Perfection & Creation

But do you liiiiiiiike et?????!!!!!!!

This one question would illicit rolling laughter.

But only when the person who asked it would exit the room and be long out of ear shot.

Mean? Well, not exactly nice.

During college, I worked as a fabrication specialist at an electro-mechanical engineering firm. We figured out how to take client’s concepts and develop them into working product prototypes through to production. The firm was small, crazy, and inspiring. It would be a normal day to walk into the office and have to duck your head to miss being hit by a flying helicopter or asked to test out a new wacky product being developed for a client. Most of the people who worked there have gone on to do and make some pretty incredible things. It was a special run of years where magically the right talented people joined together to create some incredible things. I am forever grateful for the experience.

So, back to –

But, do you liiiiiiiike et????!!!!!!

There was this one designer we worked with frequently. He was foreign with a thick accent, incredibly handsome, super nice, impeccably dressed, and a great designer. He was an ideal client, and not only because he was easy on the eyes. Did I mention he was good looking? Unfortunately, I was not his ideal client. (wink wink)

Anyway, I will refer to this gentleman as Robert, which is not his real name, to protect his identity. Rooooooobeeeerrrrrr, remember he’s foreign.

Robert was really talented. He was also a perfectionist.

Frankly, he was in good company because everyone who worked at this firm was a perfectionist. Myself, included. My job was to make things PERFECTLY for clients. Nothing less was acceptable.

It has taken me years to recover from perfection and I still slip back into when I least expect it. It is definitely ongoing personal work. During speaking engagements, I often get asked to speak about perfection because so many of us struggle with this. It comes up pretty much with all my clients because they fall into ‘high performing’ category of people who tend to be… perfectionists.

Robert would have us develop prototypes for him and through the process, he would come in to discuss the designs and we would make adjustments based on our meetings. We would be discussing the materials, proportions, and function- everything design related. We all loved his work and were so thankful that he had good taste and was easy to work with. Let me emphasize that his work was really good. As I’m sure you know, it really sucks to work with bad designers or bad clients in general.

We would be having these design discussions and at the end, Robert would always ask, multiple times to everyone—But, do you liiiiiiike et??!!!!!

I think we all thought, how could we not like it?! It’s amazing!

But, that wasn’t the point. Robert’s question made us all uncomfortable because we all knew, although we never discussed it, that Robert needed to be reassured that the work was good. He needed to be reassured that HE was good. His feelings of not being good enough would bubble to the surface and he couldn’t help himself. It made us all uncomfortable, because we knew what that feeling was like.

It’s really hard and scary to put yourself out there. When you create something, whether it is a piece of art to building a business, you are a part of it. No one wants to be judged or ridiculed in any capacity. The closer the work is to your heart and being, the harder it is to put it out.

It’s not surprising that Robert needed the support. It was just so tough to see it in a grown man who seemed so desperate for approval. Most people go to great lengths to hide this. I don’t think Robert realized how he came across. It is very hard to be self aware in this type of situation.

Most of us hide behind our perfection. We want things to be so perfect that people won’t see the vulnerable part of us. They won’t actually see us, just what we’ve created and aren’t we perfect when we have created perfection? What really ends up happening is that perfection can never truly be reached. It becomes this obsession and never good enough as the bar continues to be raised, usually by us. Or, it seems so overwhelming that we do nothing. We create nothing. What if we fall short? What will people think? Who will I be?

What do you do when you feel uncomfortable? You laugh.

After Robert, whenever someone in the firm worked on a project and they came up against that uncomfortable part, questioned themselves, or would feel they needed some support, they would ask- But, do you liiiiiiike et???!!!

To this day, I whisper these words when I catch myself feeling vulnerable in any creation. It makes me crack a smile, lighten up, and remind me that it doesn’t have to be perfect. My less than perfect is much higher than most people’s perfect and in the end it really doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It just needs to be created.

So, as I press publish on this post I just have to ask—

But, do you liiiiiiike et??????!!!!!!

Let me know, below, if this resonated with you.

If you liked this post, please share and sign up for my newsletter above!

A bientôt,

Annick