“LinkedIn” appeared in the Outcomes section of my weekly planning worksheet for three consecutive weeks. Nothing happened. It disappeared from the worksheet for the following three consecutive weeks. Again, nothing. It then reappeared for two more consecutive weeks. And still, nothing.
When I saw that action item reappear, it was clear there was a problem. It was time for an honest conversation with myself. You see, a number of months ago, I set myself on a path of discovery that will lead to a career change. Failing to work on my LinkedIn profile was not an option, and after two months of zero progress, it was evident that moving forward the way I had intended wasn’t working.
I’m a processor, so the only option I could think of was a heart-to-heart conversation with myself. My internal dialogue went something like this: – So this isn’t working, and you actually have to make progress on this action item. – I know. It’s awful…and embarrassing. I’m usually better at getting things done. – So what’s holding you up? – (sigh) It’s just so hard! And, I don’t know if I can live with anything short of perfect. – Huh. Perfection sure can get in the way of progress.
I was smacked upside the head (Remember the book A Whack on the Side of the Head?) with a revelation: all I had to do was shift away from my pursuit of perfection. A simple shift in word choice would suffice. The next week, the action item I had come to dread writing most looked like this:
- write 3 shitty sentences for LinkedIn profile
And the next week?
- write 3 more shitty sentences
Pretty? Nope! Eloquent? Not a chance? Specific, actionable, and liberating? You bet!
My revelation is an important one: The pursuit of perfection can stop us cold.
Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” which, no surprise, is far more eloquent than my restated action item. Sometimes forward progress is just about incremental progress, which may lead to big steps, and which may also lead to smaller steps forward.
In her book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, author Wendy Mogel talks about the importance of striving to be “good enough” as a parent, leaving behind the pursuit of perfection. What freedom! How different would life be if we all pursued good enough, and let the rest fall away? I have a sneaking suspicion the world would continue to spin on its axis, and we would all breathe a little more easily.
Examples abound, yet it seems that lessons are best learned when we connect them to personal experience. Do a Google search to discover just how many others have done the same or written about it. Oh, and my LinkedIn profile? It’s far from perfect, but I did publish it and it is available for all to see.
I am confident that writing this blog will provide me with many more opportunities to keep my revelation fresh, just as this career change process does on a daily basis. I’ll do my best, or at least good enough.
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