I don’t hope that anything I write sucks, of course.
However, it’s illustrative of a point I made to a client last week that we agreed would be worth sharing with you here.
See, there’s this whole perfectionist tendency among many creatives that leads us to do everything from stalling out before we even start on up to surrendering to overwhelm.
If this sounds familiar, either way, the result is the same: You’ve not shared your gifts with the world. Everyone loses.
Those times when you’re thinking, “I can’t promote my website; it sucks,” or, “Oof, I really wish my footage were stronger,” or, “This bio is garbage; please don’t read it,” you’re really just protecting yourself.
But what you’re protecting yourself against is NOT failure or judgment or rejection. What you’re protecting yourself against is the inevitable — the FUTURE you.
Future you is more talented, better trained, more deeply invested in relationships, more experienced, and better equipped to do these things you’re currently judging yourself about.
So… you’re pretty much — in your current youness — protecting yourself against future you, whom you believe will judge you for ever having let any of this stuff out into the world.
Why is future you suddenly a dick about all the growth you’ll have experienced by then?
I like to think that future me is SO PROUD of current me.
I’m fairly secure in saying that current me is flat-out inspired by past me and all she’s been through and how much she boldly put out into the world before she was *technically* ready. SURE, there are flaws I can easily find in some of my earliest columns, that first “real” bio, those inaugural episodes of everything I’ve done. Of course.
But what I mostly find aren’t flaws, they’re reasons to go forward with whatever I’m feeling hesitant to put out there TODAY.
(On that, HUGE thank you for the ridiculous amounts of support and love I got for last week’s BonBlast. I *so* appreciate you letting me get vulnerable with you and having you say, “Yes! This HELPS.”)
When I’m told, “This is your best work,” my immediate response is, “I *hope* this isn’t my best work! If I’m not constantly getting better — so that the NEXT thing I create is ever-more epic — I might as well stop creating today.”
So it’s not that I hope this sucks. Of course not! What I hope is that it’s the best I’m capable of at this moment in time and that I’m just getting started.
Same with you.
Don’t wait to put your work out into the world. Share your gifts. No, this may not be your best ever, and future you can do better. But current you is all you’ve got today and getting okay with the work being something you’ll be better at later is part of what today’s work includes. Technically, you don’t WANT it to be your best.
Think about it: If your website is the best it’ll ever be, you’re selling future you really short. Same with your marketing plan, your demo reel, your craft, heck, even your relationships!
It’s all up from here!
But you don’t get to rejoice in all the badassery that is future you — confidently putting more and more of your creative brilliance into the world — if you sit on whatever it is you’re judging or feeling overwhelmed about today.
Kick it in gear, y’all.
Put it out there.
And keep getting better. We’re never done with this. 😉 All of us! As creatives, this is true for us all and I’m glad to share this with you.
Now share something with me today.
Pop a link in the comments below so we can all celebrate exactly how awesome it is to suck like this today… knowing it’s only up from here.
Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!
You crack me up, Bonnie, mainly because this is so right on. Thanks for being you (the best you for right now) and always keeping it real.
God bless you.
You know it! XO
Yes, high five, woohoo!
This is definitely me. However, I’ve been experiencing really great gains these past few years. Last year, I decided to accept my blessings for the gifts they are and not judge them based on where I think I should be. I’ve been updating my resume, reel & website and it gave me an opportunity to see how far I’ve come over the years. Now, I appreciate my journey that much more.
Can I share your words via social media?
Sure thing! Be sure to share a link so your fans can come over and comment here too. 💫
Yup, just did this to myself yesterday. I need to get out of my own way!
You’ve got this!
Sometimes you don’t know what you need to hear until someone says it.
Thanks, you really do rock!
Time to start working on my next blog entry.
Glad this resonated with you! Keep on rockin’! 🙂
As an improv mentor told me…”fail gloriously”
That’s right!! <3
OMG if you all could watch the video I posted this morning it was about the SAME THING WHAT!! I’m taking an advanced improv class & normally I excel and I’m flopping left & right and whined all the way home last night and was about to quit. I woke up this am and had this smack of ok so you suck at this and that’s ok. Because working through it will make me better. I’m so glad I got to see the blast today it more than landed for me
You are so right, Lisa! The important thing is that you’re showing up. Keep on keepin’ on!
Omgosh this is right on time (as usual) Bonnie! I love all these amazing comments, so many of us in the same boat! 😄 I’m totally a perfectionist (and an Obliger, which probably doesn’t help, haha), but recently I’ve begun to realize how much my tendency towards protectionism holds me back in soooo many things. So thankful for the awareness, because at least that’s a start, and I can begin to work toward letting go of it bit by bit. I’m always reminding myself, “Excellence does not require perfection.” Such a wonderfully encouraging blast! Thanks Bonnie!
<3 <3 <3
EXACTLY what I needed right now. Thank you thank you thank you for magically crawling into the dark hidey hole whispery spots in my brain, yelling “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” And then blasting them with light so I could clearly see them, too. Right on the money, honey. Thank you!
Thank you so much, Bonnie . I feel I went from confident performer out of college to years down the line now second-guessing everything, because one person says everything needs to be polished before it gets out there, another says just show us you, whatever you have. So much back and forth! I never feel the pieces I’ve done on my own are “polished”enough. Thank you for encouraging us to just go for it.
Absolutely! We’ve always got room to grow. 🙂 Here’s to being enough, no matter how “polished”!
Yeah. Today was pretty suckky for my career. But, tomorrow is a brand new day, and I’m startin’ it, now! Thank you for the inspiration, Bon…and all the other positive comments given.
I made this little parody recently, and I feel very vulnerable whenever I send it to someone or post it online 🤪
Proud of you! Thank you for getting vulnerable and putting yourself out there.
This is so spot on and, even as I know its truth, I find myself protecting myself from future self or being embarrassed for where I am now. When you lay it out like this it makes so much sense. It’s a big old reminder of accepting where you are, pushing through, risking failure by growing. I am finding myself very protective of my writing because I don’t know what i’m doing, just writing what interests me and moves me. Yet there is a part of me that says, Wow, I came up with an idea. I wrote that!” Maybe I don’t want anyone to rain on my small steps but i also want to improve. I will move toward sharing that part of me, which I know will help me improve, and one day I will look back and see what felt risky at the time was a necessary growth spurt.
Yes! Love seeing you lean more into this, Catherine. You concerned me with an answer to the “What’s your go-to self-sabotage” question in the Expansive Capacity assessment (for the SMFA Escape prep). I thought, “Oh, wow! She doesn’t even see where she’s limiting herself.” With THIS comment, I see you seeing it. 😉 So, yay! Ask yourself what you’re protecting yourself from. What’s so scary about having it all? About being awesome? About living your dreams? Because isn’t that what Future You is capable of?
And this is why I launched at 85% ! (Thanks Bonnie!)
So glad you did, Amy! Excited to jam with you next month!
Heck yes! This was such an inspiring read. Thank you so much Bonnie.
Here’s where I’m at creatively today in my comedic reel! (Future me is even funnier, with so much more wisdom and know how, but I’m certain future me would be proud of where I am now too. 💛)
Cheers to continuing to put ourselves out there right where we are now!
OMG, you’re adorable! LOVE how very YOU this reel is. Here’s to future you, topping even this laugh-out-loud goodness. YES! XO
I’m feeling stressed and withdrawn about my reel. It doesn’t match the quality of my headshots and resume! It doesn’t point to where I need to be headed and show casting I’m ready for next steps.
But I know how to make it better and have the footage to do it. Just gotta take the first step. Let’s seize this day!
I LOVE this, Brendan! Get that first step underway and KEEP GOING. You’ve got this! Can’t wait to see your new and improved reel!
Thank you Bonnie. Thank you. YOU REACHED me! Love the future self, past self ideas/ imagery. Really spoke to me. ONWARD! And so much love for my fellow creatives and feelers here!
You’re wonderful, Jane. 🙂 Isn’t it powerful to consider the favors we’re doing today for future us? So glad you enjoyed this one.
Ahhh Bonnie, as usual, I’m wondering if you have a camera in my house and you are watching me?! I’m just sitting here in front of my laptop, with my plot outline open so I can re-familiarise myself with what I want to write after taking some time off during the festive season and the Negative Nelly voice is all loud and up in arms. Future me can only become published if I get on with my writing now. And even if it’s not a big seller or even well-received, published is published and Future Me will be proud, no matter what. Big thanks and lots of love <3 x
I’m so proud of you, Flav! You’ve GOT this. Tell Negative Nelly you’ll meet with her at a specific time and hear her out… but right now you’ve got work to do! 🙂