I am not a perfectionist. People think I am because I present well, and I care, but I am not a perfectionist.
When I started planning my business, and was in the initial start-up phase, I very quickly realised that being a perfectionist was going to hold me back from creating the business of my dreams. The perfectionist in you is the person who spends two days just on choosing the font colour for their website (been there) only to still not be satisfied. It's the voice in your head that says there is no way in hell that you can start an Instagram page until you have had professional photos taken (done that). It's the florist who re-makes a bouquet of flowers over and over and over again, just to get a sunflower peaking out at the right angle (because people really notice these things… ).
Perfectionism is a waste of time.
BUT more than that, it’s an excuse. The ugly side of perfectionism, that we don't often want to admit, is that we are using it as an excuse to not do the things that we want to do in life. It seems so justified doesn't it? It's the perfect crime against your dreams.
"Oh I care too much, I'm too much of a perfectionist to be able to create a piece of artwork" is code for, "I don't want to make a fool of myself and create something that is mediocre, so I'd rather just never try".
The truth is, you have to create a lot of mediocre stuff, in order to create the magnificent stuff. No one is born perfect, no one who we look up to as incredibly talented started out that way. What do Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan and Leonardo Da Vinci have in common? They worked, and worked, and worked to become the person that they are known as today. They were not born stars, and none of them would have achieved their level of notoriety without the years of work that came beforehand.
The truth is, the people who are willing to be mediocre, and still show up day in and day out to work on their craft, are the people who are most likely to achieve perfection.
Ed Sheeran once said that creating is like going camping. When you go to a cabin and you open the tap, the water runs brown and sludgy. You don't cancel your trip though. You allow the water to run until eventually it runs clear.
When you start anything for the first time, regardless of whether you are gifted or not, it will be like brown sludgy water. But over time, as you keep producing, eventually it will lighten, and get clearer until you get to the point where your water is running clear most days.
After I wasted an incredible amount of time perfecting the smallest of details on my website, I realised that I had to get over myself and launch my damn business. If I kept fussing over every minuscule detail, I would never be satisfied, I would never launch, and there would be no chance of me living my dream of running a successful business. Being a perfectionist was holding me back.
Where in your life are you using perfectionism as an excuse to not go after your dreams? If you want to be perfect at something, you have to do the work. You have to draw the pictures, write the blog posts, sew the clothes that you are not happy with, and keep working on your craft. For me, it was making the bouquets when I didn't know what I was doing or they weren't as beautiful as they could have been. It took hundreds of bouquets of flowers for me to get the hang of arranging and really know my style, and now I am known for it. You have to show up and do the messy work, over and over again.
I hope this post was useful. I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on perfectionism, so please get in touch!
Love Coco xx