Perfectionism wants you to think you shouldn't move forward until you know exactly what you're doing. It says you shouldn't post your art until it's 100% perfect. It says you shouldn't go freelance until you have every detail mapped out.
Perfectionism is debilitating. It's deceptive and destructive.
Here are two ways you can change the way you think about your work that will put you on the path to become more perfect while not having to worry about being perfect. It's really a win-win.
1. Adapt a practice mentality
What does practice have to do with beating perfectionism? It's a mindset thing. Everything takes practice.
The secret is in the definition.
prac·tice /ˈpraktəs/ - repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so asto acquire or maintain proficiency in it.
Practice is the pursuit of perfect. So the sooner you can lose the idea of being perfect, the sooner you will get closer to perfect.
The practice mentality moves you away from feeling like there is "the right way" to do things. It moves you in the direction of taking action. It moves you in the direction of taking healthy risks. It moves you away from debilitating perfectionism.
2. 90% perfect
I got this idea from Sean McCabe. If you're a perfectionist, your standards are unrealistically high. Perfectionism causes peralysis.
Your 90% perfect is probably much higher than the majority of people out there.
You need to create a LARGE body of imperfect work to bridge the gap between your skills and your taste.
I took this to heart when I started writing my blog. I didn't have an audience. I didn't have a perfectly crafted message I wanted to share. And frankly, I didn't have a ton of free time to write weekly. But I knew I wanted to find my voice. So I moved forward and chose to practice writing weekly. In order to deliver weekly, I had to be ok with 90% perfect. And I've gotten better and faster at writing over the last couple of years.
Use the 90% perfect rule to pull the trigger on the things you are stalling on.
It's really freeing to release the notion that you need to produce only perfect animations, blog posts, emails, etc.
A current example of using the 90% rule
I'm using the 90% rule right now. I don't have access to my computer right now. I'm on my wife's MacBook that doesn't have the Adobe suite. I really prefer creating a custom header (even more preferably an animated header), but that's not possbile today, so I have a decision to make. Do I post this blog without a header or wait on pulling the trigger till I can make a custom header?
I am choosing to employ the 90% rule here and send this newsletter without a header and not putting it off until it's perfect.
It may not sound earth shattering, but if I didn't have this rule to filter my actions, I might have a more difficult time making that decision. It's a 1% improvement every day that really adds up over time.
Go make something today and use these two rules to eliminate the perfectionism that's holding you back.