I had one of those page-a-day calendars in university where you propped it up on a desk and tore of a new insightful quote every day. During a time when I was balancing a full academic course load, working two to three part-time jobs, and enjoying an active social life – I clung on to those bits of inspiration like a life raft. I taped them to my bedroom wall, my bathroom mirror, and even the inside of my day planner (translation for those born after 1990? A day planner = a paper version of your smart phone). I was basically living inside a 1990’s version of a Pinterest board.
The one quote that has stuck with me through all those years however was:
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
I’m not sure who said it first – the Internet attributes it to someone who said it years after I first heard it – but it struck a chord with me and still does. I am a perfectionist at heart in many way. I am a Type A person who wants to please everyone and get the job done better than anyone else could. However I am also a writer and love crafts and reading and exploring my artistic side, which allows me to colour outside the lines once in awhile. Having this quote in my mind releases me from the crippling fear that if I share something that is not completely perfect, things will actually be okay.
But how do you determine if something is "done" if it’s not perfect? Easy. The secret is that nothing is ever “perfect” and you need to accept that. If it were perfect, it would be the pinnacle of whatever it is and never need to be improved, changed or updated. You would have essentially perfected your way out of a job. In today’s world, things change on a dime. If you wait for something to be perfect before sending it into the world, you miss out on opportunities. Someone else will come along and release the imperfect version and get all the credit and your work will become moot.
You do your due diligence, you work hard, and you get something to a point where it can fly on its own – and then you send it out into the world. Much like parenting. None of us were perfect when our parents sent us off and we have many more changes, updates, and improvements on our lives before it’s over, and the same goes for our own children as we nudge them out into the world. We can't create the perfect scenario for our children to grow up in and why would we want to? Imperfection is what makes life interesting.
Perfect is boring. I know, in this digital age it can be hard, especially as parents, to let go of that need to be perfect and appear as perfect all the time but just try it. Release the chains of trying to reach something impossible and exercise your right to be imperfect.
Share an idea that’s not fully formed. Release an image that’s not doctored beyond reality. Show your unfinished side once in awhile and people will love you more for it. If you’re in business, your customers will relate to you more if you share your human side. If you’re in a healthy romantic relationship, it will flourish when you share your flaws. If you're a parent, your kids will grow up knowing it's okay to be imperfect. Which is, actually, perfect.
When things start to overwhelm you, repeat along with me:
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
Are you a perfectionist? Can you let go of something that may be holding you back from enjoying life more? Does this saying resonate with you? I’d love to hear about it.
*I originally published a version of this post on my writing business website, OceanvistaConsulting.com, in April 2015.