How to Move Past Perfectionism and Realize Your True Creative Potential

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Early on in my career, getting past perfectionism was a struggle. I told myself that to succeed, I had to be perfect. And perfect isn’t easy: An hour or more spent in hair and makeup, nailing the “look” in styling, adjusting lighting, utilizing special effects, casting body doubles — the list goes on.

It doesn’t all just come down to image though. There’s also that book idea that’s been on your laptop for years, waiting for the right introduction or the script treatment that you can’t do because it all has to be perfect. Think of all the ideas or projects we put off until tomorrow or next week — all for the sake of doing them perfectly.

As a creative in the industry, I understand that knowing when a song or a film is finished is a tricky thing to master. True editing and polishing go on for weeks, and when do you really know when something is truly finished? Over time, I’ve learned that the axiom “done is better than perfect” holds true.

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Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

This year I started a podcast. I had no technical savvy in this area; I was quite happy being behind the scenes, producing independent films. Then the pandemic hit. Most of the productions slowed down and I started branching out and turned to writing and interviewing instead. Having always been curious, this just opened the door to a whole other world that I may never have entered had I been consumed with the idea of doing it perfectly. Try something new, and remember that you don’t have to do it perfectly.

Make some mistakes and improve as you go along.

Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” It’s often used in Japanese business philosophy to refer to processes that continuously improve operations and involve all employees. Notice this says nothing about doing anything perfectly. It doesn’t exist. You just have to push through and do your thing. Learn as you go along — it’s the starting that counts.

The media is all smoke and mirrors.

We’re constantly seeing perfect models and actresses scattered across magazine covers or in posts on social media. We realize that we’re now flooded with curated images that have gone through Photoshop and editing. In some respects, I do feel like we are lightyears ahead of where we were before. The next step is to normalize women’s natural bodies more in films and the media. Less perfection; more realism and acceptance.

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Get past procrastination and don’t let perfection win.

I’ve seen this so much in the last few months. Very talented people are struggling to get past the pressure of perfection and it drove me to write this article. So many of us have put off our dreams and ideas that have been gnawing at us for years. Just remember: If it keeps coming back, no matter how much you try to put it on the back burner, then now may be a good time to simply start.

Showcase your authentic self on social media.

There has been a rise in socially motivated perfectionism. Many of us are on social media. However, much like filtered images, we know that what many people show is their “edit.” Social media does not depict a person’s entire story — it’s merely just a sliver of their life or what they decide to show to the world. When you create content and IG stories for your business, make it real. Show what’s happening and create the branding that people will want to follow and see more of.

The imperfections are what make you unique.

Learn to embrace the imperfections — this will not only make you happier but will help you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all box you need to fit into. So many times when casting, I’m drawn to the uniqueness of a person. It’s what makes you stand out. Even with my podcast, I am drawn to real stories and unedited moments. That is magic to me. Everyone has their own style, but whatever you choose to do, make it real and approachable. Make it “you.”

I think the takeaway from this is to be your authentic self. I have a book coming out in October titled Meet Nashville’s Rising Stars, a collection of my favorite 25 articles I wrote from last year. The ideas in this article you’re reading are common themes of the stories in my book. Unlocking your creative potential means listening, following through and embracing the imperfections.

Don’t put off your dreams, but rather, keep them alive. Even if it’s a small start on Instagram Live, you never know where it can lead.

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