Not Everything Is Precious
I asked a question recently in my private Uncaged Lifers Facebook group about whether you’d choose perfect fulfilling work, or freedom and lifestyle, if you had to choose.
Would you rather have a job that was kind of “meh”, where the work wasn’t particularly fulfilling, if it gave you tons of freedom to work from anywhere with lots of time off OR would you rather have a super rigid job that works on someone else’s schedule, but be doing work that absolutely fulfilled you?
(FYI – Most people said lifestyle).
I asked this question because it comes up a lot for me when I see people trying to come up with THE perfect all encompassing business idea – the one that is perfectly in line with their values and their message and their lifestyle and their wants and needs.
And while I DO believe you can have both – work you love and lifestyle you love (and actually being able to make money) – I often see people making the work part of it SO precious that they will never feel satisfied. They think they have to come up with THE perfect business idea before they can move on (which leads, as you might imagine, to procrastination, self doubt, and basically getting nowhere). Which means they are unwilling to let go of their ideals (and ideas) and actually create something marketable. Just because you love you idea and think it’s great, doesn’t mean people will buy it.
Not everything is precious.
I first heard this line from a client of mine last year who is an artist. One of her art teachers once said this to their art class, indicating that if you put SO much stock in making the work you do perfect, holding it so near to your heart that it will never be good enough, you will suffer and your art will suffer.
And I believe that the same goes for business. Not everything you create is precious. Come up with an idea that feels pretty good, and get out there and make it happen.
Yeah, sure, I think we all have something about us that is special, and that we can create a business that is in line with who we are and what we’re all about. But if you’re waiting for your business to perfectly incorporate every single bit of your personality+quirks+passions+lifestyle+interests+hobbies+beliefs+values, if you’re not willing to move forward until you feel totally 100% clear that this is THE perfect business for you for the rest of your life – you’re fooling yourself.
I have yet to met anyone who has come up with an idea and stuck with it. No one. Not even me.
Things shift and change. Ideas mould and form and expand. And where you start will never be the same as where you end. Ever. Once you dig in, you might find that what you are trying to sell is way too vague, broad, or confusing for the people you are trying to market to.
Not every idea is precious. Not every idea will actually be something people want to buy. And you need to be willing to change what you’re doing to fit your market’s wants and needs. You need to be flexible about your offers and your ideas. If you cling to them too tightly, you may just find yourself climbing for dear life to business ideas that are not working. And the longer you cling, the harder it is to let go.
Sometimes, just making money doing something that feels pretty easy and fun to you, is enough. Not everything has to a manifestation of your life purpose, defined.
You don’t have to come up with a world shattering idea that only YOU can deliver. (In fact, I highly recommend you don’t try to do that. No need to reinvent the wheel, and it’s likely if you’re creating something totally new that no one has ever heard of or experienced, you’re going to have a hella hard time selling it).
Think about it. You could be slugging it out in an office, working for someone you loathe doing work you cold care less about. Or you could be working for yourself, on your own terms, doing work that you do actually kinda care about.
Which are you going to choose?
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Dumb question right? Clearly, doing something you actually care about, for people you care about is WAY better than chumping it out at the job you couldn’t give a crap about. Even if the work you care about isn’t your ideal perfect dream job, it’s still a step in the right direction.
I think part of the problem comes from all the stuff that gets spewed out on the internet about creating work that fuels your PASSIONS. We are led to believe that we always beed to be striving for perfection, that we shouldn’t settle for anything less. And this puts a ton of pressure on us to figure out THE perfect thing. And when we can’t figure that out, we feel stuck and we don’t get anywhere.
We need to stop making everything so precious.
I certainly don’t feel like Uncaged is the PERFECT business for me. It’s getting there, and it’s always a work in progress. And when I started, I DEFINITELY didn’t have a crystal clear idea of what I wanted to do or where it was going to lead me. I just knew I needed to start something.
Please. I beg you. Take the pressure off yourself for everything to be perfect. If you want to do work you care about and have the lifestyle you want, you have to start somewhere and possibly sacrifice some of the pieces at first. You will continue to create a better and better version of your business as you go along.
And think about this: What if it will never be perfect? What if you will always be striving to refine something, to change something, to make something a better fit? If that’s the case, and there is no perfect endpoint, wouldn’t you rather get started now rather than waiting indefinitely for things to feel “just right”?
Think about it. And tell me what you think in the comments below.
And if you like this post, share it using the social media buttons below. I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there who need to hear this message.
otitiovuewhorie totally agree with you Otiti, I believe we should do what trust ourselves and embrace what we were here to do 🙂
What I liked about this post is that it highlights the tension many new business creators feel about creating something that will last them forever. I don’t see this as a case for perfection, but it’s a secret fear about change. Even though that seems paradoxical: creating your own business is about dealing with change pretty much on a daily basis, right? But, the reason why most people want to create their own jobs have more to do with flexibility in how you use your time (ie: staying home or traveling extensively) than being really romanced by the concept of constant change.
So it seems to make sense that people just want one career that you can do forever – because people aren’t fleeing 9-5 jobs because they crave instability or unpredictability (people who are naturally like that wouldn’t have a 9-5 in the first place). Because having one career you can do FOREVER, is the SAME MENTALITY WE HAVE ABOUT 9 TO 5 WORK. Everyone laments the fact that you no longer get a pension, that you no longer can stick with one job or employer for the rest of forever. Many, many people would happily take a job that was do-able, paid well, and gave them significant time off… and was a 9 to 5.
This also plays into the “I don’t know what idea to turn into a business” because they’re using a 9 to 5 mentality to think about building their business, which doesn’t work.
Great post! <3
I think it’s important to make the distinction between precious and valuable. Something precious is flat-out perfectionism, and something valuable is meeting yourself where you are with what you’ve got. Something valuable is the courage to ship an idea or product that scares yet expands you.
Like you said, waiting to get THE precious idea or lifestyle or whatever is just a waste of time, and it’s also a cop-out because then you’re not challenging yourself to MAKE this moment count. You’re not challenging yourself to dance past the fringes of your comfort zone and make some magic in “the wilderness of your intuition:.
Make the leap. Jump. Trust. Fly. Put yourself out there and DO something already; your value lies in your doing and believing in yourself.
yasminekhater You know it, Yasmine! 😉
I have a friend who likes to say 80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer…
In my experience the most important part is that people are clear on “why” they do something and then they can let what they do grow with them over time…
As it is…Imperfect AND Awesome.
Great post Becca!
Aaaaah Becca you did it again! I swear you crawl inside my head and then write these posts. 🙂
I can’t tell you how helpful this is!!! (And it’s so obvious…duh…why do I always need the obvious pointed out to me?! Geez.)
When I was in college I completed 3 full years and still hadn’t chosen a major. Finally the advisors were like “aaah…you need to choose a major or you can’t take any more classes”. But how could I choose?? I have so many interests, and what the hell would I want to do THE REST OF MY LIFE?!
Then a very helpful counselor said this simple truth and I was free, “You don’t have to choose something you’ll want to do the rest of your life. Just choose something that interests you RIGHT NOW”.
I am definitely my own worst enemy. 🙂 Thanks again!
I needed to hear this SO badly today. I am a perfectionist when it comes to just about everything, and I honestly think it’s prevented me from enjoying a lot of things that are pretty damn cool, but maybe not “perfect.” I seem to keep finding little tidbits like this all over the web that are telling me it’s totally okay to start from where you are. Maybe it’s time I start believing it!
Thank you Rebecca for another awesome post.
I SWEAR – you were definitely writing this about me! I JUST sent my “mastermind” group of friends a novel-esque email about all of my worries, questions, doubts, etc. related to my two businesses – and asked them for THEIR input (clearly because I lack the confidence to just make decisios and move forward on my own).
If I would just close the worry-book and get busy (or keep busy!) with what I should be doing instead, boy howdy would I make a lot more progress (and money!). I’m a perfectionist, over-planner, over-thinker, over-worrier, over-stresser, over-everything kinda gal…and it MUST stop! In my heart, I know I am still doing more than most people even dream of doing…and I know that I am more courageous than I seem (and than most)…but geeeeeez….this worrying has got to STOP! I come from a worrying family…and it is been instilled in me. But, it’s time to just QUIT! I get nowhere with all this worrying about making sure very possible duck is not just in a row – but perfectly spaced and positioned in that row! OY VEY!
Thank you for this!!
This was right on! I definitely needed to hear that today, too! I know that I “live in my head” more than I live in my actual body and really need to start taking more action.
Erica Gordon Yes! Get out of your head and get moving!
stefanih yessss! Thanks for sharing this Stefani! Time to get over the over-ness 🙂 Things might not be perfect, they might NEVER be… and when we can accept that it becomes WAY easier to take action!
Erica Lee Strauss You’re welcome! Believe it 🙂
KarenTaggart haha I AM IN YOUR HEAD! creepy. Nice advice from the counsellor!
SchuylerKaye awesome saying!I’m stealing it!
DrivenByTatiana YES awesome analogy. Thinking like an entrepreneur is WAY different than thinking like a 9-5er!
otitiovuewhorie …put WAY more eloquently than I said it! Thanks Otiti!
Agree 100 percent. In fact, I just did a quiet launch of my own business following this logic. It will offer something people need and are looking for, and it will provide me with a lifestyle of freedom — once I have some clients, of course. 🙂
Is it the be-all, end-all expression of who I am? Is it my life’s true passion? No. But I have other outlets for that. I don’t necessarily want to blend everything about myself into my business.
So thanks for putting this message out there and validating my own experience. My passion comes from my strong desire to create a working lifestyle that allows me freedom.
I thought this was a great and very practical and useful post. I love it Rebecca. I hope to work with you when I am ready. I really like what you are sharing. Thank you!
[…] talked a few weeks ago about how not everything is precious – how you can’t take your work SO seriously that it has to be perfect. It might never […]
It’s precious as long as you care, and take it seriously. You’ve written in another post about how a business is like a baby. It is for most people, especially small business owners. It becomes a large part of their identity. The decisions then tend to be more emotional than logical. A surefire way to get over this is to lose your prize business. One you built up over years. It could be a lot like watching your child die. But if you learn anything from it, you may emerge stronger. And know not to identify with your business (which goes against the whole business with purpose concept) and to spread your (identity’s) eggs. Or not.