Written by: Anna Vogel, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
So I admit it. I'm a perfectionist in many ways, and there's almost no limit to how long I can prepare, plan, and practice. In my mind, there's always a voice saying: "It's alright, but you can do better." This voice is super helpful for learning and continually improving, but it's not very helpful for releasing stuff I create. No matter if it's a course, a song, a podcast, or a talk, there will ALWAYS be ways to make it better (and that's the cool thing about creating - there's no limit to how far you can go), which means that I won't release anything if the aim is perfection.
So in the last ten years, I've changed strategy. I realized it was better to put my work out there, sharing my process, going through the whole vulnerability process, let it grow, and get some feedback. After that, I could go back to the drawing table if I wanted to, upgrade, and make changes for the next release. Something that entrepreneurs and innovation consultants have known for years. "Launch and iterate." "Start before you are ready." Yup, I think you've heard the quotes before.
So WHY is this so important?
Number 1. Something happens when you release your work, and it meets the user, audience, or whoever is the recipient of what you do. You will get feedback. Valuable information on how you can move forward. You might even (yes, this IS the possibility you as a perfectionist certainly didn't think of) find that people like/love/learn from what you share, that you HELP people with sharing your work (even if you didn't do the last two percent you thought were important...)
Number 2. You give release panic a kick in the butt.
It's not unusual that JUST the second before you release something, you get the idea that it's not good enough. Why? Because onur brains are there to protect us from danger. Showing your creation is like holding up big warning signs (in neon and with sound effects) for the protective brain. Fear kicks in. Will people like it? (Will people like ME?). Will they buy it? (Am I still valuable/part of the group?). It doesn't necessarily mean that your work is not ready. It's your brain doing what it's supposed to do - informing you of all potential danger.
Number 3. Perfection is boring.
Yup, this might be my very personal opinion. But being human is a fun, messy, confusing, diverse, and non-perfect experience. And I believe that when we show the human parts of ourselves, it makes connecting to other people easier. I see myself in you when you share your work in progress or share your process.
And a little note for the perfectionists out there. You might worry that you will suddenly release sloppy work into the world by starting before you feel ready. Don't worry. Aiming for perfection and aiming for quality are two different things. When you strive for quality, you can still come to a point when it's good enough. On the other hand, perfectionism makes us feel that we are never ready to share our work with the world!
So what would you share with us if you knew it didn't have to be perfect? What value would you bring to the world?
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