If It’s Worth Doing…

Always be a beginner at something.  Bill Buxton via Saul Kaplan

We need to get over what we were taught in school. Look at Google, everything is always in beta.  Conversation Agent via Robin Dickinson

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.  G.K. Chesterton via Lisa Boyce

When I read the above quotes, I feel myself physically relax, perfectionism fading away.

Because anything really worth doing, from parenting to marriage to career to friendship to dreams — we sometimes do rather badly.

Like I did this past week.  So badly that I wanted to quit.  Oh, so desperately.

Which is why when I heard Lisa Boyce quote G.K. Chesterton, it was a gift.

Source:  istockphoto

If we're doing things badly, maybe it means that we're doing things worth doing.

And we're in it.   In our lives, our relationships, our dreams. 

Be a beginner.
In Beta.
Doing things Badly.

Feel better?

Me too.

Send Perfectionism Packing

I've thought about this post for several days, but have put it off.

Ironic, but not surprising I suppose, given the topic is perfectionism.

As a child, there were so many things I did well, I could afford to be a perfectionist.  In high school it became a problem.  I almost didn't take AP American History.  I didn't take Calculus.  Nor would I take Econ because I feared I couldn't get an ‘A'.  I did get ‘A's in the classes I took, but in retrospect, a ‘B' in Calculus, rather than no calculus at all given my chosen career, probably would have been a decent trade.

Enter the workforce.

When I got to New York, I wanted to succeed so badly, I had to square off with my perfectionism, muscling through the fear.

And I had to learn a few tricks.  Like breaking things down into small enough pieces that I wouldn't be overwhelmed.  Or telling myself to spend just spend 5 minutes putting everything together that I'd need, and then I could go do something else.


Courtesy:  Sarah Jane Studios

When I do send perfectionism packing (and when I can't quite, I pull out a few tricks to pretend as if I have), I try more new things, and I learn more.

I can model for my children how to cope with perfectionism.

I get more accomplished because I procrastinate less.

I stop something I've started when I realize it's not worth finishing.

I am willing to date dreams, knowing I don't have to marry them.

Most importantly, I can welcome in my world.

Happily. Exuberantly.

With arms outstretched.

If you didn't feel the need to be perfect at a ‘thing', what would you try doing?

What dream would you like to date?

What are you currently working on that isn't worth finishing?

What tips do you have for outwitting perfectionism?

My husband who is trained as a scientist can break projects into very small, logical pieces — he is a superb peer mentor.  How can some of the men in our lives — fathers, brothers, sons, husbands, colleagues – mentor us?


Related Posts:

Living the dream. Life's a breeze. (Not.)

Janna Taylor: If You Get Defensive, You're Getting Close

What if Madeleine L'Engle Hadn't Dared to Dream?

Getting Back in the Saddle of Our Possibilities

Mum's the Word

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