“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.” Lets say it together 5 times! At this point in our New Song November process we had been confronted over and over again with our own perfectionism. It threatened to make even our best takes unusable. We would keep recording takes over and over hoping the next one would be a better one, or just one at all without a glaring hiccup to expose our inadequacy. That’s how it felt anyway. Eventually we would have to accept it as it was in order to get the post up on time. Which was a good practice for us. The forced deadline meant that we couldn’t hide behind the perfectionism that wanted to protect us from judgement. If we hadn’t had a challenge in place that had us committed to a certain deadline, it would have been tempting to never release a lot of these songs.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if people even notice the mistakes or not. We really get tangled up by our own expectations of how it “should be”. We are so often our own worst critics and hold ourselves to a standard we may not realistically be able to reach, especially when our ego is on the line. The learning here is to let our expectations go, do the best we can, and then put it out there. Otherwise we’ll always be holding back. Perfectionism is rooted in a fear of judgement: “Maybe if I am perfect there will be nothing to criticize.” But perfectionism’s sneaky ways do nothing to protect us, they only holds us back.
Where does perfectionism show up in your life? What dreams are deterred because you won’t share, or even attempt something, unless you feel it’s flawless? We can be our own worst critic. Yes it can push us forward to grow and improve, but an unhealthy amount of striving can set unrealistic goals that we can never achieve. Self-compassion is key. Truly enjoying what we are doing often matters more than how “well” we do. And hey, other people barely notice our mistakes anyway! More young people are struggling with perfectionism in the age of social media, lets role model the truth of the creative process by sharing our imperfections and vulnerabilities. We are all better for it.