Think about it. Have you ever had an idea – something that excited your interest and passion – only to discover that, when it came to execute, you couldn’t quite get a handle on how to do it? And the uncertainty resulted in non-action as well as a small sense of failure before you got well into it?
It’s happened to me plenty of times – that’s why I can describe it so easily. At a certain point, I began to ask myself, “Why? What was the internal pattern within myself that continually halted my creative process in its early stages?” And this I discovered:
Within me lived a desire for perfection. Or, I should say, within me lived a desire to feel worthy, and I believed perfection was the path of worthiness. So, I would have an idea – a great idea – and, as I would develop the idea for implementation, I would see the flaws and imperfections in the step before I started. So, I would dismiss that pathway and look to find another one… until I saw the imperfections in it, and dismissed it as well. And on and on. I wanted it to be perfect. I felt it had to be for me to be “worthy” of the result I wanted to create. The number of books I didn’t write, the number of art pieces I didn’t design, the number business projects I didn’t execute… well, you know that saying: If wishes were horses… For me, it was more like: If ideas alone were dollars, I’d be a millionaire. But I wasn’t. I was a person who, rather than exhilarated by my ideas, felt demoralized by my failure to bring the idea to fruition perfectly.
If it does, take heart. Awareness is a good thing, and the feelings of uncertainty and fear of failure and low self-esteem that accompany that sense of low morale and powerlessness to “make it happen”…well, feelings are good things, too. No matter what they are. Because, no matter where we are, in the creative process that’s where we start.
Making peace with imperfection.
Once I “owned” the feelings and let myself off the hook for feeling them, I discovered the truth (and I’ll share this secret with you): creativity feeds on imperfection, using it to fuel the next idea and the next improvement. Imperfection is the gift that gives us the momentum to continue the creative process, and the creative process is a state of being that inspires us to new understandings and new ideas (see: Creativity as Prayer) In other words, there are no perfect executions; there are only perfect bridges to the next level of refinement.
So, the next time you are writing a piece of software code that just won’t work right or you are putting together an article and the words don’t quite create the impact you want or you have an idea for a recipe that doesn’t come together like you thought it would or you have a business idea and no clear path to implement (the list could go on and on, we know), remember this: Every single experience has a perfect bridge in it. Find that bridge. Ask yourself what new ideas the “failure in execution prompts”, and you will find the way back into connection with your creativity, into feeling excited and eager to implement the next step of the new idea.
Here’s to the bridges. All of them. No matter where they came from, they are taking us into a new creative adventure that leads, ultimately, into the discovery of our unique creative (and imperfect) genius.
I love you. Thank you.