Should you publish your blog post even though you might not have caught every error or wait until you can read through it another 17 times?
Should you launch your website even though you designed it yourself (and…gasp!…you’re not a designer) because you’re brand new to business and you can’t afford a designer or wait until you save $6000 to afford your dream designer?
Should you start an Instagram account if your photos aren’t up to the level of a professional photographer or wait until you can take a few photography courses and get a DSLR camera?
Is it okay to sometimes put out or even strive for B or B- (instead of A) work?
This is something I haven’t stopped thinking about since listening to a conversation between Amy Porterfield and Jon Acuff where they briefly chatted about this on Amy’s podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy (here’s the specific episode if you want to give it a listen–highly recommend!).
I’ve always been of the mindset that you should put out your best work…ALWAYS. But, I follow that up with the idea that it means YOUR best work…not someone else’s standard.
What’s the point of publishing a book if you’re just going to give it most of your effort but not all?
Or, what’s the point of creating a painting that you phone in?
Even though I believe this, the idea of putting out “B” work is genius for a specific group of people: perfectionists.
(Hello, my name is April and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I could tell you some stories that would make you think I have major Paris Geller problems. Such as how I went to my Dean when I received my only B in grad school at NYU–every other grade I got was an A–to demand my grade be changed to an A.)
This “striving for B work” idea serves perfectionists because they never, ever think something is good enough.
I know creatives who’ve come up with brilliant blog post ideas but didn’t write them because they might not turn out perfect or as good as “so-and-so’s” blog posts.
I know creatives who have blog posts sitting on their hard drives that they never posted because after the nineteenth round of editing they still didn’t think they were up to snuff. (Oh yeah…you know who you are. I’m pointing my finger directly at you.)
I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who’ve thought about selling “x” for YEARS, but they haven’t done it.
Why? They couldn’t do it perfectly.
They couldn’t hire a website designer to put together the perfect website, they didn’t know everything there was to know about Etsy, they didn’t know how to take professional photos of their products, and they didn’t know how to write the perfect sales page.
And, guess what has happened?
Life has gone on and these people have missed chance after chance after chance. Possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. Possibly connections that could’ve led to a book deal or a deal for a fabric line or getting their stationery into Anthropologie or teaching at CreativeLive or leaving that day job they despise.
Perfectionists live in fear.
They delete their photos instead of posting them on Instagram. They talk themselves out of doing a Facebook Live because they’re terrified people won’t join, or there will be awkward silences or they’ll stumble over their words (also known as being human and learning). They delete their helpful and entertaining video footage instead of creating a video for YouTube.
Fear is ruling their ability to create and share what they create.
If you fall into this group of people who constantly questions themselves and never shows their work because “it’s never good enough” and always talks themselves out of trying creative things because it won’t be perfect, this idea is for YOU.
Aim to put out “B” work.
This takes the pressure off of having to perfect things before you share them with the world. It gives you permission to publish that blog post that might have an error that you missed even though you went through five rounds of editing.
When you find yourself falling into the perfectionist trap, come back to this thought process and tell yourself that you’re going for a “B” today–not an “A.”
Now, being a perfectionist in recovery, I know how hard this is to actually do.
You want that “A” sooooooooooooo damn bad. It’s hard to let go.
It’s a muscle you build up. The more you do it, the easier it gets to stop carrying such a hard load on your shoulders and letting go of the little stuff.
We all make mistakes and almost all of us (except that loser at his keyboard wearing dirty underwear and spilling Cheetos on himself who’s waiting to hate on anybody) overlook mistakes, because we make them, too.
Remind yourself that you’re doing your best and if you don’t want to have regrets ten years from now, start sharing that “B” work!