My First Book
I’ve always been a writer. At the age of 7 I wrote a book for my mother for Mother’s Day. She’d been extremely sick and in the hospital. I wanted to let her know I loved her and was thinking about her.
The words were no problem. Did I say I loved to write?
It was the pictures. I agonized over them. Because I was using the universal book publishing tool,the crayon,I knew there couldn’t be any mistakes…you can’t erase crayon.
Fast Forward Ummmm 25 Years
I continued to write throughout my school and college years. Most of it was journaling,but there were occasionally short stories.
It was Christmas and I’d written a poem for my parents about my three nephews. Each stanza captured their personalities at that time. I was very proud of the poem,but how can you just give a poem to your parents for Christmas?
I explored having black and white drawings made of the kids. My vision was having quick sketches done and framed in black frames. When I started researching artists,I couldn’t find anyone I liked. So I decided to do it myself.
The Perfection Demon Returns
I bought the paper and pencils. I pulled out three pictures of the kids I felt I could use as models. Then I started to sketch what I saw.
The Perfection Demon that haunted my 7 year old project returned. It fought with me the entire time. It screamed in my ear non-stop how awful my pictures were. It said things like,“how could I ever think of drawing. I wasn’t an artist. Who was I to think I was. And you’re going to give these to your parents? Ha!”
I continued despite the demon’s warnings.
The end results weren’t perfect,but they were certainly good enough.
Seth Godin has some thoughts about being “good enough.” He says:
Good enough,for those that seek perfection,is what we call it when it’s sufficient to surpass the standards we’ve set. Anything beyond good enough is called stalling and a waste of time.
That’s exactly what happened with my pictures. They definitely surpassed what I had as standards for what I could produce. If I’d worked on them for 6 months trying to get them prefect,I would have missed the opportunity to deliver them on Christmas.
Are You Striving For Perfection or Good Enough
It’s easy to get caught in this trap in life and your business. No one wants to look foolish. So you work and work and work at something maybe never getting it out there.
What would happen if you put it out there when it was good enough rather than perfect? How would you feel?
I’m sure there would be anxiety. Let’s look at the benefits of putting something out there that’s good enough and see if it reduces the anxiety.
Benefit #1:It gets out there!
When you try to be perfect,your work never gets out there. That’s why everyone has written a book,but never gotten it to print or had a perfect business idea and never took it to market. When you focus on being good enough,you’re much more likely to move forward.
Benefit #2:If there are mistakes,it’s okay.
Because you put your work out there that’s good enough,you know there’s room for growth. Therefore if there are mistakes or enhancements you want to make,you’re much more likely to come out with “version 2.” Your work is always in process. There’s some freedom in that.
Real example:my first round of business cards had a spelling mistake on them. Because I was trying to get them done for a trade show,I didn’t catch it. When I did,I used the mistake as a talking point. It helped so many people relax when they talked to me. It was amazing. That leads to benefit #3.
Benefit #3:You show you’re human.
We are faced with so many airbrushed versions of reality that when you put something out there that was your good enough you’re saying,I’m human and therefore I want to learn. As you learn more,you revise. As you share your learnings you help others.
Treasures They’ll Keep
Both my first book and my poem and pictures are things my parents treasured and not because they had to,but because I did my best and grew a little more with each project. They didn’t critique,but loved what I did. It’s those moments that inspire me today to take risks,be good enough and continue my personal growth.
Are you comfortable with putting out “good enough”work? Yes or no? Love to hear your thoughts.
Photo credit:Children’s Book Review via Flickr under creative commons license