How to move past perfectionism when you create

move past perfectionism

Oh, perfectionism. I have become quite fond of this part of my fear. It has kind of become this annoying little sister or brother, that I still love. Regardless.

It wasn't until I trained as a Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach that I even realized what perfectionism is and that, actually, I'm a raging perfectionist. (I even like the sound of the word, so I repeat it often in this post).

So many things fell into place for me once I could see myself in the patterns of a perfectionists behavior.

What is this fancy perfectionism-thing?

First of all, you have to know what perfectionism really is.

Perfectionism, in its essence, is your fear about what other people think of you.

It's the fear of never being enough.

The illusion that if you make everything perfect, so no one can put a finger on anything, then no one will see your shortcomings, your fear, and that you really don't know what the heck you're doing.

So you work harder, you stay longer, you criticize your own work (and often other people's), you keep changing and tweaking. And no matter how hard you work, and how many compliments you get, you don't believe it, because you know deep down, that it's not perfect. It could be better.

And how perfectionism plays out in the creative world, is

  • Never finishing the creative work you started.

  • Never beginning in the first place.

  • Comparing your journey to others journey and expecting to be as far ahead as they are

  • Misery during the process if you do charge through and persevere

  • And quitting

Liz Gilberts says:

Perfectionism is a serial killer. It’s the murder of all good things, like joy, grace, spontaneity, wonder, humility and it’s fear in high-heeled shoes. But it can trick you because to some people it seems like a virtue. It isn’t. It’s just fear.
— Liz Gilbert

So how do you move past perfectionism?

What first has to happen for you to be able to move past fear, is that you have to recognize that you're doing that thing, that "perfectionistic-thing".

Step one is awareness.

Then for me, the best strategy is to lower my expectations and go for "good enough".

Literally say the words out loud "it's not perfect, but it's good enough" and then press publish!

My favorite mind trick and the one that works best for me is taking on the attitude of just making for fun. I give myself permission to play and experiment. It's doesn't matter.

I can honestly say I wouldn't have picked up a paintbrush had I not had the attitude of painting just for fun. I'm not meant to be good at painting. I paint just for me. Because I enjoy the process of painting. Because I love colors.

I don't want to learn "how to paint". I just want to play. And then I have found a way to make unique blog post images for my blog.

This, my friend, is what creative living is. It qualifies. I'd even say it's the essence of living creatively. Because it's light and run on curiosity and joy.

You can totally do this too in your life.

To recap: 3 ways you can use to move past perfectionism when you create

  1. Awareness: you have to first pay attention to what is stopping you from doing the creative stuff you dream of.

  2. Lower your expectations: don't go for perfect, that ain't never going to happen, there is no such thing. Just do good enough. I promise you, it'll be enough.

  3. Do it just for fun! Seriously, lighten up. It's just a bit of creative work and it's not the end of the world. It's ok to have fun while you create something. And it's ok to play small and silly. It's ok that what we make doesn't revolutionize the world. We must create anyway