Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
I’ve spent countless hours this year researching the ins and outs of blogging. I’m subscribed to over 30 blogs including how to blog blogs, how to be a better writer blogs, marketing blogs, self-improvement blogs, and travel blogs.
I’ve brainstormed ideas for my own blog and reiterated hundreds of times. I even hired a blogging and storytelling consultant from England to help refine my ideas.
I wanted my blog to be PERFECT.
Truth is, this isn’t the first time I’ve acted like this. My closest buddies from elementary school started a nickname for me years ago that they still use to this day: they call me Mr. Perfect.
In Grade 1, I kept my books stacked in a perfect pyramid-shaped pile in the upper-left corner of my desk. If a friend pushed a book one hair-width while I wasn’t looking, I knew about it.
For my 10th birthday I received money that had been folded into a greeting card. I hated that the bills were creased, so I put them into the middle of a fat dictionary for three months. When they were perfectly flat and crisp, I hid the cash in my super-secret hiding place: a jewellery box for little girls in my closet.
These days, my apartment is neat and tidy, my finances are in order, my clothes for work are ironed, my emails are organized into folders, I correct my buddies’ grammar and punctuation on our WhatsApp group chat, and up until last week, I was treating the launch of this blog with Mr. Perfect gloves.
My plan was to launch my blog on January 1st, 2016, but Andrew had other ideas.
On November 30th, I sent the link for my not-yet-finished blog to a few friends for their feedback and suggestions. One of the critics was Andrew, a buddy who still refers to me as Mr. Perfect. He’s also a self-proclaimed marketing expert and entrepreneur.
After offering me his critique, he started ‘Following’ me on Twitter. I had a Twitter account that was linked to my blog, but my Twitter profile wasn’t set up yet. I didn’t even know how to use Twitter yet. It was on my ‘to-do’ list for December. But Andrew didn’t care about my plan. He sent out the following “Tweet” to his 900+ Twitter followers:
“No!” I panicked. My heart raced. I had a hashtag? Shit! If someone clicked on that hashtag , would they be directed to my incomplete Twitter profile? Would they then stumble onto my not-yet-perfect blog? Shit! This wasn’t part of my plan! Shit, shit!
I texted Andrew: “Hey, man, what are you doing? I’m not ready to make this public! I need more time to prepare!”
His response was PERFECT:
“I thought your blog was about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone ;).”
He was calling me out at my own game.
As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. I had been dragging my heels.
My researching, planning, and talking about my blog was getting in the way of action. I was waiting for the PERFECT timing, but it was just an excuse; I was procrastinating. I was scared to take the first step and launch my blog.
Can you relate?
Do you have big ideas and even bigger plans, but you make excuses that prevent you from getting started?
Maybe you’ve been planning on finding a better job, traveling the world, trying a new hobby, learning a language, launching your own business, starting a workout program, or asking someone out on a date.
Whatever it is, are you waiting for the PERFECT timing like I was with my blog?
If you’re having trouble taking the plunge, here’s my advice:
- Stop over planning. You keep saying you’re ‘preparing’ but we both know you’re actually procrastinating.
- Go find your Andrew. Seek the support of friends and family who listen to you, empathize with you, and encourage you to take risks.
- Get started. Stop trying to be perfect and take the first step towards achieving your goals.
Don’t let the fear of making things perfect, or waiting for the perfect timing, stop you from taking action.
I wish I would have followed my own advice, but I do appreciate the irony of being scared to launch a blog called the Year of Fear! I’m happy that my perfectly imperfect blog is finally launched, and I can’t wait to share this journey with you.