I get nervous right before I step on stage to give a keynote.
I feel uncomfortable right before I schedule these weekly emails. (I often feel the post isn’t quite good enough.).
I don’t feel ready whenever I’m about to launch something new.
But I do it anyway.
I make mistakes. I fall down. And then I pick myself up again.
I’m sharing this in case you need a boost to help put your ideas into the world or start your next venture.
Remember: Your art enables other people’s art. Your wisdom unlocks other people’s wisdom. Your voice can change the way that people think and act.
But it can’t do any of that if you keep your mouth shut.
We often keep our mouth shut because we’re afraid that what comes out will be imperfect.
But here’s the thing: If you’re human, you are imperfect. So when you strive for perfection, you’re searching for an impossible ideal. Of course, it’s okay to want to improve your craft. But it’s not okay to only aim for “perfect.”
Perfectionism is why most people procrastinate. Because if you avoid doing the work, you also avoid making mistakes. So you misdirect your creations toward what’s easy and what’s safe—into a zone where you’re likely to minimize mistakes. You conform rather than contradict. You finesse rather than finish. You stand rather than dance.
Perfectionism is a battle against the self. When perfectionism enters, delight exits. Play turns into work.
When you cover up your authentic imperfections, you also conceal what makes you interesting. People who pretend to be perfect are good for about 5 minutes of conversation. If I want to spend time with airbrushed humans, I can do that on Instagram.
Yes, mistakes can be painful. The pain of making a mistake is the price of admission to a courageous life, and I’m happy to pay it.
But there’s another type of price you pay—not for failing, but for failing to try at all. I’ve felt that pain before, and I never want to feel it again.
So go ahead and make mistakes. Make amazing mistakes. Make mistakes that only you can make—the type of smudges that have your signature on them.
Good mistakes won’t make you perfect.
But they will help you stop thinking that you must get it perfect.
P.S. My wife Kathy is an expert on helping businesses embed a purpose beyond profit into what they do. She runs an amazing mastermind where she brings together 6 high-caliber leaders from different industries who are driving purpose-led businesses, sustainability, and ESG. The 6-month virtual program will kick off in January 2023 and run through June 2023. 2 spots have already been taken, and there’s only a week left to apply (applications close on Thursday, October 20th). Find out more and apply here.