How Perfection Paralysis Almost Crippled Me
Have you ever heard of perfection paralysis? It’s where you’re so consumed with having everything perfect that you end up doing nothing at all. Self-doubt, comparison, and fear, take over and shake you into not finishing your script or giving up on your IG caption simply because it wasn’t as sassy as your bestie’s.
I know this feeling, as it can happen when I write.
I have about eight blog posts parked in my draft box that I haven’t published yet because of perfection paralysis. I still need to tweak, proof read, and make sure I’m being true to the values of MyGradsGetJobs. I want the posts to be timely, but every time I wait, the moment passes. (Do you know that when Nicki Minaj dropped her last album, I had a killer post to coincide with it, but perfection paralysis got a hold of me, resulting in that post still sitting in my drafts folder today, waiting for a new controversy to put Nicki in the news again?)
Anyway, I’ve had enough, so last week I unburdened myself and published A 3-Step Action Plan for Making Great Things Happen This Year. Even though I’d read the post several times in draft form, after I published it and read it on my phone again, I noticed a typo. Then another. Then ANOTHER! Three typos. Did you read that? THREE.
I was mortified.
My inner terrorist started her negative talk: “Why did you rush this post? You should have sent it to a friend to proofread first. What makes you think you can write book if you can’t even write a blog post?”
Yup, that witch was on a tear. But before one more negative thought could come in, I started receiving emails and texts from my readers—really, really nice messages saying how this was my best post yet, or how empowering it truly was. And would you believe not one single email or text highlighted my mistakes?
My friend, Freda Hobbs, who was recently in Forbes Magazine, sent me a nice note, to which I immediately replied: “Thank you! I appreciate that. Now I just need to practice some self-forgiveness!” Freda promptly wrote back, “I didn’t even notice the typos. So, yes, practice forgiveness, because all I got was value.”
WOW. Freda only saw value, not my mistakes.
I received another email from Bryce Zabel, veteran TV writer and former President of the Television Academy, who not only gave me encouragement, but expressed how he used my concept of “showing up” in his own work:
I may be enjoying your writing as much as your grads! Today’s post really caught me. My most recent book Once There Was a Way: What if The Beatles Stayed Together? literally pins the alternative survival of the group on the “Show Up” concept, where, despite irritations with each other, the Beatles still made the effort to show up for each other …
Glad to see you doing this. Keep it up!
Flaws and Vulnerabilities
I could have been paralyzed by perfection and let the message of taking action stay in my head, or I could show up and express what I know to be true. I’m so glad I went forward, flaws and all! I hope you can, too. I find that true connection happens when we expose our flaws and vulnerabilities, and now I feel even more connected to you my readers.
So, with that, I’d love to receive a little help. I need to get to that drafts folder and finish more posts. Which ones would help you most? Email me and let me know!
The Successful Email Etiquette of Mark Cuban, Ari Emanuel, and Aaron Sorkin
My Evolving Perspective On #metoo (this one has been in draft for months. It’s a thorny issue. Can you tell I’m a little scared to send?)
How a Simple Tweet Landed this MyGrad Her First Job in Hollywood