Done is better than Good


A few weeks ago I travelled down to Sydney with one of my closest friends, to catch up with another close friend so that we could attend the All About Women Festival at the Opera House. It was a great event but the highlight for me was definitely the talk/presentation/performance by Elizabeth Gilbert. When people hear Gilbert’s name they usually associate it with her hugely popular best seller, Eat, Pray, Love (a book I have never actually read – nor do I intend to despite my new found love for it’s author). However, I’ve actually come to the Gilbert fan club through her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, which I found simply brilliant and totally captivating when I read it late last year. It was on this basis that I bought tickets to hear Gilbert’s presentation entitled “How to be Creative” at the festival in Sydney. I really wanted to hear this woman talk about her own creative process – how did she write something so amazing – what was here magical secret??

It turns out – there is no magical secret – and I guess I knew that deep down heading in there.

But Gilbert’s talk itself was magical – for it’s sense of “realness” and authenticity.

Gilbert herself is an amazing speaker – engaging, funny, intelligent, clever – she had no prompts, flash cards or power point presentations to accompany her – and nor did she need them. She was more than enough by herself. She had her audience right in the palm of her hand from the very beginning – I love listening to people like this, people with the power to engage, inform and inspire – it was a brilliant hour.

There were many fantastic stories and quotes from Gilbert’s talk but the one that has stuck with me the most is one that she shared from her mother whose strong work ethic has helped Gilbert through her creative work. Her mother’s message was this:

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done”

How powerful was that for a recovering perfectionist to hear?? It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.

So now, as I continue to try to balance my 3 jobs, being a mum and a partner and a friend, looking after myself and my family – as well as trying to develop some sort of creative outlet for myself, I carry this motto with me – it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done. And that’s ok.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about giving my best to something when I decide to take it on. But giving your best and striving for the perfection that is never going to come are two different things. I need to learn when to say “enough is enough”, I’ve done my best, the thing is done, it’s time to move on. Done is better than good.

How about you? Are you a recovering perfectionist like me? Would Gilbert’s quote help you out?


6 Comments on Done is better than Good

  1. Robyna | The Mummy & the Minx
    April 16, 2015 at 7:53 pm (3 years ago)

    Perfection is definitely the enemy of done and I too am guilty of wanting everything to be JUST SO before I release it into the world. But I guess it’s best just to do and not over-think it. I would love to have heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak.

    • Karen
      May 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Robyna – she was a brilliant speaker – so engaging and energising. If you ever get the chance to hear her do it!

  2. Catherine
    April 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm (3 years ago)

    I love this. I would never have described myself as a perfectionist, but more recently I’ve realised that my procrastination is coming from this idea that if its not going to be completely amazing then I won’t even start. Will definitely look out for the book!

    • Karen
      May 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Catherine – I’m the same, I don’t necessarily think of myself as the “traditional” perfectionist but I know that’s what I am thinking about a lot of the time – this needs to be perfect or don’t bother! I think part of it for me is to put in an excuse right from the get go which basically needs I never have to try anything too scary!

  3. Jacquie (birdandfox)
    April 17, 2015 at 7:15 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh boy, perfectionism sure can be paralysing sometimes, can’t it? I’ve battled with it for as long as I can remember and have only become consciously aware of just how engrained it is in me in the past year or two. And it’s pretty shocking. The ridiculous things I’ve said to myself, the things I think I should be able to do on the first go, etc. are just insane. So that quote definitely hit home for me, too! Love it. Try your best, but once that’s done, you can’t do much more than that so there’s not much point in stressing! Thanks for sharing, Karen x

    • Karen
      May 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Jacqui – I’m so glad you found this as helpful as I did. I’m still finding it tough to change my ways though – those perfectionist drives are strong!!


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