intensives: be perfect already!

So about being intense.  It means that I dive RIGHT IN to whatever I’m doing.  (This is kind of funny because I still have a fear of diving that prevents me from going headfirst into the water, pretty much ever.  Working on it.  Not there yet. Anyway…)

I dive in.  Both feet.  Sometimes I tell myself I’m going to Do This Forever, but that’s only true in rotation with the other hundred and fifty million or so things I’m interested in.  I never lose interest, I just keep adding things.  (Intense learner, yep, that’s me.)

I LOVE that I’m intense about learning.  But what gets in my way is when I decide that if I’m going to learn this, it’s going to be PERFECT.

I’m going to be the best.  I’m going to LEARN ALL THE THINGS.  And do them at a paraprofessional level, so help me heaven and earth.

All this does is make me SUPER STRESSED.  I’m used to high levels of adrenaline and cortisol for a bunch of unfortunate reasons.  And my body tends to lean in that direction anyway but there is no reason on earth that I have to do it to myself.

(Also, adrenaline and cortisol fuck with functions like short term memory, so if you’re stressed at a networking meeting or a birthday party you’re screwed.)

When I decide that I’m going to do it PERFECTLY that leads directly to…

Not Doing It At All.

That’s right.  Perfectionism leads to procrastination.  ARGH.  So I’ve  had to learn to be intensely laid back.


It works like this: I can do as much or as little of -this thing- as I want to.  I can do it badly.  I never have to show it to anyone if I don’t want to.  It totally helps. In creativity I’ve even designated a few things (painting and drawing) as things I am allowed to do badly.  I’m even SUPPOSED to do them badly.  If I do them well it’s a total accident.

As intensives, we need permission, support, and guidance about how to be less intense when it’s not working for us.  Perfectionism?  Not usually working for us.  When it works, it works.  But sometimes you just have to do it for sheer joy.  Do it for the pleasure of the feeling of the brush loaded with paint gliding across the paper.

We need to let ourselves play.  Let ourselves scribble.  Let ourselves be wrong.

We’re at our best when we move fast, fix fast, iterate, develop, edit, and move on.

To do that, we have to start.