Ever have one of those mornings when you come across a Facebook status that just screams, “Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s it!” I had never heard of Anne Lamott until I came across a quote of hers circulating:
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction–and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.
How many of us are waiting for everything to be perfect before we start diving into that big, juicy creative life? Waiting for the stars to align, for the kids to grow up, for everything to be “just right” before we can move into the life we’ve always dreamed of…
Perfection is the killer of dreams. If you wait for everything to be perfect, chances are, you’re going to miss out on the rich, glorious experience of getting through the muck to arrive where you want to go. This lesson hit home with me during a workshop I attended a few years back. Dan Miller, author of “No More Dreaded Mondays” and “48 Days to the Work You Love” started on his path to becoming an author by publishing information on career transitions in a three-ring binder. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the information was valuable enough to create a demand. Dan started selling the binders online. Dan continued to refine his project until it became the book, “48 Days to the Work You Love.” Dan didn’t wait until everything was perfect–he shipped out his Office Depot binders and continued to find ways to improve. Before long, he had racked up two million dollars in sales. Dan inspired me to get moving on my dream of being a writer. I learned to sit my butt down in the chair and just write. It didn’t matter how messy the paragraphs were, I just had to WRITE. Perfection could come later, if at all. As a result, I ended up with six books and four more in the works. Did I achieve perfection? Not by any means. But I finished. I shipped. And I continue to refine and learn. If you look at someone’s perfect “ending” you’re going to put up roadblocks as a result and sabotage your own dreams. Put the blinders on. Focus on your own pace on the journey. Focus on the big, juicy passionate dream you have bubbling inside. And for crying out loud, let it rip. As for getting away from the dance of perfection, Anne Lamott offers the solution:
Here’s how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often.
Let go of perfection. Start living NOW.