Stop trying to be perfect, strive to be done

Stop Trying To Be Perfect, Strive To Be Done

I suspect that the few posts I have on this uncomplete site are not the best, but they are done. I also suspect that there are thousands of people who want to start a blog and have not written a single word yet. I've finally decided to learn a lesson that I have been taught for years; Done is better than perfect. 

Why do we try to be perfect?

I have convinced myself that I should be proud of everything I put out into the world and if I am to be proud then it must be perfect. If I couldn't make it perfect I either wouldn't do it at all or never release it to the world. Truth is that I was never trying to be perfect, I have a paralyzing fear of failure. Ilene S. Cohen, a psychotherapist, notes that more specifically it is a fear of making a mistake. Are you just like me? Are you denying the world of your gift due to the fear of making a mistake? 


Who cares if you make a mistake?

I have identified my problem, a fear of making a mistake, but I was curious why I have that fear at all. As a child, I was often disciplined for asking disruptive questions. Playing sports, I was disciplined for breaking the rules even if by mistake.  As an employee, I was disciplined or fired when I made a big enough mistake. In my business, I lost clients when I made a mistake while delivering services. I'm sure there are more examples but my point is that I've made mistakes my whole life. Some of those mistakes I agree should have been disciplined but somewhere in that mess, I developed a fear of making mistakes. 

While the teacher, referee, boss, and client disciplined me because of my mistakes I don't think the lesson I was supposed to learn is to not make mistakes but not to make the same mistakes. Thanks to my teacher I learned how to get answers to my questions by being non-confrontational. Thanks to the referee I learned that I need to fully understand the rules to the game I play; I assume the referee was not trying to convince to stop playing the game. Thanks to my former bosses and unsatisfied clients, I know which skills I need to improve. My point is while they may have cared that I made a mistake, those mistakes were the only way to make me better. 

How to be done, not perfect.

While I am not an expert on this subject I have had success with overcoming the fear of failure with the use of strategies from experts I list below. I haven't found one thing that works every time so I rotate through them until I am moved to action. 

  • One of the many strategies Tony Robbins teaches is a result focused, purpose-driven, massive action plan. which ultimately is developing a mindset focused on achieving an outcome rather than fulfilling a to-do list. I rightfully fear I won't complete my ever-growing to-do list so it has been helpful for me to focus instead on completing outcomes one at a time. 
  • Focus accepting the now, celebrate the process you have already made and set a path to move forward. llene S. Cohen teaches that even if you do make a mistake the willingness to put yourself out there is in and of itself an accomplishment. 
  • Mel Robbin's book, The 5 Second Rule, has been surprisingly helpful. She discovered that simply counting down from 5 and taking action can free your mind from fear. Will Smith confirmed in an interview that fear grows stronger when you feed it time. By counting down from 5 and then taking action you eliminate the time needed for fear to take over.  


In Conclusion

I've spent too much of my life not doing what I am called to do because of the fear that I couldn't do it perfectly which was ultimately a fear of making a mistake. I have also realized that the mistakes I have made have only helped me to be stronger if I choose to learn from them. So going forward I will use as many strategies as it takes to overcome the fear of making a mistake. 

What do you think? Do you agree with the discoveries I have found? What is your experience with fear and perfection? Do you have some different strategies that help you to overcome that fear? Let me know in the comments below. 

Tyrone Bufkin is the founder of Tyrone Bufkin Enterprises and a life and business strategist devoted to helping you develop your entrepreneurial spirt in your career, startup, or small business. Tyrone's teaching and coaching style is transparently honest and inspiring while delivering actionable knowledge.


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