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I’m a member of a fabulous business group on Facebook, full of fellow woo-woo-ers just like me. Seriously, there’re unicorns and mermaids aplenty, and don’t get me started on the glitter.

{For all the minimalist lifestyle shebang going on here, I love me a bit of glitter. As long as I don’t have to clear up afterwards…}

Like most biz groups, there’re workbooks and planners to download and use for this year’s scheming and dreaming. Most of the group is happily working through them, putting their goals out there for accountability and cheering each other on.

But…there’s one issue that keeps popping up again and again….

Smart, talented, driven women asking ‘how should I do this?’

And not in a ‘I have a really complex biz issue going on here and need to bounce ideas of you lovely peeps…’

No, more in a ‘I’m terrified of putting pen to paper in case I get it wrong’ kind of way.

‘Should I have filled all this in before the end of the year?’

‘I’ve already made a mistake in my workbook! What am I going to do?’

Smart, talented, driven women. Defeated by the process of putting pen to paper.

Desperate to make it flawless. Terrified of getting it ‘wrong’.

Paralysed by the need to be perfect.

My other tool right now is the bullet journal. If you’re not familiar with it, check out the video. But to cut to the chase, bullet journals {or bujos} were designed to be utilitarian, workhorse journals to help get things done. They’re kind of a modern commonplace book.

But…now there’s a hashtag and a community, and if you check out some of the posts on Instagram the bujo movement is about as far removed from the original idea and essence of bullet journalling as you can get.

The other week I read an article about how to make your bujo ‘perfect’. The final piece of advice, that really made me roll my eyes? Keep a ‘practice’ bujo, and only put things in to your ‘real’ bujo when they’re flawless.

Talk about missing the point.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make things pretty. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things well. And wanting to make sure you complete a task and tie up all the loose ends is an admirable quality.

The problem arises when the desire to make things perfect actually stops you from moving forward.

Or when the need for beauty eclipses the practical benefits of what you’re trying to do.

Or when trying to complete the last 5% of a task means you don’t grab other opportunities when they arise.

An empty planner is a useless planner, no matter how much gorgeous washi tape you use.

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. For years I was the queen of buying beautiful notebooks and then not wanting to write in them in case I spoiled them. I’d buy books and not read them because I could live in perfect anticipation of enjoying the story, and didn’t have to worry about being disappointed by it. I’d buy clothes and not wear them because I was saving them for ‘best’.

I didn’t realise how ridiculous this all was until I moved to Australia and started unpacking boxes in my new home. I unsealed a box and found…stack upon stack of empty notebooks.

Seeing them all in one place made my insides twist in embarrassment. I didn’t realise I’d hoarded so many – and I’d paid good money to ship them half way around the world!

It was time to change.

Three truths to hold in your mind

When I feel paralysis creeping over me, I try to remember these truths:

– function over form: a notebook is meant to be scribbled in. A book is meant to be read. Clothes are meant to be worn. If you don’t allow an object to fulfill its function because you’re more worried about it’s form, then it is wasted.

– continuity over completion: just keep going. Tools and processes should exist to help, not hinder. The fact that a workbook isn’t complete shouldn’t stop you from implementing your dreams. Not knowing all the steps you need to take to finish something shouldn’t stop you starting. Sometimes the answers are only found in doing.

– progress over perfection: imperfect action trumps perfect nothingness every single time.

Joy, excitement, challenge and growth all happen when we start taking action – yes, it might be messy and uncomfortable, but standing still while you try to make your life perfect means you actually miss out on all the fun!

Do you feel paralysed by the need to be perfect?

Ready for a simple, soulful, satisfying life?

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