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Paralyzed By Perfection?

Here’s how to break this defeating cycle.

 Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

Because I have struggled with my confidence my whole life, I have paralyzed myself countless times as a result. I can’t even remember anymore how many times I sat staring at an email, writing it, re-writing it, thinking about it and not sending it… not sending it because I was afraid it wasn’t perfect. I would think, it could probably be better, so I should probably not send it.

This challenge wasn’t limited exclusively to emails. This issue arose with ideas I wanted to pitch at work or to clients or even pictures I wanted to put up on my social media. The feeling of not having something perfect would stop me from moving forward on so many occasions in my life.

Thankfully, as I have learned how to create my confidence daily, I have learned how to fight back against this evil predator known as perfection. I have learned how to manage and successfully overcome the monster that once had me frozen. I now own the mantra that Done is better than Perfect.

Writing my book, Confidence Creator, was one of those big learning moments. For months I wrote, then I brought an editor on and together we created what seemed like a fantastic book. Then I began the self-publishing process and it was suggested to me countless times to have a spelling check done and have another editor take a pass before publishing. When you are concerned about something and have any level of trepidation, it is almost as if everyone knows and wants to prey upon your obvious fear. When finances are tight, there isn’t a lot of room for extra costs and this was exactly my situation. So, if I was going to have someone join the team to help take on additional work, it meant I wouldn’t be spending that money in another area. Creating your own company and realizing how difficult it can be, and how costly to second guess yourself, you begin to force yourself to make tough decisions. This is what started me down the new path, Done is better than Perfect.

The editing and spell-check area wasn’t the only one that was an issue. When I came up with the name, Confidence Creator, so many people told me that it was a big risk and maybe I should hire someone that does this for a living. If I had hired someone to do everything that these loving people suggested to me, I can tell you this, my book would not have been my book — I would be broke and my book would not be out yet.

Once the cover image and writing was complete and I showed a few people, I was told that the writing on the cover was a few centimeters too high and needed to be lowered. Yet again, another change that would cost more money and take more time. At some point in business and in life you need to begin to ask yourself what the cost is of your time. Continuously going back and forth on things and asking everyone what they think will slow you down to a snail’s pace. One thing I know for sure is speed to market in business is critical in success. I slowly stopped asking others what they thought.

I began to realize that this was my book and I didn’t want to wait a few years to launch it and I didn’t have unlimited resources behind me so I needed to make decisions on my own and from my gut which is exactly what I did. Things did not go perfectly, but they are definitely a reflection of me, and everyone that reads my book gets that. That reinforces to me today that moving forward with my ideas and flaws creates something unique and different and I like that.

Are there errors in the book? Yes. Could I have swapped a few words around and maybe it would have been better? Possibly. Is the cover perfect and perfectly balanced? Not sure about that but I like it. Do any of these issues make this book less than? NO.

If anything, my book is the most real thing I have ever created, flaws and all, just like me. I am also so proud that I wrote it. Maybe it would have been grammatically perfect if a ghostwriter wrote it, but then it wouldn’t be the real me. Maybe if I hadn’t narrated the audible version of the book there wouldn’t have been errors. However, there wouldn’t be the inflection and raw emotion you get from someone sharing their truth with the world. Taking the risk to create allows you to be the real you instead of hoping a “professional” can do a strong version of a would-be you.

Taking a chance on yourself and deciding that done is better than perfect will free you from holding yourself back–a mindset that I used to share but no longer do.

I recently created an accountability partner sign up on my website to help people stay focused on creating confidence after they finish my book. I work for myself and my team is me so I don’t have anyone to check my work. The other day a friend sent me a note to let me know I had a spelling error in the daily email. I laughed!

I let her know that while I appreciated her sending it, I also wouldn’t be fixing it because I am creating every day on my own, and for right now–and probably forever–that means there are going to be plenty of quirks and flaws that are not the traditional way. What it also means is I am stepping into my power, owning who I am, flaws and all, and loving every minute of it.

One of the best ways I have learned to create my confidence is to move forward with my ideas knowing that done is better than perfect. Had I waited for perfect, you still wouldn’t be reading my book.

What can you move forward with today?

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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