Many, (may I even argue all ) artists suffer somewhere on the scale of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy calls this one of the Life traps.

See if this rings any bells for you...

“You strive relentlessly to meet extremely high expectations of yourself. You place excessive emphasis on status, money, achievement, beauty, order, or recognition at the expense of happiness, pleasure, health, a sense of accomplishment and satisfying relationships. You probably apply your rigid standards to other people as well and are very judgmental. When you were a child, you were expected to be the best, and you were taught that anything else was failure. You learned that nothing you did was quite good enough.”


It’s ok.
We all are.

The problem is being both a perfectionist and an artist. We just can’t.
Something will have to go, and usually it is the art.

How many times do you want to create something but because it might not be good enough or you might not be good enough you don’t even begin?

Perhaps you are caught in the trap of only playing games you know you can win? The fear of failure is so high you would rather not even try.
As Liz describes in BIG MAGIC it is really just fear all dressed up with no where to go.

“Perfectionism is just a high-end haute couture version of fear. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, ‘I am not good enough and I will never be good enough’.”

We don't have to play that game.
You ARE good enough.

Do you know how you can know?
Because that IDEA or DREAM would NEVER try to manifest itself where its impossible for it to. IT is smart. Savvy. It had one goal — to come into being. It is going to pick the vessel it feels is best for it. If it came to you — you are the chosen one, Neo.

Let’s really break this down: Being perfect is...

  1.  impossible

  2.  not sustainable

  3.  made up

  4. the antithesis of fun, joy and ease

  5.  sabotaging of you and your entire process

  6.  buzz kill

  7.  nothing but a good excuse to not make something

  8.  boring

  9. keeping you small

  10. a waste of time

The list could go on.
The point is...why invest in something that gives you nothing in return and takes so much? That feels like an abusive relationship to me. One your dream will most likely bail on. Can you blame it?

“So many of us believe in perfectionism, which ruins everything else, because perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun.” — Rebecca Solnit

“It’s far more honorable to stay in the game — even if you’re objectively failing at the game — then to excuse yourself from participation because of your delicate sensibilities. But in order to stay in the game, you must let go of your fantasy of perfection.” — Liz Gilbert

Because you are afraid to fail, you attempt to be perfect. Because perfection is unattainable you fail.
On and on you go.

Wouldn’t it be way more fun, enjoyable, purposeful and even easy to just decide that how good or bad any of it is, is none of your business?

You get to decide to show up every day and do your best.
Give your contribution. And let it go.
Can you imagine that living in this level of grace with yourself will allow you to bestow the same compassion to others and their process?
Can you imagine how much more enjoyable it will be to be around you, to create with you, to collaborate with and love you?
Your dream will feel that same way.

You will stop chasing, or trying to be enough. You will get to be. That is all.

And now you can actually create something.
And it may be great. And maybe not. And that’s just perfect.


Jen Rudolph