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  • Bonnie Gwyn

Letting Go of Perfection: A Key to Success


Hello, friends! Today, I've been pondering what has helped me achieve my goals and find success in life. I think the biggest key has been letting go of my desire for perfection - more like a compulsion, I'd say. I've never had it diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure I have OCD, and it can be hard to move forward with projects when I'm not completely satisfied. That's been the case with writing, with college, with crafts, really with anything I do where I have control over the outcome. It's why graduating with a 3.992 GPA drove me crazy. It's why I have a hard time finding balance.


I'm at an interesting point in my life right now. I've accomplished all of the big life goals that I set for myself as a youngster (get married, have a child, graduate college, finish my trilogy) and I'm trying to figure out what my focus should be now. Interestingly, I've noticed a pattern with all of those goals I've accomplished, or the mountains I've climbed. I've had to let go of wanting those things to be perfect.


We didn't buy a perfect house. I didn't get perfect grades. My books could be improved upon for the rest of my life if I let myself do that. If I'd been dead set on perfection with any of those things, they wouldn't be complete right now. I'd still be climbing the mountain and turning around every time I thought I found a better path or a better climbing method.


Honestly, I've learned that (aside from God and Jesus) perfection doesn't really exist, and it's unfortunate to waste a bunch of time trying to find it or create it. There is so much merit in growing, in making mistakes, in improving our skills, and in learning to be better. Of course, it's wonderful to want to do our best and it's important to give things our all, but I wonder how many of us let discouragement or perfection stop us from finishing things. I think that's the biggest reason it took me so long to finish the final book in my trilogy. I was so worried it wouldn't be as good as the others. I let that worry stop me from giving the project a chance - for years. In the end, I decided that it was more important for the book to be finished than for it to be perfect, and guess what? I think it's my best work yet.


It is possible to finish something and be satisfied without it being perfect. Maybe that's only a revelation to me, but just in case it's a helpful thought for any of you, I wanted to share. As I look at the future and assess what I want to focus on next, I have a new perspective of how to accomplish it. I'm realizing that I will make my best effort when I give myself permission to struggle. I can always do better next time.


Is there something you want to write that you've been holding to a perfect standard? Is there something you've wanted to try but have been worried you won't be good at? Is there something you've been needing to finish but haven't allowed yourself to stop overthinking? My advice is to write the thing, try the thing, and finish the thing. If it's something that has been taking up space in your mind for a long time, and if you'd be happier to have it done than to have it keep taking up space ... well, in the words of Shia LaBeouf, "just do it." I think you'll be glad. And if you're not, there is always tomorrow to reassess.


Happy writing and anything else that you lovely people are working on!

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