At the end of February, there was a confluence of activity here at Original Impulse. I wrote a vulnerable article for you. My web site, that I’ve been working on since October, went live. That caused my email to go down. Also, an RSS feed for my blog got triggered and started sending out blog notices to people who hadn’t heard from the blog since 2014. It had an old image from 2010.
All of this vulnerability and technical glitches caused a profound mortification in me. You know the type, the visceral, “Where can I hide?” feeling.
Luckily, I had the good fortune to speak with a dear friend the day of the clusterfluff. She said, This is true imperfection. This is not you having an experience and writing about it later. It’s real time, real imperfection.
This was the best thing she could say to me. She asked what was I had imagined would happen or what would it mean if the world saw that I am not perfect.
In theory, I know I am not perfect. But in business, I seek to execute my actions at a high level of, well, perfection. No typos, no glitches. I do what I say I will do and seek to do it well.
But this need for perfection is a joy killer and a creativity crusher. In my writing groups, and with my clients, I help them wrestle down the need to be perfect. To write or say things perfectly. To make sure their work is ‘good enough’.
While I understand and share this hope for ‘good’, I also know that perfection is the enemy of beginning. We don’t start that essay because we know we don’t have the words figured out exactly. We don’t initiate that difficult conversation because we don’t know what to say. We don’t start our business because we don’t know how to do all the steps well.
The act of making anything is deeply humbling. We bump up against our limits. We face our ignorance – our not knowing how to do something. We find that we need help.
But isn’t that all the best? Dumping the idea of perfection allows us to tap into our truest and richest humanity. We become someone who is trying something – how cool is that?! Someone connected to everyone else who has braved something! Someone who embraces their humanness by reaching out and asking for help.
If you only dare something that you can do perfectly, I invite you to try anyway. Write that imperfect story. Have that messy conversation. Make that completely wonky drawing.
Use me if you’d like as a reminder that you can and will survive the imperfections. Even if you put it out there and omg make a mistake, you will survive. I survived my launch glitches, and was even able to laugh about it.
What about you? Have you survived imperfect creative efforts? Share your experience below.