Perfection is the enemy of done

It’s been nearly a year since my three meager posts. The blog that started in a rush of eagerness to ponder, reflect and explore sputtered and stalled. What happened? Enemy, thy name is Perfection.

I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. I’m certainly not detail oriented, as many of my former managers and my dear spouse can tell you. Misplaced wallets and keys, forgotten appointments, e-mails sent without promised attachments–I do it all. Heck, I can guarantee at least three typos in this post alone.

But there are some things that I guess I like to be great at. When I logged on to my blog account this morning and saw a list of unpublished drafts waiting for one final flash of rhetorical inspiration or an artful turn of phrase, I see that I really want to be the best special needs parent blog author ever. And this desire, while noble, is really cramping my output.

This makes me think back to other times in my special needs parenting life when my desire to be perfect has gotten in the way of getting things done at all. Teacher gifts ungiven because I wanted to find the most thoughtful gift (and I’m above cliche coffee mugs, of course). Gratitude never expressed to hospital staff because I never got myself to sit down to write the artful note (and thank you notes by email just won’t do, don’t you know). Special education department feedback never shared because I couldn’t figure out how to deliver the message in that perfect tone both diplomatic yet firm (and I don’t like to be a trouble maker). Photos never printed (because I don’t have time to get caught up on the eight-year backlog.) Even projects and activities with the kids that we never started (because I didn’t have enough time to make them mind-blowingly creative.) So because I don’t do it perfectly, I don’t do it at all.

I’d love to hear about other parents who are learning to let go of paralyzing perfectionism. If this post ever gets published, assume I’ve won a battle for today.

Cristin Lind

Facilitator, consultant, speaker for better health and care through patient-professional partnership. Passionate about helping change agents build courage and agency. She/her.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Here, I believe, is a somewhat relevant Churchill quote for you and other perfectionists:

    “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster; and fling him out to the public.”

    I think this also applies to blogging…and many other life activities. I believe good writers, like good bloggers, or inventors, or successful people involved in other creative endeavor…are actually just good monster-flingers.

  2. By the way…I put at least one typo in my previous posting for you to enjoy.

    1. Great quote, Chris. I love that image of flinging the monster. I hope to get better at flinging away, not just with this blog, but in life in general.

  3. This post so speaks to me…right down to the list of unpublished blogs. You are a lovely writer.

    1. Coming from you, I’ll take that as a compliment. (Well, coming from anyone, I’d take it as a compliment. But you especially–I like your writing too.)

    1. Thanks! Rich post, full of good stuff.

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