I know a talented writer (and published author) who loves to obsessively wash dishes and mop the floor of her apartment instead of working on her next book.
I know a brilliant entrepreneur (with so much income potential, it’s insane) who loves to obsessively check and re-check and re-re-check her website for typos instead of pitching her services to potential clients.
I know another entrepreneur (equally brilliant) who refuses to launch her new website because her new logo isn’t “perfect” yet, and also, she wants to lose some weight and then get new photos taken.
People. COME ON NOW. We all know exactly what’s happening here.
It’s a phenomenon that I call: “hiding behind tidying.”
It’s when you feel nervous about taking a big, courageous leap forward… so you obsess over incredibly minor details, and you fuss, fret, clean, spruce, and spin your wheels indefinitely to avoid ACTUALLY taking action.
We all do this from time to time. I do it, too! Washing dishes isn’t my thing, but I’ve been known to find plenty of other forms of procrastination disguised as “tidying.”
Striving for excellence is great. Fixing that spelling or punctuation error is great. Wanting to deliver your highest, finest art to the world is great. But at some point or another, you have to decide: “Enough is enough. It’s time to get this out into the world.”
And if your project isn’t 100% perfect… guess what? You’re in good company.
The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller contained numerous typos when it was first published. Who cares? It’s still one of the most celebrated novels of all time.
Michelle Obama has been known to trip over a few words and even stutter, occasionally, while delivering her epic speeches. Does it ever detract from the power of her message? Nope.
Beyoncé almost fell flat on her glorious butt during a recent Superbowl performance. She hopped back onto her feet and kept right on #slaying.
“Perfect” does not exist. “Totally done” does not exist. You can tidy, tidy, tidy until the end of time, and there will always be something else that requires additional tidying, sprucing, upgrading, refining, etc.
At a certain point, you’ve got to set limits for yourself. You’ve got to give yourself a firm deadline where you have to stop tidying, stop hiding, stop fussing behind the scenes, and start putting your work out there. For real.
It’s time for all of us to stop hiding behind the shield of “just a little more tidying.”
It’s just a game—a silly diversion. Choose to stop playing the game, because it’s a game you will never win.
In my opinion: “Finished, packaged, ready to purchase, available now” is so much sexier than “perfect.”
PS. If this emails contains a typo or two… oh well! We’re all going to survive. Getting my message into your inbox felt more important than frantically tidying. 😉