Is done really better than perfect? How perfectionism could be holding you back from your creative potential.

I hear this quote all the time “done is better than perfect” and I have always disagreed strongly with this statement. There is no way I am putting something out in the world unless its perfect! Have I always been like this? I don’t think so, maybe somewhere deep down these tendencies have always lurked in me but I think they became much more obvious when I started my own business. I suddenly had to constantly be putting my work out there in front of clients and total strangers on the internet, when I was quite happy laying low and flying under the radar. Plus, people on the internet can be mean!

When I started out Instagram was all about the perfectly curated grid and that appealed to me so much as I could really over think and over analyse every decision I made before I posted anything. Things are a little different now thank goodness insta grids have become more relaxed and real which I love seeing in other peoples feed but its too late for me I’m afraid I have been conditioned to obsess over the grid which I still do to some degree even now in 2024.

When working for clients unfortunately you can’t really take the “done is better than perfect” route either as, well, they are paying your bills and expecting that you provide them with top quality work that you promised, so when can you apply this statement? OR should you apply this statement?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and as mentioned above I have always been strongly in the camp of perfection but as I look back at all the things I haven’t started over the years because I didn’t think I could execute them perfectly I am starting to think this perfectionism thing might be a foe and not the friend I thought it was.

I was always under the impression that being a perfectionist would be a good quality, I have high standards there is nothing wrong with that surely. That’s right there is nothing wrong with having high standards and to stand out in todays very saturated world of product photography you must have a high standard of work or you will just fade into the background. I am sure there are times when the qualities of perfectionism can work in your favour and be very motivating but when those standards stop you from doing things, stop you from moving forward and stepping into the person you want to be that’s when things take a turn.

How do I know all this? Well, let’s just say that perfectionism has stopped me from doing things a time or two throughout this journey. I have had projects that I have wanted to get out in the world, there have been periods where I have gone all in and then there have been other moments that I have given up and decided to forget about it altogether. I have had ideas that I thought were great at the time then I sat on them so long someone else created them. I have procrastinated my way through many projects and tasks over the years because the idea of creating something that is not exactly how I imagine it is just too much for me.

I want things to be prefect so I burry myself in the details of how I can make that happen instead of just doing to work that needs to be done to get it finished. I have been working on my mindset around this a lot lately and I am here to tell you I still have projects in the pipeline and they WILL make it out into the world because although I think I will always strive for perfection I am also seeing how that doesn’t help me in every situation. It gets to the point when you have to decide that some temporary discomfort is well worth it to see yourself achieve what you said you would. Time goes by so fast as it is and the idea of looking back in a year to see that I never achieved those things is more painful to me than any discomfort that I experience in the process.

So where does all this come from? For me I would say my childhood and beliefs that were installed in me when I was younger but that is a whole can of worms we won’t be opening today, I think that is safe to say it has to do with a fear or failure and a focus on failure rather than success. It is not that I want to fail, quite the opposite. I want to be successful, but if you are so scared to fail then you don’t put yourself out there and take the steps that are required to make you stand out.

Another saying that I do love “what if I fail? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” I love this because it is so true, we so often focus on the negative when really, we have just as much chance of success and imagine how it would feel when we do succeed, amazing!

Going forward I am going to use these perfectionist tendencies to my advantage, I do believe that there is nothing wrong at all with having high standards and that will always be the case for me but I also don’t want to let those high standards stop me from experimenting and trying things that might lead to something else amazing. And if I fail, then so what? There are many major lessons to be learnt from failure, lessons that will only make you come back stronger and more knowledgeable. Take it from someone who has regularly been trying to step out of her comfort zone, after the first time, it gets easier and after a while you don’t even give it a second thought (I’m not quite at this stage yet, I still give it a few thoughts) The first step is the hardest but once you see life outside the comfort zone you won’t want to look back.

So, in answer to the question “Is done better than perfect?” I would now say in most cases YES!! Being done allows you to move forward, to move on and keep traveling in an exciting direction, it opens up opportunities that you may have previously missed and it leads you down paths that you may not have otherwise discovered. In a previous blog post I mentioned that my word of the year was adventure and letting go of these old habits is one big adventure that I can already feel is leading somewhere pretty special. Once you stop resisting the flow you get carried off to a world of new and exciting opportunities. Don’t miss the boat!




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