I vividly remember practicing cursive writing over and over again until I got every stroke, every word written perfectly, uniformly and exactly. The beginning stages of perfectionism. Stifling opportunities, inhibiting creativity, and getting in the way of joy. Now as an adult, I see how my need to be perfect inhibits me in ways I don’t entirely understand. I do know that I still avoid uncomfortable situations because I subconsciously tell myself I’m not quite good enough. I certainly don’t want to look stupid or fail. I’m playing it safe, again. The same old thoughts produce the same old results - stagnation!
Julie Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way writes, “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will every be good enough, that we should try again.” Perfectionists power through their lives, judging themselves harshly and unforgivingly. It’s not joyful. It’s not creative. It’s not fun.
In comparison, those who strive to become masters of their craft recognize that they need to consistently practice. They hone their skills. They challenge themselves to go farther, to dig deeper, to make mistakes. They do not expect instant results and they don’t give up too soon. They are generous with themselves, forgiving imperfection and picking themselves up when they fall. They experience joy in the creative process. They become masters of their craft.
When my husband retired from his job as an airline captain, I asked him what he enjoyed about his woodworking hobby. He replied, "It's just like flying." Puzzled, I asked, "How is that?" His response, "I am mastering my craft."
Are you stifled by perfectionism? What is holding you back from achieving mastery? Enjoying your creative self?
I challenge you to get out there and master your craft “badly.” You don’t have to be perfect.
To your joy,