Done is better than perfect, and I needed to learn to get to “done” faster.
True confessions - rapid fire edition.
Here’s the problem: Most of the time, I work alone, in an office digging away at code, video editing, graphic design, you name it.
Early on in this environment, I found that I spent too much time alone with my ideas. I became obsessed with perfecting my work, so much so, that my work started to back up. I was so self-critical, that I didn’t let anyone see my work until it was nearly done. I tried to take ideas from concept to production all by myself, and became so emotionally invested in them that they absolutely NEEDED to be 100% perfect. My “new things” consumed me. I tinkered with them, polished them several times, even scrapped them, only to go searching among the rubble days later, trying to salvage something. I knew I needed to find a way to get more things done, more quickly, and without the fear of what others might think of my shiny new thing.
Has this happened to you? How about on a smaller scale? Have you ever spent 3 hours adjusting a social media graphic, only to decide later that the entire point/message of the graphic was off-base anyway?
So, did things get better? I finally realized that to improve the quality and quantity of my work, I needed to allow myself to fail, and fail gloriously. If you work alone in a creative communications role, you need to find a way to fail faster. Software developers call it “adopting an agile mindset.” Fail fast, fail often.
You’ve seen the memes, “I’ve learned more from my failures than my successes,” and "I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”
We need to approach our work like this. Be willing to fail and fail gloriously. Allow yourself to be detached from the ideas, and just present them to others, all rough and shoddy, just to see what people say. You may receive some amazing affirmation, and that’s great. You may even receive stunned silence. Either way, you’ll get feedback that you can take back to your desk/workshop/whiteboard.
Although it may seem to slow down the process, you’re actually saving yourself from wasting hours and days, if you find that the idea itself is not going to work. So let’s save some time and speed up our feedback loops.
Being agile with your creativity does several things:
How can you be more agile?
So go out there and fail! How’s that for a rah rah speech? The freedom you’ll feel in failure will make you more confident in the final result. Find out what doesn’t work, and make “it” - whatever it is - better.
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