BETTER DONE THAN PERFECT!
As a chronic victim of perfectionism, this is one of my favourite ‘mantras’. I only discovered it a couple of years ago – it was a total game-changer and is now something I tell myself on a regular basis. So often we procrastinate and don’t end up doing or finishing the things we know we really should be doing (usually ‘putting something out there’ – marketing or creating anything for public consumption), because we worry we’ll get it wrong in some way, or that people will judge us if what we produce isn’t perfect.
I don’t know about you, but I often have things I’ve been working on ‘behind the scenes’ and intending to do for several months, but have never actually put out there because I’m constantly tweaking and worrying they’ll not be good enough.
The simple facts are… Something finished will bring you at least some benefit. Something unfinished will bring you no benefit whatsoever. It is not a binary choice between ‘perfect’ and ‘sh*t’. It’s perfectly acceptable to put something out there that’s perhaps not as perfect as you wanted it to be, but is still ‘good’ or even ‘amazing’.
When perfectionism starts to gnaw at you and tell you it’s not good enough, remember that each time you put something out there, it’s not set in stone and can never be changed, updated or removed. You can always tweak and improve it later.
Also remember that NO ONE is doing everything perfectly – I honestly can’t think of one single aspect of my business that’s EXACTLY working how I want it to right now. That’s the truth! I have lots of ideas about how I can and should improve almost every element of my business. That’s just the way it is – as soon as you update one thing, you realise another is out of date or you get an idea or learn something to improve it. It’s an ongoing process.
You will be your own harshest critic, and I guarantee that what you consider ‘not perfect’ is still pretty bloody brilliant. If you’re a perfectionist (which most of us photographers are!) then you’ll probably never get it ‘perfect’ anyway as you judge yourself by such harsh standards. You might have analysed it with a fine-toothed comb but other people won’t – they just won’t look at it in even nearly as much detail as you have done. So just get it out there. You can always improve on it later.
People who are successful aren’t those who are perfect or who embrace perfectionism, they’re just the ones who start by taking imperfect action and continue to keep taking action when most people feel too scared to take any action at all.
I’ll leave you with this ace quotation from Ira Glass: “If you don’t feel embarrassed about your launch, you launched too late”. So, better done than perfect – what imperfect thing can you put out there this week that might not be exactly as you want it, but that will move the needle forward just a touch?
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