In this lesson, we talk about dealing with perfectionism, which is something lots of us struggle with, that stops us from taking action and creating and moving towards our dreams.
I’ve struggle with perfectionism personally â€” when I wrote my first book, the idea of it going out into the world and not being able to change it once it was in people’s hands … it scared me. It was about control, being afraid of not having control of my work. This fear froze me, and I had a hard time writing that first book.
This was a great lesson for me: Perfection is the enemy of action. We can use this mantra to remind ourselves when we’re struggling with perfectionism, nitpicking, worrying about getting things just right.
Some people don’t even start their blog or business, for example, because they want to get it just right before they launch. What I tell people is to just put it out. Make it better as you go along, but just get it out.
A couple ideas to help:
- Crappy first draft. When you put out your first draft, it will be crap. Allow yourself to put it out there in a crappy form, embrace that crappy first draft. This has helped a lot of great writers and other creators. You can always go back and make it better. Revise. Iterate. The first draft is just the start of the process. This idea helped me write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month, and even 110,000 words in my second participation in that month. If you fight with perfectionism, you’ll never reach that many words, but embracing the crappy first draft helps you achieve that.
- Frictionless blogging. Something I do to this day is write up a first draft of a blog post, and press publish without editing or worrying about how good it is. As soon as I publish, I go back and edit, revise, make it better. But hitting publish before I worry about any of this helps me get past perfectionism.
I go into more detail in the video, so please watch.
Embrace the idea of good enough, embrace the crappy first draft, and let go of your ideals. Perfectionism is the enemy of action, and done is better than perfection.
Reflect on whether perfectionism has been an obstacle for you, and how you’ve been able to let go of it in the past. Do any of the ideas in the video appeal to you?
Discuss this topic in Slack.