Perfection Stops Me From Starting

I’m learning something about myself in this whole goal setting of writing two blog posts a week.

  1. It’s not as hard as I imagine… once I get started.
  2. Getting over perfectionism is exhilarating.

I might have mentioned this before but I have 41 drafts sitting in my Posts file. Some of them need to stay there because, seriously, they’re not that great. Eventually when I take the time, some will land in the trash because they really aren’t worth the space they take up. But a few have some smart points and well-chosen words. However, they didn’t make it to publish mode because in my mind, they weren’t perfect.

Having a deadline of hitting publish on Mondays and Wednesdays forces me to be okay with not perfect.

I wonder if that’s our issue as adults.

Remember when we were in school? It didn’t really matter how perfect the paper was we just had to get it done and turn it in.

Not that I’m returning to pulling all-nighters and consuming copious amounts of caffeine but we did accomplish quite a bit in those days, even if it wasn’t perfect.

And there was great satisfaction with “done” — submitting work and marking it ‘COMPLETE.’

So what happens when we grow up into our adult life?

I feel like we drop into robotic mode. — Get up. Get the family going. Punch the clock.

We lose the challenging and inventive part of us to push through with some creative living. We stop pushing ourselves to accomplish something beyond ourselves.

We excuse ourselves with excuses:

  • I don’t have time to finish it now so why start?
  • I’m not sure where to start.
  • I don’t have what I need.

And this is where I’m learning I just have to get going.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Anonymous

How do we do this?

  • Set a time to work on it – In college it was saying no to another night of pizza and hanging with friends. I had to lock myself in a room and just pound it out. I have a friend who says, “There’s nothing like a deadline to get you going.” And it’s true. — Set a time to work on it even if it’s 15 minutes.  You’ll get more done in 15 minutes than 0 minutes.
  • Stick To It– Push through even if you’d rather take the easy way out and scroll Facebook or play “Wordscapes”.
  • Be okay with imperfection – Elizabeth Gilbert writes about this in her book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear:

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes, but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Years ago I had someone whom I love and admire say to me, “If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing.” Sadly, I took that idea far too literally. That mantra swirling in my head has stopped me from completing projects and sometimes even beginning. I was defeated even before I started.

Now this sweet soul, if they knew how those words have impacted me in not trying things and being creative would tell me, “Well… that’s not what I meant!” Because she is wonderfully creative, has accomplished much in her life and even though she isn’t famous in the world’s eyes, she is deeply loved and has made an impact far beyond herself and her years. All because she kept going, pushed through and didn’t let little hang ups stop her. I know she has completed imperfect work because I’ve seen it. And she was okay with it. She kept going and enjoyed the process of creating without the need for perfection.

Some of you might think, “Well, I’m not creative.” But in reality we are. It’s one of the ways we are made in the image of God.  He is a creative God and He made us creative people.

We also are made with a desire to become, grow and learn.  It can get buried in our day-to-day life — but don’t you let it!

Find some time to create, grow and learn something new. It’s exhilarating and not as difficult as we sometimes make it out to be. Half the battle is getting started… so let’s start today!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

~Rachel

Jump into the conversation:  

  • What stops you from meeting goals?
  • How do you like to create?
  • How do you get yourself going when you find yourself stuck?

4 thoughts on “Perfection Stops Me From Starting

  1. You should read the book “Have a New You by Friday” by Dr. Kevin Leman. He address the problem of perfectionism and how it keeps you from starting and/or completing tasks. Good book and a fun read. By the way, you are doing a great job of keeping up with your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son, Philip, and I were just talking about this last night during our bible study. I was commenting to him that I’m trying to retain myself to, ” just get started” and not over think what the process entails. This has helped me immensely in getting things done. We both struggle with perfectionism and procrastination and we came to the conclusion that Mary Poppins was right when she said,”Getting started is half done”. Thanks Rachel, for writing again. You are an insperation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree! Many times I’m like you and get bogged down in the “what if’s” and all the thoughts and details instead of getting at it and getting started! And yes, Mary Poppins has some good advice! 😉. Love her! Thanks for jumping in! Always love to hear from you! ❤️

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