Embrace the Unfinished Work

Do you find yourself starting somethig but never did get it completed? Do you have many unfinished work but feel stuck and don’t know how you can get it out of the way?

No perfectionists would want to hear something like “embracing the unfinished work.” Unfinished work is not perfect. We were taught that we should never show or submit an unfinished work. We even see this behaviour in kids sometimes. You watch a kid drawing or writing something on the paper, then you ask them to show you what they’re working on. “No! It’s not finished!” says the kid.

In my previous post, I talked about my struggle with perfectionism and how I was coping with it. I have this mantra that I keep reminding myself of: Strive for progress, not perfection. Instead of getting it “done”, why don’t we think about how to make it better? Ah, make it better. That’s the phrase perfectionists love to hear. In fact, making it the best is what we love most.

How Do We Improve and Make it Better?

In what ways can we improve anything to the point of near perfection by sitting on this unfinished work on our own? Think about this. When someone asks you for direction to a place. What would be your first question to that person? Do you launch straight into giving them direction? But how the heck did you do that if you don’t know where that person is? You would ask that person, “Where are you?”

So, how do we know where we are with our progress? We need to show our unfinished work and get FEEDBACK! We can’t behave like the kid who doesn’t want to show others until the work is finished. That’s not progress. It’s better to have mediocre tasting muffins than to not bake at all trying to write the perfect recipe. Definitely not how we learn.

We’re All Still Working on Our Masterpiece

You know the Jessie J’s song Masterpiece? It’s something like that in a way. Part of the chorus goes:

I’m perfectly incomplete

I’m still working on my masterpiece

I wanna hang with the greatest

Way to go, but it’s worth the wait

You haven’t seen the best of me

I’m still working on my masterpiece

I think that’s just how the way life is. Nothing is ever finished or complete until of course when we die. Even in death, we would still have unfinished business but hey, what can you do about it right? So, do we want to show people the unfinished work or do we want to die keeping it all to ourselves? Imagine that nobody would even know what you’re working on. Nothing to contribute whatsoever simply because it’s unfinished.

Embrace and Be Proud of Your Progress

Ever since I decided to not let perfectionism get in my way of progressing, I’m always showing drafts and incomplete work. In my business, sometimes I would email my clients drafts before I even begin just to get their feedback and clarification. This is particularly helpful when I only have a vague idea of what they want. I don’t want to spend time and effort completing the job only to deliver something that’s now what they wanted in the first place.

Are you stuck at completing or launching something because it’s not done yet? If yes, talk to the person you trust and show them what you have come up with so far. Get their thoughts and feedback. You don’t necessarily need to accept everything they say. You just need another perspective or assurance of your work.