“I constantly have to fight that inner resistance that tells me if I can’t do it perfectly, then I shouldn’t even start.”
“I’m afraid it won’t be perfect enough, which I know in my head is ridiculous yet I can’t get past it.”
“I’m afraid I won’t like the end result or I’ll see a cuter idea after I’m done.”
If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. These are actual quotes I have received from you guys, my beloved readers, worried about trying a new project or painting a piece of furniture. Honestly it makes me really sad reading them.
As a recovering perfectionist and control freak myself, I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s scary to try new things – the fear of the unknown, the fear of messing up, the fear of wasted time or supplies.
“Done is better than perfect.” One of my favorite online mentors Amy Porterfield says this quote often, and it’s become my new mantra. (I have to remember it when my kids fold their own laundry or my husband puts the dishes in the dishwasher, ahem) I might need to tattoo it on my arm.
It is so easy to get caught up in the fear of failure – or of not being absolutely perfect – that we fail to make any real progress at all toward our goals. How long have you been putting off that project? It’s just a dresser. Or a chair. Or a whatever. If you make a mistake, there are ways to fix it. If you do change your mind afterward, you can repaint it. If someone criticizes your work, then maybe they don’t have a clue what looks good anyway.
No one started off as an expert. Tackle a simple project first that you don’t care about messing up (for example, not your great-grandma’s antique buffet). Scour blogs and Pinterest for ideas. Read articles and watch YouTube videos to study techniques. Get the proper supplies, set aside a little bit of time to prep, and then more time later to actually do the work. If it’s your own piece, don’t try to impress anyone else but yourself. It may not end up perfect, and that is perfectly okay. It’s not permanent. You can change it anytime. If there are tiny imperfections, chances are no one else will even notice them. You’re always going to be your own worst critic. Remember: Done is better than perfect.
With every project, you will get better. You will get more confident. You still may get nervous sometimes to try a new technique (I still shy away from certain techniques, but I’m working on it). I promise the fears will start to subside once you dive in.
For more motivation, you may also find my free guide “Just Paint It: 7 Tips for Transforming Furniture with Confidence” helpful. Click Here or the box below this article to have it delivered to your email address.
So, has fear been holding you back? I encourage you to go for it. You’ll never know what might happen unless you try. And you might even be pleasantly surprised!
Haha…this is so me! I have so many ‘gonnas’ just waiting for me to tackle. (that’s what I call my projects because I’m ‘gonna’ do them…well…someday!)
I even have projects that I’ve painted and want to stencil…but just haven’t had the guts to do the stenciling. (what if I mess it up? then I have to paint again! oh no!)
Thanks for the inspiration to just jump in and do it! After all, my style is shabby chic….and who cares if it’s more ‘shabby’ than chic!
Lois Stimax says
My version of this quote is “Perfection is highly over rated”!! I like the idiosynchrocies of hand made items.
You are like my Hubby! If it’s not right, he’ll keep doing it over & over! UGGGG!!!
I love what my Daddy told me years ago when I was a little girl, “If it looks perfect, it looks store bought! If that’s what you’re going for, then keep working your tail off. If I want store bought, I’ll go buy it. BUT I want it to look handmade!
So Jen, my question to you is; Do you want it to look store bought, like everyone else’s? Or do you want it to look like a JEN ORIGINAL??? I want the Jen original. It would mean so much more to me, something I will always treasure. So what do you pick Sweetie, store bought or YOUR’S? I love your “originals” and if I make something from something of yours or anyone’s, I give it enough twist to make it mine.
I love this! Thanks for sharing?❤️
Linda Jung says
You’re welcome, but the credit goes to my Daddy.
Just Justin says
Inspiring words! 🙂
Linda Jung says
Thanks! I live by my Daddy’s words even today with everything I do. As a kid I think I was trying to get my things to look like his. And he knew I could never be able to achieve that. So I would never give up at anything, he gave me great advice. I just wish I could get my Hubby to do the same. His Dad was the polar opposite of mine…Perfection!
Karen Marie Kedzuch says
Mishaps are Character. They happen in life and furniture. I am going through a bit of a perfection struggle right now. After an medical break I did not plan on taking I am worried about how to start. It won’t be good enough for people to understand a break and coming back takes time. I want to start a painting project but don’t know that I have the stamina to get her done Thanks for writing to me today.? I realize now I just need to start. I may not be perfect right now. I am still me.
My mantra is “perfection is in the imperfection”!
Marie|The Interior Frugalista says
Amen Sistah! Sharing and pinning this
Marie|The Interior Frugalista recently posted…Mom’s Wooden Stool Got A Befitting Makeover
Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have quite a few pieces of furniture that I want to paint and it seems to be taking me forever to get started.
Bonnie, you are welcome and You Can Do It! Just start slowly and once you get going and start seeing your progress, it makes it that much more exciting to keep going and see the end result. I have faith in you.
Thank you Jen, for giving the confidence to finish a tray for my granddaughter I don’t know how it’ll turn out but I feel bad that she the 5 year old keeps asking if I’m finished.
I have been guilty of that too… my poor kids! I’m sure your granddaughter will love it no matter how it turns out. It will be special just because you gave it to her. 🙂
When I have a project I want make, I can visualize it already finished in my mind. That works against me because it looks great in my mind, so I never start on it! It can be a curse to be creative AND see beyond the work to the final product. A bit of artistic procrastination.
Karen Anderson says
These are all my quotes exactly! I have a desk that has been sitting here with 3 drawer fronts painted for 13 months!!! I have changed ideas about the color, and wash at least four times! I just wish I was already using this desk for my Cricut like I planned. When will I ever decide and move forward.
Karen, Just Do It! (I say that with tough love) 🙂
Karen Anderson says
Rose L. says
I learned long ago that nothing is every perfect so all must be loved with flaws and all. Heck, it would be boring if everything was perfect!
Rose L. recently posted…THE SHACK
That’s absolutely true!
Just Justin says
This really helped me today. Someone once called me, “an anorexic perfectionist” because I wouldn’t even start a project until I had absolutely everything I needed to finish it. I’m getting better at letting things go…so, I know how you feel! 🙂
Just Justin says
Sorry…one more thing…I decided that I was just going to tackle the project and finish it…live with it for a few weeks and if I didn’t like it…I’ll change it up… We do this with clothing styles, wall colors, room decor, etc. The majority of the time, it grows on me and I end up loving the end result. 🙂
Yes, so true! The same has happened to me. We either grow to like it or maybe we just don’t feel like changing it again. Haha
Sue Patterson says
It was definitely my lucky night to have ‘stumbled’ upon your site Jen! Thanks for your free book, fantastic ideas & more. Looking forward to visiting & seeing MORE!
Jen, Girl in the Garage says
Thank you so much Sue – welcome!!! 🙂