Listen to the audio or read below for the transcript. This episode is 11 minutes long.
Happy Tuesday, lovely! I’m Andreea, your host here on The Introvert That Could Podcast. Every episode is a mix of tips on productivity, time management, and how to move forward when you’re stuck, with a sprinkle of motivation and a side of relevant personal stories. I want you to have all the tools and support you need to face the challenges of being an introvert and take action, because without action, there are no results. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to episode 2, which is such a good example of what I’m going to be talking about today. You’ll see why in a minute.
The big topic I’ll cover in a series of episodes is “action preventing thoughts“, those tiny little bastards that we think are true and keep us from going after our goals. I have a list of 4 most common ones, and those are:
- “I’m not ready yet”
- “I don’t know how”
- “It will take too long”
- and today’s topic, “It’s not perfect”.
“It’s not perfect” is usually related to either:
- the time in your life, “this is not the right time“
- the environment (my usual excuse was “the house needs to be clean before I sit down and write a blog post“)
- or the result itself (“this is not good enough to be out into the world, no one will like it“).
“It has to be perfect” is an impossible rule.
Impossible rules are self-imposed requirements that keep us from taking action, because they can never be fulfilled.
I’m here to tell you, it will never be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be, nothing is. Perfectionism is just a form of procrastination. If you wait for stuff to be perfect, you’ll never get anything done.
But let’s talk about each of those 3 aspects, one by one.
The time in your life
There’s a quote by Tony Robbins I love that says:
“Your biggest problem is you think you shouldn’t have them”.
The circumstances in your life will never be perfect, you can do your best, but you will always have some problems. They change with the seasons, but you will always have some. And think about it, you don’t plan everything that happens to you, and somehow, you make it work. Children, new jobs, new people, new projects, some of them appear unannounced in your life and you make space for them, no matter what’s going on. Why not do the same with something you want to happen? Let me give you some examples.
- After we moved on the boat, I considered I already have too many things going on in my life and I don’t have enough time to take care of my weight loss. Result? I gained a lot of weight, while watching my life changing continuously but never giving me the perfect time. Until I called it out for what it was, an excuse, and I made it work.
- Moving on to a second example, a few years ago, one of my dogs was attacked by another dog at the park, and had surgery and a slow recovery. It was so bad, that I fainted on one of the vet appointments when she had the wounds checked. And if you know me at all, I love my dogs like they’re my babies, so it was a difficult time. However, before it happened I decided to start an exercise programme and I kept my promise even if the circumstance was far from ideal. I used to do my workouts in silence, while Leona was resting and schedule my rest day to fit well with vet appointments and work days.
- And last example, let’s go back to school years, when we all knew that we have just one job – to get through our exams, no matter what happens. When I was 16 years old, my dad got sick with stomach cancer. Everyone expected me to start doing poorly in school and get lower grades. When he died, I was right in the middle of some important tests, and I got A’s in all of them. Why? It was probably Mom who said this, and it’s a belief that’s been serving me my whole life, that I have no control over my circumstances, in that case I had no control over the outcome of the illness, all I could do is stay focused on my path because each day happens only once. I sometimes imagine how different my life could have been if I didn’t keep my eyes on the prize.
If you fight reality, you’ll always lose.
If you constantly wish things were different than they are, you might just stay stuck forever and create unnecessary suffering for yourself. If you expect life to be perfect, you create an impossible rule and you’ll always be disappointed, because it will never be perfect.
Raise your hand if you procrastinate by cleaning the house too. I used to do that a lot. Yeah, it would be great if the home was clean all the time, it’s known that we’re less creative in cluttered environments, but you’re adding one more unnecessary requirement to your success. You’re making it harder for yourself to take action.
After we moved on the boat, I realized that if I want to get anything done, I have to let go of some of my expectations. It’s never fully clean on the boat. I don’t have a desk space. There’s only one small room in which we all spend all the time. Alin works from home and has daily meetings, so I rarely get uninterrupted, silent time to work for more than 30 minutes. It’s far from ideal, but I make it work.
I realized that if a clean house is a requirement to be able to do work on my online business, I’m delaying success. I can now write a blog post even if I need to find the only clean corner where I can sit. I can shoot a video even if I have to push everything aside to make space for the camera. I don’t care and that’s because I have a bigger purpose.
I could also use the boat as an excuse not to exercise. I have just enough space to lay down the Yoga mat, however the ceiling is not high enough for me to extend my arms, so I need to modify a lot of exercises. Still, that doesn’t stop me. When your reasons why are more powerful than the reasons why not, you find a way.
And let’s talk about that for a moment.
When it comes to purpose, I always look around and realize how small my problems are. And I think about one of my favourite humans in the world, which is Bill Gates, and I imagine him waking up every morning with passion and purpose. He’s like “let’s find a cure for Polio today”, not “oh no, my office is not organized, I can’t solve the world problems like this”. Still, I’m sure he has his own problems, we all do, but that doesn’t mean anything.
The end result
When it comes to creative projects, you will always have the fear of not being good enough. It almost sounds like a legit reason not to do it.
I remembered the mantra that got me to start my online business in the first place:
Done is better than perfect.
I’m not a walking quote machine and most of the time, my words are neither beautiful nor inspiring in any way. Sometimes the best I can come up with is mediocre, to say it kindly.
But I still have stuff to say, even if it won’t change your day. It might, though. It might be exactly what you need to hear, even if it doesn’t sound extraordinary.
If you’re holding yourself from putting your stuff out into the world because it’s not A+ work, I’m telling you, someone else with the same idea but B- work is about to steal your thunder. Yours might be better, but if you won’t let the world see it, it doesn’t really exist.
One of the best ways to get out of the funk of “it’s not going to be good enough”, is change the focus from you, to the person who will benefit from the result. If you saw someone drowning, would you care if your lifeboat looks a bit rusty? Or would you still rush to save them? Also, do you think that they care that your boat is not perfect or they just want to be saved?
While writing this episode, both myself and one of the dogs were sick, I was interrupted very often and I knew that my voice, most likely, won’t be fully recovered when I record. But it was a topic requested by one of my friends, so I focused on her and her needs, and got it done. Hopefully, my voice is not that annoying.
And before I move on, I wanna say just one more thing. Us humans sometimes forget that we don’t have forever to wait around. Yes, we choose to live our lives without thinking about it, but we’re all going to die one day. And yes, we choose to think it’s going to be when we’re 80, but it might be today or tomorrow. And when you see it like that, perfection becomes irrelevant. What are you leaving behind? What’s your legacy?
Ok, let’s recap.
- You have no control over your circumstances and life will never be perfect. Expecting that to happen creates a requirement impossible to fulfil. And you’ll never move forward.
- Done is better than perfect.
- And when unsure, focus on serving others.
Before we wrap it up, spend a moment to see if you can recognize any of the thoughts around perfectionism in your own patterns. Can you take action even if your circumstances, environment or creative project are not perfect yet? And I’ll leave you with the quote we started with, “Your biggest problem is you think you shouldn’t have them”.
This was it for this episode, but if you want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Facebook and Instagram. But the best thing you can do is sign up for the Life Lesson Letter, the weekly email I send out every Thursday with new content and insider-only freebies and details. Sign up now and you’ll get instant access to all available goodies, including the latest PDF “From overwhelm to taking action: 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your to-do list and get things done“. Just go to coachmeamazing.com/lifelessonletter
Thanks so much for being here and I’ll catch you on the next one! Have an amazing day!