Creating something that you want to be great is a really difficult process. I’m not even talking about the need to come up with how to create it, the process of deciding what to create, or how to get in front of people’s faces with good marketing. I’m simply looking at the idea of making something that is great, but not necessarily needing to be perfect.
That word ‘perfection’ is a very tricky thing because you want to make something that is worthy of your time and recognition but ultimately perfection is a falsehood. It’s a goal that cannot be reached, yet we strive for it every day. We know it deep down, but keep running after it.
That’s the tricky thing, isn’t it? it’s good to strive for perfection, but we must remember this is not the goal. Instead, we must do everything within the understanding it’s about progress.
In college, I volunteered in a youth and college ministry with a couple of friends of mine. Part of our self-imposed job descriptions was to make videos to be used to setup a sermon with great visuals and illustrations. My friend and I worked great together as I would end up coming up with the sermon ideas, creating the narrative, and making the first mockup of the video with basic audio, images, and transitions. My friend then took the time to make sure everything was perfect.
I would have difficulty with this process because I wanted to create something great, but have it finished so I could start something else. My friend wanted to create something great, but with full excellence. We worked off each other well to the point that he would let me do my thing and then obsess over it.
At least once, we had a bit of a standoff where he wanted to make more corrections, but if we did not immediately start to render the video, the video would not be ready in time for the sermon. He definitely could have made it better. It was not a matter of him being lazy or unqualified. We just did not have the time. We had to settle with the quality we had.
How To Differentiate Between Progress and Perfection
Sometimes the line between progress and perfection is so thin you do not even know that you have crossed over into an obsession. So how do we know when we need to have something finished? When is good ‘good enough’? Here are three ideas to help you differentiate between the two.
It starts with understanding that perfection is not possible, unless you are Jesus. This world is broken and with brokenness, we have insecurities, failures, and shortcomings. You can do all you want to give the best sermon or worship experience possible. For your own motivation, be rational with how you go about it and identify the minimum quality you can have. If you struggle with acceptance, bring in another party to review your strategy.
We also need to eliminate the comparisons of our work to someone else’s. You should not hold your standard to someone that has more or less experience than you. Who knows how much time, energy, money, and support someone had before they crafted that stage design or video? Further, God made you as you, not you as someone else. Play to your strengths, surround yourself with others who can complement your shortcomings, and keep your eyes on the objectives, not on how well your stuff turns out compared to others. With the mentality of comparison, someone always loses.
Recognize Time Management
If you have five tasks that need to get done this week and you have 40 hours in your work week, you need to manage your time effectively. Time management understands when you have to stop, evaluating what good enough is in light of the stopping point, and spending a couple of moments of touch up, only if you have time left over. Effective time management also means when you schedule those projects, you give a fair and accurate assessment of what you need to commit to the project, along with a significant amount of margin in case things go wrong or you grossly underestimated your abilities.
After reading this, how do you personally react to the thought of striving for perfection but accepting progress?