How I gave myself permission to be Wildly Imperfect
It was 2007 and I was at the University of Southern California in LA getting my MBA with a focus in marketing. I was sitting in one of those required classes when a guest speaker came to the class to talk about Blogging. And something within me came alive.
Do you remember when you were younger it seemed all kids were classified as either good at Math or English. I guess these days it would be STEM vs Liberal Arts. I was always a math kid. I even went to math camp (which is actually one of my favorite childhood memories!). I would beg my sister to make logic puzzles for me. My mom would buy me math workbooks as a treat when I was sick. I just somehow knew the answers. I certainly wasn’t a Beautiful Mind genius but math steered much of my life so much so that I ended up as a Public Accountant.
Now I was on the path to a more creative career: marketing.
Math was easy. Creativity was passionate. Blogging seemed to light me up.
So I started a whole bunch of blogs. Caffeinated Venom. Heidi and Seek. HydeeCat. And now this one. Some of these blogs were more successful than others. Some were easier to write than others. The correlation wasn’t always the same.
I shared one of my very first posts with a close friend. I was so excited it was live. It was such a rush! I couldn’t wait for him to tell me how awesome it was! So imagine my response when he said “There’s a grammar error in paragraph 3. Remember we talked about this. Your blog needs to be professional.”
I was heart broken.
I know he had the best intention and was just trying to help me with my grammar skills and put my best foot forward but all I heard was “you’re not good enough”. I needed to be perfect.
From that point forward, I’ve been terrified to post my blogs. There was bound to be an error. The picture wasn’t the best image I could find. The social media posts weren’t aligned. I wasn’t posting at the best times of day. The colors were all wrong. Etc Etc Etc Etc.
My Perfectionism became Procrastination.
I was in total fear that that I wasn’t perfect and so I did nothing at all. This thing I felt called to do, the first time I felt called to do anything in my life, was put on the back burner.
But I couldn’t let it go. It’s been over 7 years since that class and I’m still attempting to blog. I'm still connected to that calling.
While brainstorming for this blog I came up with the name Wildly Imperfect. So many bloggers seem to have the perfect lives - perfect clothes, perfect smiles, perfect graphics, perfect messages.
I needed to give myself permission to be Imperfect.
So how did I do it? 3 ways:
I outed my perfectionism - The subtitle of this blog is Wildly Imperfect. I’ve outed my perfectionism right in the title and given myself permission to be imperfect. You may find some grammatical errors, or typos, or some awkward photos or who knows what else. But what you will find is my authentic voice and I hope that’s what you retain.
I schedule time in my calendar - When I know I have a post to write I often find myself waiting for the perfect conditions. The perfect time of day, the perfect energy, the perfect playlist, the perfect dinner, the perfect weather, etc. Before I knew it months were passing by and I hadn’t written one single thing. Now I put time on my calendar anywhere from 10 minute to 2 hour segments. I used to think I needed 4 hours to write a blog post. I don’t know where that came from, but that’s what I felt like I needed. The first time I set the timer for just 10 minutes I wrote an entire blog post! Sure I was going to need some time for editing and formatting but I was free to make progress with my blog in smaller increments of time.
I keep it sacred - I have about 5 people in my life that are my trusted blogger advisors even if they don’t know it :) I’m comfortable letting them in on my strategy and progress. I know they have my back and they want the absolute best for me. When these advisors give me feedback they have the context of the whole picture. It becomes a conversation instead of an instruction. I don’t need to defend my decisions. Of course there’s something to be said for not taking feedback personally. But there are times when it’s just more sacred to try to reduce the noise while your confidence grows stronger. This number will grow, I just know it.
Now it’s your turn. Where in your life have you let Perfectionism become Procrastination? And if you've overcome your Perfectionism then please share your tips!