Perfectionism is an ugly thing. It looms, it nitpicks, it stalls, and ultimately it can kill. As the owner of an idea agency, I know that we pride ourselves on thinking of new and creative concepts and ways to do things. We love imagining the unimaginable and we aim to push through lizard-like thinking on every project. But what happens when perfectionism decides to pounce?
I am taking the #YourTurnChallenge, seven days of consecutive posting about things that matter to me with a group of like-minded individuals who are also taking the challenge. Thanks for putting this together, Winnie Kao, and to Seth Godin for always pushing us to ship. Today what matters to me is putting the kibosh on perfectionism, especially as it relates to writing.
In the course of writing this post, I’ve procrastinated, written and re-written, gotten lunch, checked my email, started writing in a fresh document, crafted five different headlines (and I’m sure that will increase before the actual posting), and erased a few paragraphs that certainly weren’t perfect. Additionally, my incessant checking that I’m using hashtags perfectly and attributing credit where it’s properly due is overshadowing my focus on content.
What you’re witnessing, of course, is that the very nature of writing about perfectionism is ironically making it even harder to get it right. (See?!) So, I’m changing it up a bit and I’m just going to go for the touchdown. (I use a football analogy today because it is that season, and because our beloved Pats are headed to the Super Bowl). Here's how you can start overcoming perfectionism:
Grab the ball and run down the field – run free and as far as you can go. When you start getting close to the end zone you may start to feel self-conscious (maybe you could be running better, faster, on a different trajectory, or you think now is a good time to model yourself after someone who is more successful at running the ball down the field);that’s perfection talking. When you slow down to start to question yourself, just push through it and hurl yourself over the goal line. It may not be pretty, but you got there. Touchdown! (And excessive celebration penalty, of course!) That’s how to put the kibosh on perfectionism.
How do you manage your struggle with perfectionism and avoid killing your own creativity?