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  • Writer's pictureDr. C

Progress Over Perfection

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Welcome back Infusers! We have a great blog for you today, especially if you’re a perfectionist or have perfectionism tendencies. “Why will this a great subject for me?”, you ask. Because we’re discussing “progress over perfection”.

So many of us are afraid to move forward on an idea because we don’t think it’s perfect. We don’t want to be embarrassed because we haven’t figured everything out yet, or because 10,000 people have already done it and done it better, or we don’t the right funding, or enough time, or the right people, or (you fill in the blank). As a result we either never start at all, or worse, we start, spend a lot of time and effort, and then never reveal it to the world because we’re afraid of judgement or criticism.

But imagine what type of world this would be if we all waited for the perfect product. Nothing would ever happen. The Wright brothers wouldn’t have invented the plane, Karl Benz wouldn’t have created cars, Apple wouldn’t have rolled out an iPhone (anyone remember the first versions of mobile phones?), and Post wouldn’t have created Fruity Pebbles. There had to be a string of imperfections to eventually land on something great.

The Wright Brothers, for instance, failed literally hundreds of times during the process of inventing the airplane. And trust me, you wouldn’t want to fly cross country in one of those babies.

Karl Benz spent years developing the first car, and it SUCKED. It couldn’t steer or brake or climb hills. In one of his first public demonstrations it crashed into a wall!

And what example could be better than KIDS! Having kids is about progress over perfection daily, often minute by minute. There’s no way we could become a perfect parent BEFORE we had kids. We just have them and then try to figure it out. And as any parent knows, there’s no such thing as perfect parenting, even with all the information out there today. In my case I read extensively as soon as I became pregnant. I’ve taken parenting classes, seen therapists, watched a gazillion parenting videos, and still, every day, I fail to be a perfect parent. And, amazingly, my kids are still alive.

In my own life I was terrified of taking action because I kept thinking of all the ways I could fail, all the obstacles that would prevent me from success. Some call it “analysis paralysis”.

An example in my life is a triathlon. Doing triathlon’s makes me feel tough, proud, successful, fit. I’d done a few mini-triathlons in college, then became sedentary during med school. After a certain point I thought it was a pipe dream. I told myself “I’m overweight and out of shape, I’m no triathlete”. Then, a few years ago, I embraced progress over perfection and started to train. It was a piece of cake and I entered and won the next Ironman Hawaii. Psych! Of course not. It’s never perfect. My bike flipped over a few months in. I went head first toward the concrete and got seriously injured. I haven’t been able to ride a racing bike since. My knee would hurt when I ran. But you know what? I really wanted to be a triathlete, so I swallowed my pride and decided to start small. I got a bike that I could ride without as much back pain, and I didn’t sweat it when I needed to walk instead of run. I found a tiny race, only 100 meter swim, 3 mile bike, and 1 mile run and did it! And it was far from perfect. The 100 meters was in a freezing cold lake, so I had to learn to swim in a wetsuit. When I got out of the water I was really dizzy from the cold and could barely walk, much less run. I rode my “non-racing bike like a champ”. Despite the run being only 1 mile, I walked half of it. But I have to say, I’ve NEVER been as happy or felt as successful after a race than I felt that day. It’s still my proudest accomplishment. It propelled me forward and 6 months later I completed a longer triathlon, where I was able to swim a half mile in the freezing ocean without getting dizzy, bike 12 miles, and run 3 miles. Again it wasn’t perfect. I had to walk my bike up a steep hill, and had to walk half of the 3 miles, but it was major progress over perfection! I was a triathlete! Not Ironman status, but a champ non-the-less.

And now, with a new business sprouting up, it’s Progress over Perfection daily. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at my website, It’s full of imperfections. I even cringe to ask you to visit it because there’s so much I hate about it, so much I want to change and improve. But you know what? It’s looks a lot better than it did in the beginning, and the things I put out are a little better that they were a few months ago. And a few months from now what I’m putting out will be better than today. No one can get to the top of the mountain without putting one step in front of the other, tripping a few times, sliding a little in places, and getting a little Earth and mud on them.

The point is, until there’s a first version, there’s never a perfect version. You have to start, evaluate, test and revise. After completing that sequence hundreds of times … well, it will still be imperfect and capable of an upgrade, but it will be AWESOME! As long as we continue to learn, pivot when needed, embrace challenges, and have FUN in the process, eventually we will create our own special something.

So, here’s my call to action. What’s something you’ve really wanted to do or create in life that’s been stopped in it’s track by perfectionism? Write that down (unless or driving or something – you can write it later). What is ONE, SMALL step you can take, today, that will get you one step closer to that desire? Write that down (when it’s safe). Now, go do it today. Repeat this process every day and see where you are in a year. An if you’re interested in sharing, please do so. You never know who you’ll inspire.

Let us know in the comments below, “How are you Infusing your future?”

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog or want to support my journey, please share it with people you know, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the upcoming episodes.

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