Hang the Pictures

Posted on: Oct 16, 2015

I am a perfectionist. (the first step is admitting it, right?) My desire to make everything the best it can be, to endlessly try to improve something, and to find solutions has made it possible for some great things to come out of our office, such as my husband’s  #1 nationally best-selling, self-published book, Life at Performance Level, which I painstakingly project managed from start to finish.

Perfectionism can also be crippling. It can halt progress and make it impossible to ever really put a project to bed.  I constantly work to get comfortable with “good enough” but my challenge to let go of perfect became very clear to me a couple of years ago during a conversation with a friend.

I had been analyzing, evaluating, and researching options for a business idea but not acting on anything.  I was sharing all of this with him and he stopped me to say,

“Didn’t you just move into a new home a few months ago?”

“Yes” I said.

“I bet you have not one picture hung on the wall.”

Uh-oh! How did he know?

“You are correct,” I said.

My friend stared at me. “Elle,” he said slowly. “Just hang the pictures! So what if you change your mind?”

“But we just had the walls freshly painted,”  I responded.

He shook his head. “You can’t live like that – you can’t be so afraid something won’t be perfect that you never even begin.”

It was my turn to stare. Somehow, he’d put into words exactly what I’d been doing – stalling to appease my perfectionism, not making any decision and staying stuck with no pictures on the wall and no move toward my career goals.

Does this sound familiar?  What is one thing you’ve been putting off because you fear it won’t turn out perfectly?

I recently attended the S.H.E. Summit in New York City and Congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Shultz said it well when she said, “ We women can have it all, if we are willing not to have it all perfect. “

Start today. Give yourself the freedom to fail and the freedom of a do-over.  Allow yourself to be OK with good enough.

By the way, I did hang all of the pictures and haven’t moved one!