The other day I was all excited to sit down and start recording a video about one of my favorite works of art– Ugolino and His Sons by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. I’ve loved it for years and I can speak about it at length; there should’ve been no issues, right? Haha, yeah, okay. Here’s what happened.
I got myself dressed in a silky, sophisticated blouse– appropriate for a conversation on fine art. I did my makeup nice like they do it on YouTube– I was quite proud of the job I’d done. My hair was a frizzy mess, but that’s neither here nor there. I set up my camera and pressed record. Then began the first take of many, many takes. See, despite the fact that I’ve been going live on Instagram every week for a year, there’s something about sitting in front of a camera that still sucks the naturalness right out of me. I’ve gotten infinitely better at being less self-conscious, but most often, rewatching my videos makes me cringe.
After numerous takes, I decided that I’d need to let go of aiming for perfection and accept what was in front of me– that ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain. I was somewhat disappointed in the video but I’ve come to accept that waiting for perfection is a losing game.
Two days later, an overcast and rainy Sunday, I was makeup-less and cozy af, my fizzy hair was tucked beneath an oversized hoodie, and I got to thinking about Ugolino and my love of art. I was in a talkative mood but didn’t feel like actually talking to anyone. Do you ever feel that way? In times like that, I tend to go about the house, a cup of tea in hand, having conversations with myself. You know you do it too.
Part of me wanted to sit down, as I was, and try re-recording the video, but my brain said I can’t make a video about serious art in a hoodie.
What I realized was this: getting dressed up for the video wasn’t simply about looking good outwardly. When I put on that silk top and makeup, I also put on an idea of who I was supposed to be, and what I was supposed to look like, and what the video was supposed to look like. And all of those ‘supposed to’s’ was partially to blame for my not feeling natural. In my quest for a perfect video, I repeated the same actions over and over again hoping that the next time would look and feel more natural, that my words would flow more perfectly. But those actions were superficial.
One reason why insisting on perfection is tough is because it leaves us feeling unsatisfied, defeated and paralyzed. But none of us want to spend our time creating work that we aren’t proud of, right? We want to be excellent at what we do. So how do we balance wanting to create great work without getting stuck in perfectionism? Before I recorded the Ugolino video (coming soon), I recorded this video to share a strategy I’ve found helpful for creating content that I’m proud of while letting go of being perfect.
If you’ve found yourself repeatedly stuck in a creative rut or paralyzed by perfection, then this simple mindset shift can make a big difference for you. If you find it helpful, please give it a like, subscribe, and let me know in the comments!
Do you struggle with perfectionism? What scares you about imperfection? Have you developed any strategies to work through those feelings? We’d love to hear it!
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?
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6 thoughts on “Aim for Better, Not Perfect”
I finally figured out perfection is overrated! It’s so stressful!
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I couldn’t have said it better myself! So much stress= time, energy and sanity 😅
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Oh how I’ve missed reading your posts. As an artist, there will forever be a tug-of-war between what “I” see as perfection and what others see as perfection in relation to my work. It’s also pretty complicated because sometimes, perfection is actually concealed within the purposeful imperfections, you know?! But that’s with respect to my actual work.
With respect to myself, there are some struggles that have taken me an entire lifetime to accept about myself and I, as millions of women are, am a work in progress. My profile is awful, my head is too big. My teeth are huge but beauty and perfection are in the eye of the beholder! I know of all people that you know these things and I love you for it!!!!
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Letting go of what it’s “supposed “ to look like has been my ‘aha’ of the month and frankly it lead me to discover my word for the year: “Surrender “
Great topic! I struggle a lot with perfectionism but I’ve literally just been getting things done to work through it, also learning to not criticize myself as hard, or worry so much what others may think because they aren’t going through the exact same journey and they aren’t perfect either.
YAS 🤗 my mom asked what my word for 2019 is and I said “better” cause there’s a lot I want to improve on!