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Today, I got some good news from Everyday Bright friend Annabel Candy.  Coca Cola is launching a “Live Positively” campaign in Australia, where Annabel currently lives, and they have decided to send her to the World Expo in Shanghai.   Apparently they noticed her blog and felt it represented “their commitment to make a positive difference in the world.”  

This is not only a wonderful windfall for Annabel, but it’s a direct result of all the hard work she’s put in.  She set very clear goals for herself, and as I reported here, she tries to do something scary nearly everyday.  I predict this is just the beginning of the pay-off.

I, too, have thought about what steps I could take to increase the awareness and visibility of this blog: interviews with celebrities, guest posts on big name blogs, or even as Annabel suggests, sponsorships or collaborations with corporations. 

What keeps holding me back is the idea I only have one chance to make an impression on these people, so I have to get my pitch just right.  Which means I never write it, not even a draft.  In my pursuit of the perfect, I end up empty-handed.

Perfectionism isn’t always as easy to spot as some might have you believe.  For example, in the artistic community, it’s accepted practice to constantly tinker with your creation, whether it’s a poem or a painting.  No one calls this perfectionism, because the word has such negative connotations, but that’s what it is. 

Perfectionism also presents itself as a fear of failure–in fact, the two go hand in hand.  But it’s easy to mask a fear of failure as something else–too busy, not enough education or training, etc.

What to do about it?  I really like Donald Latumahina’s take on the subject over at Life Optimizer.   (A bit funny in itself: can you solve your perfection problem by “optimizing” your life, or does that just compound it?)  Donald quotes James Cameron as saying, “failure is an option, fear is not.” 

Of course, accepting that as true and actually doing something about it are two different things. 

Which brings me back to Annabel and her “scary campaign.”  I have to admit I haven’t done even one thing in the spirit of that post.  Maybe it’s not realistic to think I can change my innate perfectionism just by telling myself “failure is an option.” 

Maybe the best I can do is channel it in a positive direction by setting some scary goals: writing them down, making a deadline, and committing to them.   At least then the perfectionist in me can feel like it’s really achieving something.

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4 Responses to Perfectionism: Where Dreams Die

  1. Little scary things to begin with Jen, you have already started that with your first guest post. Thinking about it and processing things as you are is the first step.

    It’s funny as I have a post on perfectionism planned. It really is the enemy. I battle with it daily and spend far too long editing and rewriting my posts. Let’s give ourselves a break and accept our work as good enough so we can move on to the next project and get things done!

    It sounds like you have a good plan there. Once you start failing you realise it’s not that bad and then suddenly you succeed. That’s the key – trying and persevering. I can’t wait to see where it takes you!

    And thanks so much for writing about this. It is inspiring. Of course a lot of it comes down to luck but I do like to think that hard work pays off too:) Hooray for Coca Cola for giving us all hope.

    • Annabel,
      I’d be happy to have you in my combatting perfectionism support group! Inspiration can often do much more to spur change than simple self-talk. Keep blazing that trail! :)

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