December 03, 2018
In recent months, I found myself in a mental paralysis. There were days when the paralysis caused me to question my own abilities. I have a backlog of draft blog posts that can speak to it slowing down my output of work.
The cause of the paralysis? Perfection.
Often when I did some piece of work, I thought to myself “Not good enough!” or “Three more tweaks and it’ll be perfect!” (followed by another round of three more tweaks).
I thought it was impostor syndrome. It’s an easy conclusion to think - maybe I’m not an authority, maybe my perspective isn’t of any value, or that my work isn’t good. After reflection, I realized I didn’t think what I was doing was good or accurate enough.
It’s easy to stumble onto someone that does work like yours and (maybe) better than what you’re doing on the internet. As an example, coming across someone that has customer success reporting metrics nailed down. When I see that work, I’ve thought that my work isn’t good enough. It took me a while to realize I wasn’t seeing their messy iterations.
To the point of messy iterations, I lost perspective that shipping something is the most important thing. Whatever I’m doing, it’s going to be shitty the first time, the second time, and even the third time! It’s not until I look up from the day-to-day progress and look at the macro progress that you see improvement.
The paralysis of perfection stopped me from working on those day-to-day iterations.
I’m starting to take this new perspective to heart. On this blog, I’m going to start sharing the posts hidden in my drafts. If there’s a typo in a blog post, I’ll fix it once I spot it. If I do screencast at work that’s not 100% perfect, I’ll share it. (The person watching doesn’t know what I had in my head for the final product.)
In this digital world where most work is editable, it’s OKAY if it’s good enough. That’s one step away from perfection.