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Captain’s Log: Perfectionism

LIFE

Sunday afternoon, 3:30pm

I’ve been ruminating on this quote from @inspiredtowrite on Instagram:

“Sneaky ways perfectionism shows up for creators: not creating until you have an entirely free day. Never marketing because you ‘don’t know how’. Never creating because you don’t have the right equipment/education/space. Never starting an online platform to share. Never talking about your art because you don’t think you do it justice. Perfectionism will get in your way at every hurdle.”

I honestly hadn’t thought of myself as a perfectionist until this week. Ask anyone who knows me well and they would probably laugh at this, knowing me from the outside as a true perfectionist. But inside my head, I just feel like I’m being thorough when I research a thousand different marketing strategies, or research different copywriting techniques, or revisit a design for the 10,000th time to tweak the tiniest thing.

I have often fallen into the trap of perfectionism without even knowing it, but now that I’m recognizing perfectionism as the sneaky little weasel it really is, I see it everywhere.

For instance, I’ve been struggling with my content plan because I’m worried I’m not creating content that’s valuable to my ideal client. I worry that I don’t really know who my ideal client is. But the fear and anxiety behind “not knowing” isn’t real — it’s perfectionism. It’s a lie that keeps me spinning in circles when I actually do know the truth.

This makes me think of Brianna Wiest’s work and her latest book I’m reading, The Mountain is You. She writes about self-sabotaging behaviors, many of which I’m guilty of. But about perfectionism she writes:

“Perfectionism holds us back from showing up and trying, or really doing the important work of our lives. This happens because when we are afraid of failing, or feeling vulnerable, or not being as good as we want others to think we are, we end up avoiding the word that is required to actually become that good. We sabotage ourselves because it is the willingness to show up and simply do it, again and again and again, that ultimately brings us to a place of mastery.

{…}

The truth is that we actually do not accomplish great feats when we are anxious about whether or not what we do will indeed be something impressive and world-changing. We accomplish these sorts of things when we simply show up and allow ourselves to create something meaningful and important to us.”

I care deeply about ideas, creativity, showing up to your calling, and making it all look and feel really, really good. If you’re reading this, I can only assume you care deeply about those things, too. So rather than worry about whether or not what I’m writing is impressive and world-changing, I’m going to lean into the curiosity I have around helping you take one next step in brainstorming, building, and branding your inspired ideas.

I’m going to show up to the task of proving to you that I am stoked about your idea and whether it’s a book or a bakery, I want to continue showing you what I’m learning about design and branding so you can make progress with your own — perfectionism be damned!

~

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