Finding the Courage to be Imperfect
So far in life, I have written 15 books.
That is in addition to winning awards for entrepreneurship and my busy career as a keynote speaker and humorous emcee.
When people ask me to sign my books at launches, they often ask “how do you do it all?”
And they looked shocked when I reply: “I found the courage to be imperfect.”
Let me explain.
The biggest thing that stands between your written page and your blank page in life is finding the courage to get started. You have to write that first sentence even if you don’t think you are ready yet and you don’t think it is perfect.
As E.B. White put it: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
I write books because I dare to put words to paper, even when I am not sure they will make sense, and I know that they are not perfect. I would like them to be perfect, but if I wait to be totally sure they are perfect, I will die with those words still spinning around inside of me.
It took me a lot of courage to get started. I had stories to tell, but I had no idea which way they should be told. I wrote and rewrote. I wrote and erased. I wrote half a book one time and then tore it all up and started again, but that second time, it started to make sense and come together.
Years ago I read a description of Victorian era English writer Anthony Trollope describe book writing as much like shoemaking and it stuck with me.
Trollope said: “The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.”
He didn’t talk about waiting until you know it all, until you have experienced it all, or until you have perfected your craft to the best that you can be. He talked about sitting down every day at your desk and filling your pages the best way you know how, writing from that authentic place within you and telling the story and the messages that you believe deserve a wider audience.
Then you wrap it all up into a book and put it out there and wait to see how your world responds.
I found the courage to write and overcome the perfection block after reading Steven Pressfield’s remarkable e-book called Turning Pro (https://www.amazon.ca/Turning-Pro-Steven-Pressfield-ebook/dp/B0087TUM54) in which he describes the mental process in going from amateur dabbler in your creative work to becoming a professional.
It is his sequel to his mind-blowing masterpiece The War of Art, an absolute must-read for anyone who wishes to expose their creative work to the public and continue to find the courage to keep producing what inspires them.
Pressfield extolls creative people to give what they’ve got and not cheat the world of your contribution.
“The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it,” he explains.
If you want to write a book, create a sculpture, or devise a learning program, and you are sitting there staring at a blank page, this is the day you need to start.
Starting is the hardest part, but once you hit page two or three or four, you find a rhythm that makes your return to your task easier each time. It is okay if you read it the next morning and don’t like it and decide to start again. Inevitably you will get it right enough and just move on.
So if you want to write you book, sit down at your Word program today and start typing. If you want to create your work of art, grab your paints and dab some color on your canvas. If you want to start your own business, start today to assemble what you need to make it happen.
You don’t have to wait until you have perfected it all. You just have to get going and keep going and it will happen.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s best selling books: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released December 6th “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
Speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.