Pen pals. Recycling expectations and Lab Coats. THIS is how we REBEL against perfection….
You might be familiar with them. Maybe they’re like whispers for you or like the distant cousins you only see every 4 years at another relative’s wedding. OR maybe the voice is more persistent, loud and nagging.
I’m talking about the ways perfection LIES to us. I shared these lies and why it’s time to tune out in a previous blog post [click here to read it].
But today I don’t want to talk about these pesky lies. I wanted to share some antidotes to perfection, a few of the tools I’ve used (still use) when that nagging voice pipes up or when I get the urge to pull off the highway for procrastination station.
Perfection and Creativity don’t mix.
#1 Trot down memory lane...
Make a list of at least 25 things you made, wrote, painted, problem solved or imagined in these past few months or last year. Remind yourself of all the ways you’ve expressed and shared your creativity. It’s a gentle alternative to saying in a snobby way “I told you so. You ARE creative. Perfection doesn’t know what it’s talking about”.
#2 Become penpals with your CREATIVITY (well I can’t promise IT will write back)
Write a letter of gratitude to your creativity. Some call it the muse or energy. However you prefer to greet it, thank “it” for visiting you, for stirring your imagination and for helping you make all those things (the list of 25 you just made *wink wink*!)
#3 Ditch the EXPECTATIONS
Make a list of all the unhelpful expectations you’re currently attaching to your creativity (this includes any projects in your business and just for fun ways you’re expressing your creativity - all of it). When we’re stuck in this mode of wanting to control every. single. outcome….well it’s a little hard, if not impossible altogether for creativity to sneak in. Ditch your list in the recycling bin and wipe your hands of those heavy unhelpful expectations.
#4 Mine for those gems in between
Perfection is so scarce and limited. So rigid and certain. It has a smug all or nothing attitude when it comes to creativity. This means when projects don’t exactly go as planned (the way perfection had it mapped out with all those expectations) we can miss out on what REALLY happened. Spend time reflecting and writing out, what you learned, how you felt during the process, list how you demonstrated creative confidence and who you helped through the project. Perfection doesn’t like to look at all these nooks and crannies.
Reflecting can also shift us back into a state of curiosity and possibility. We can think of opportunities and experiments to try out next time and appreciate our progress.
#5 CREEP past the start line
Write down everything you already know and have related to a new project you’re starting (all the information you’ve learned and gathered and all of the resources you already have in your office or at your fingertips). Next write down everything you don’t know yet and what you think you might need to complete the project. Review the lists and really focus in on what you already know and have and how you can start with that.
Start and find the rest of the answers along the way!
#7 Partner up in the rebellion
If procrastination is a sticking point for you, find an accountability buddy, friend, colleague or coach, you can check in with regularly about your projects. Each week you can cheer one another on and tally up all the ways you rebelled against perfection.
#8 Subtle but effective rebelling
Think of all the little everyday occurrences that happen and how you can use these as an opportunity to rebel against perfection. Like posting a photo on social media without editing or a filtering. Like hitting send or publish on something that’s been stuck in your drafts. Like giving yourself permission to take something from the incomplete pile and mark it done NOT because it’s polished to perfection, but because you know you’ve done your best.
#9 Get your lab coats READY…..
Try your ideas out + start experimenting
Maybe you want to be a writer so you experiment and start off with writing a blog post, one line a day or a short story instead of waiting for when you have the time or you’re ready to write a novel. Maybe you want to teach a course and so you experiment by hosting a Facebook Live or a one hour workshop to start instead of waiting until you have your course content created and videos recorded.
By experimenting we give ourselves the opportunity to see if we enjoy the process, how it feels and decide if we want to keep going or pivot and try a different experiment. Experiments are less overwhelming and give us a chance to start creating without all of the expectations. Experiments let us focus on the doing, the making, the creating in small and simple ways.
#10 MAKE YOUR OWN REBELLION LIST
What lies does perfection tell you? How do you rebel against it? Share in the comments below and let me know what tools are a part of your rebellion.