to keep us safe from threats, but sadly, we over-generalize it at some point in our lives.

woman writing
Photo credit link

The only way to overcome it is to practice acting despite our fears, realizing that everything we produce will have some imperfection, and yet putting it out there anyway. It helps if we can constrain the time we work on it, or give ourselves deadlines “ahead of time” so that if final polishing is necessary, we allow adequate time. But sometimes that is not practical, or there are enough other things clamoring for our attention, that if we waited for the ideal, we would never get there.

So I will keep this relatively short, and allow some time to write these cover letter while it is early and I still have optimal morning focus. Two of them will be relatively easy to write: I am very interested in those positions and one excites me greatly even though it is a stretch. The other two may be a little more tricky, since they are more “exploratory’ in nature, and I want to learn more about the positions, and am not necessarily sold on them.

What is it that you are putting off because you do not think it will be “good enough?” 

I will end with a quote from Liz Gilbert in Big Magic (p 177):

“You may want your work to be perfect, in other words; I just want mine to be finished.”