Less Than Perfect, and That’s OK

(written by Sara Beth)

“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.” ― Rebecca Wells

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” ― Ecclesiastes

“Stop wasting time surfing the internet looking for quotes about procrastination and just write the blog post already…” ― Sara Beth Erdman (to Sara Beth Erdman)

I’ve been thinking a lot about procrastination lately, and the reasons behind it. This is possibly due to the fact that this blog post is more than a week past due. I wish I had a good reason (for example: “I’ve just been invited to SO many holiday parties” or “I was busy getting all my shopping done ahead of time!”), but in all honesty, it’s for one reason. I’m a procrastinator.

We all procrastinate on some level. I’ve had a long day, so I’ll hit the gym tomorrow… I know I should start that new work assignment, but it’s not due for another week… It feels OK at first. Heck, it feels great at first, because it allows us to delay facing a task that is difficult or uncomfortable. But when all those unfinished tasks start to pile up, it can become overwhelming. And when it keeps us from moving forward in other areas of our life, it can become a major obstacle in achieving a desired state of health and happiness.

So why do we put things off when doing so causes such anxiety? Primarily, it’s because of a deeper level of fear that comes from stepping out of our comfort zone. We want the conditions to be perfect before we can take action. We’re afraid of a less-than-perfect outcome. And we’re afraid of what others will think if we display anything other than our less-than-perfect selves.

On an energetic level, this fear of being less than perfect causes our Qi to stagnate and “get stuck”. Also, the anxiety and worry caused by procrastination consumes our Qi and depletes our energy reserves. We become stuck and worn out at the same time, making it even more difficult to face the task at hand. When our Qi stagnates, it can also lead to physical discomfort such as muscle tension, headaches, pain, insomnia, and depression. In Chinese Medicine theory, the Liver is the organ that helps our Qi to flow smoothly through our bodies. It’s also related to the wood element. Think of it like the branches of a tree – strong enough to grow upward and outward, yet flexible enough to bend with the wind. When our Liver Qi stagnates, we are unable to move, flourish, and grow.

One of the best things you can do when you find yourself stuck is to take action. Any action. Setting aside the fear and simply beginning a task means you’ve overcome the biggest hurdle, and you’ve given your Qi momentum to keep moving forward. If that’s still difficult, try moving your Qi in other ways. Going for a walk, gentle stretching, or any form of exercise can often help to unblock your mind. And, of course, acupuncture is always helpful in removing any kind of blockage which keeps you stuck, whether it be physical or emotional.

And if all else fails, keep in mind another of my favorite quotes:

“Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, author of “Lean In”, and all-around successful woman.

I hope you enjoyed this less than perfect but completed blog post!