Being OK with Sucking

Let’s just get this out there: I am a huge perfectionist. Sometimes this has good results (attention to detail!). Sometimes it’s a problem.

The problem looks like procrastination. I would argue it’s not *actually* procrastination, but that’s how it appears to the outside world. Here’s how I would explain it:

When you’re a perfectionist you want to do a good job at everything. And if you can’t do a good job at it, you will wait until you are able to do it perfectly before you even begin. Maybe you don’t have enough time to do the job well. Maybe it’s something you’re just not very good at, and you want to get better first. In any case, you end up doing a lot of planning and thinking, but not a lot of doing.

Being OK with Sucking

One of my favorite writers, GK Chesterton, once wrote, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” I think what he meant is that we shouldn’t get so caught up in doing things perfectly. Oftentimes it’s better to do something poorly than to leave it undone.

One of the most difficult parts of my job is going to networking events. Every time I go to one I feel like I’m doing a terrible job connecting with people. I look around and see everyone else freely mingling and talking and laughing and trading business cards. I’m an introvert by nature, so I find myself looking for the exits when I’m in a big crowd. I’m lucky to have a business partner who’s a natural people person and makes new friends wherever he goes. For me, though, networking is a grind. After each event I usually feel I’ve somehow failed.

But I’m forcing myself to keep going, to keep trying to meet people. I’m “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” as the Navy SEALs say. My latest strategy has just been to accept that this is not one of my strengths and grade myself on an easier curve. Did I collect 20 business cards? No. But I went, and I stayed for an hour, and I talked to one person. I’m calling that a win.

Transitioning from Artist/Nerd to Business Owner has forced me into doing lot of things that I’m not particularly good at. But I’m learning that it’s not the end of the world if I do something non-perfectly. Most people don’t even notice (I’m my harshest critic). I still think there’s a lot of value to perfectionism, but sometimes you just need to get moving.

*In the spirit of this blog post, I’m not re-reading for spelling/grammar check. If you find something misspelled, please, email Rob. 

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