“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” C.K. Chesterton
Recently, a psychologist who I deeply respect sent me an email regarding my book for teens, Take 5 for Your Dreams. Here’s an excerpt:
“I was nearly in tears reading your beautiful book…Somehow you were able to take such huge concepts and bring them into focus for moms and teens in a way that was just beautiful – I love the graphics too!”
OMGosh, are you kidding me?! I respect her work with women and teens and was humbled by how clearly she captured the intent and essence of the book. She also passed the book onto a few friends who run mother-daughter book clubs. Wow. Really? That’s quite an endorsement.
But, in addition to taking in all of her juicy, feel-good encouragements, I felt a little embarrassed that she read my book…and had to resist the urge to enumerate the major flaws and inadequacies of the book in my reply. Not out of insecurity, but because objectively Take 5 could be a whole lot better and a part of me wanted her to know that I knew that.
But I did talk myself out it…that would not serve a useful purpose. As imperfect as it is, Take 5 has also impacted thousands in a positive way. Besides, despite its flaws, I did it – I published a book about a topic that matters deeply to me, all while raising two kids and running a profitable consultancy business. The process was pretty darn messy, but also incredibly rewarding.
The moral of the story is do something that is so important to you that it is worth doing badly. Please don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t let perfect get in the way of making your difference in the world and living a happier life. Don’t wait for the perfect timing because we all know when that will be. Most importantly, whatever you do, don’t wait for permission to do that thing you want to do.
Other than newborns and nature, I have never seen any flawless work released into the world. Start today. Do something that it is so important to you that it is worth doing badly.