May 5, 2023
Kris: Welcome to the Design and Prosper podcast. This is episode 77, and this episode is for all the perfectionists out there. You know who you are?
Kris: Welcome. Welcome back.
Don: Yes, welcome everybody. So today we’re doing something a little bit different. We’ve never done this before, have we, Kris? It’s brand new for us, but we felt the need. We are doing an encore of an episode that we think is very, very important.
Kris: Yeah. And that is our very popular, done is better than perfect episode, which was released way, way back in June, 2021.
That’s almost two years ago. We couldn’t believe that.
Don: I know when we, we were like this, it was just so perpetual, such a perpetual issue.
It’s coming up again and again and again. We’re hearing it all the time, and we are, we are referring people to the episode all the time. So Kris and I sat down, we’re like, we were like, okay. The, we, we have to reiterate this message. Let’s, let’s do an encore. And then when we were looking back, we were like, what?
Two years ago? Okay. All right. This is important information. Mm-hmm. It really has to be shouted out loud and clear, because it’s a constant lesson.
Don: It’s gonna show its ugly head all the time. Yeah.
Kris: It never really goes away.
Don: It doesn’t go away. You’re gonna have to work at this.
Kris: Sadly. Yeah.
Kris: It’s a, it’s an ongoing practice, but it’s like anything, you know, you can’t, it’s not a one and done thing to work on stuff like this. Yeah. It’s like, you know, you’ve gotta meditate regularly,
Don: Got to exercise.
Kris: Yeah. Move your body regularly. You can’t just go, I’m done. Yeah. For the rest of my life.
Don: I’ve got the best body ever. And now just stop.
Kris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Don: yeah. That’s right. You can’t stop.
Kris: So we think it’s really important timing right now, especially with the feedback that we’ve been getting from the beautiful design community in our lives. This is coming up a lot and, we wanted to do an encore because Don and I are both very big podcast listeners. We’re really avid podcast listeners, but when I follow a podcast, um, I rarely get right back to the early episodes. I’m, I’m. Really, um, soaking up all the new stuff and I miss stuff.
So I really appreciate it when an encore episode comes back so that I can, get some of the gold from before because it’s impossible sometimes to get through the hours and hours of content.
Don: There’s so much, and I love it when podcasters say, now I refer to that in episode X, Y, Z, and it’s like, oh, thank goodness I don’t have to go and look for that gold.
They’re directing me straight to it. But more important than just directing you to this poddy, we felt it is actually time to hear it all again. Mm. We wanted, we want it to be front and centre. We wanted everybody to get this.
Now, we’ve got a bigger audience now. We’ve got lots of people coming on board, listening to us, and we want all of you beautiful people to hear this because it is such a common problem across our industry.
Kris: And hello to all the new people out there. Yeah, so excited you’re following along.
Yeah. And please do, reach out to us, let us know how you feel about this, how, um, it’s impacting you and your life and your business; and, you know, send us a DM. We’d love to hear your thoughts and we’d love to hear if it’s helped you, and, oh, one thing we wanted to talk about.
Don: Yes, I was
Kris: Yeah. I was almost wrapping up there
Don: Yeah, yeah,
Kris: But we’ve had a little twist on this over probably the last 12 months or so.
Don: Oh my gosh. This twist we have just had—has been the most beautiful paradigm shift.
Yes. Yeah. We’re using all the time, all the time.
Kris: I’ve been using done’s better than perfect since ah…we made it a mantra in our business, probably about 2005.
Don: It’s been around for a long time. Yeah. Yeah.
Kris: And we heard a new take on this and it was one of our beautiful academy students. Megan, shout out to Megan. We love you Megan.
Don: Megan we love you so much.
Kris: And she said, and it was just an innocent little comment in, um, in our Q&A session. It was in the, in the little chat. And she says, she said, done is good. And we were like, goodness
Don: jumped on it.
Kris: Done is good!
Don: It’s really good. And we just jumped on it. It was so, so beautiful.
But it actually was, uh, came home with her son.
Don: And he brought it home from school, and then she shared it with us and we are sure there are other people in the world who are saying it as well. We’ve just cottoned on in the last 12 months. And you know what? Done is good. And if you want it done can be great.
So Done is good. But I love that we can drop the word perfection completely. Yes. So it doesn’t even exist anymore.
Kris: It’s an unattainable goal. Yeah. And it’s like you’ve still got that in your framework of thinking, oh, well done. I’m done. I didn’t get it perfect. But it’s done. But yeah, done is good. Yeah. Because if you don’t do the thing, you’re not going to achieve your goals. You’ve just gotta get it done people.
Don: Yeah. You’ve just gotta get it done. I love it. And did you hear then, in Kris’s voice when she said, done is better than perfect, and it’s like, okay, I’ve got it done better than perfect.
But when she said, done is good, her whole face lit up. You’re not seeing this, I’m seeing this. It’s like, done is good. And the, your voice, a voice elevated and it, it does, it gives you that sense of achievement rather than Okay. Begrudgingly ticking off something that, you know, could have been done better or whatever.
So we love it. We love it. We’ve adopted it. We jumped straight on it and we haven’t looked back, to be honest. So even though we were saying at the very beginning, you have to work on this, it is going to be, it’s like a muscle. You have to exercise and you have to strengthen the muscle and you have to be consistent with it.
And you have to keep coming back to it time and time again. We think this subtle little paradigm shift of just dropping the word perfect out of that little saying once and for all will actually allow you a little bit more couch time. We don’t have to exercise this puppy as much because done is good and it really does feel good.
It really feels good to know that we are moving the needle when we get work done, when we get projects done, when we get admin done, when we get CEO work done, and when we are getting it done, it’s good. Yes.
Kris: We might even change the name of the, the title of the episode. Yes. To ‘Done is good’.
Kris: Yeah. Alright, enjoy and we’ll touch base very soon.
Don: Yes. Done is good.
Kris: Done is good.
Kris original audio: Today we’re talking about the mantra that every designer needs. We want it plastered all around your space, above your computer. We want it somewhere where you can see it when you wake up, pop it on your mirror.
Everywhere, we are talking about done is better than perfect.
Don Original Audio: Yes. Shout it to the rooftops. Yes. Yes.
Kris original audio: And we have talked to about this on a previous episode. We went into a little detail with it on, um, episode 13, where we talked about the things that we wish we knew before we started our graphic design businesses.
Yes. Yeah. But we felt like it’s something that really needs to be revisited.
Don Original Audio: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah.
Kris original audio: If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll, you’ll know we keep banging on about perfectionism and the negative impact it has on graphic designers and creatives, like all different kinds of creatives.
But we thought we need to revisit it because we are seeing that it impacts people’s lives so much and also just as a little side note in the interests of imperfection and embracing it and embracing done is better than perfect. This podcast episode is going to have very little editing. It’s not gonna be as polished as normal.
How about that, Don?
Don Original Audio: We are going to just, I’m, I’m loving it. I’m really excited to see what comes from that, because it’s going to be, have a lot better flow to it because we’re not as hung up on it, so it’ll be exciting to see. Yeah.
Kris original audio: Yeah. Yeah, cuz we love our QnA quickies on Instagram and we’ve just started doing QnA quickies as well on, uh, on our podcast because of that, just, you know, we just go for it and there’s no editing and it’s just, let’s go.
But when we do our podcasts often, and we get a little bit hung up on the perfectionism of editing, and it’s really, you know, it doesn’t really matter in the end and it’s, it’s not serving you and it’s not serving us. So we’re gonna experiment with not being quite so edited. All right, we’ll give it a go.
Don Original Audio: Here we go. All right, so here’s what perfectionism can do to you as a graphic designer and as a business owner, and really as anyone, as a human being. Perfectionism is so crippling, isn’t it?
Kris original audio: It really is an awful, awful thing. It can rob you of your precious time and time is so precious. It can take away the pleasure of your life.
It can lead to utter exhaustion and it can lead to feelings of I’m not good enough, which then in turns, In turn, leads to even more striving for perfectionism. Yeah. Like it’s this insidious little cycle that happens. Yeah. I’m not good enough. Okay. Absolutely. To prove that I’m good enough. I’m gonna be more perfect.
Don Original Audio: I’m going to do this and I’m gonna do extra. I’m gonna do more. I’ll do it again. I’ll do it again. Oh, I might just do it again. I’ll just do it one more time. It’s really, it can be the kryptonite in your design business. It really can be so crippling.
Kris original audio: Yes. Because we know that when we strive for perfectionism, there’s no such thing, right?
There’s no such thing as perfectionism. Yeah. So if we’re constantly striving for perfection, we are never gonna achieve it. We’re always going to be feeling not good enough, and then we’re gonna try even harder to be more perfect because this is the horrible loop that we get into. So,
Don Original Audio: yeah, absolutely.
Kris original audio: It’s an insidious cycle for sure.
Don Original Audio: It is, yeah.
Kris original audio: We’ve done a bit of research into, uh, perfection, perfectionism.
Don Original Audio: Yeah. Well, because it impacted very perfectly, but protection. I’m glad it didn’t. Yeah,
Kris original audio: we have done a bit of research into it over the years, not just for this podcast episode. No, because it’s
Don Original Audio: affected us.
Has been, yeah. It’s affected us and, and we, and it, it just is something that we were like, there has to be a better way, there has to be a better way of living life, of operating this business of our daily, there has to be a better way. So in this episode, we’ve actually brought in some references from some big guns for us, people who we really, really love and adore.
One, one lady in particular. Yeah. It’s Brene Brown.
Kris original audio: Yeah. But she has some excellent insights into, into perfectionism. And just before we get into that, would you say, Don, that possibly. I struggle with perfectionism more than you do.
Don Original Audio: Yes. It’s an absolute—not even a possibility. Definitely. Yeah. And, and it could come from our different personalities, but it also could come from my age as well.
I’ve been working on it for a little bit longer. So there are definite reasons why I’m further down the track in just not giving a damn about certain things. There are gonna be things that trip me up. I’m not gonna be able to release perfectionism easily with everything.
And sometimes, as you know, Kris, I’ll get hung up on the smallest thing and I’ll be like, what am I doing? But then there are other things that I can, big things that I actually let go of with ease that you may not, and, and that’s the, the challenge, isn’t it? There are gonna be things different to each of us individually that we’ll wanna hold onto.
So it’s just trying to strike a balance with perfectionism, isn’t it?
Kris original audio: It’s an ongoing practice. We’ll get into that in a little bit, but. Brene Brown is wonderful. I’m sure you must know about Brene Brown. She’s just everywhere now. She’s on, she’s done Ted Talks and she’s got books and she’s on Netflix.
And um, her first book that I read, and I think Donna read as well, the first of her books was Gifts of Imperfection. It was, it’s an amazing book. It’s one of her first books. Yeah. And it talks about, she describes perfectionism like this. I’ll read it out for you. Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a 20-tonne shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that really, that’s really preventing us from flight.
That’s one of her definitions of perfectionism and it’s really the bit about, you know, feeling shame, feeling judgment. Yeah, feeling not good enough, feeling. You know, unworthy for some reason because you’re not perfect. Yeah. Which then leads to that cycle of trying to be more perfect.
Absolutely. Fix the uncomfortable feelings you’ve got.
Don Original Audio: Absolutely. And it is that discomfort, isn’t it? It’s that discomfort that we have to sort of rise above. But if you haven’t read Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, we really highly recommend it. So check it out. And I’m kind of excited for you people out there who have not heard of Brene Brown because you get to dive in with that, that with that first-time feeling.
That first time you discover someone who really, really unlocks your heart. And she does that for me. And she, and she’s done that for Kris. When you discover someone like that, it’s like, oh man, it’s so exciting. So, for those of you who haven’t heard of her dive-in, you won’t regret it. She’s amazing.
Kris original audio: Oh, she’s got so much content out there. There are her Ted Talks, multiple Ted Talks. There’s her podcast — multiple podcasts. There’s so much. Yeah. So much goodness. She’s wonderful. When Donna and I have a business model where we are trying to be as authentic as we possibly can.
It’s part of, um, you know what, how we wanna show our, our values. Yep. Our values. Yes. And really, when you think about it, perfectionism and authenticity, they can’t coexist together. So if you are striving for authenticity, and I know a lot of you are, you want to show up as your authentic self. You really can’t be perfect and authentic at the same time.
So we’ll dive into this a little bit more.
Don Original Audio: Yeah, I love that. I love that so much. Yep.
Kris original audio: Yeah, because we can, you know, pretend to know it all during a meeting, you know? Yeah. I, I’m right on top of this. Or we can decide to say, “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that. Can we go a little deeper? Do you mind if I ask some more questions about that?”
But if we’re pretending to be perfect across every detail, we may lose that authenticity and actually, miss opportunities within that conversation.
Don Original Audio: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And also we really do drop the ball with the way that we wanna present our business to the world as well because we’re then racing back and backtracking and trying to reverse engineer.
What we said we did know when we didn’t know it, and when in actual fact, you’ll fast-track things if you’re just honest about things. So, yeah, absolutely. I love that example of being in a meeting. I think a lot of us may have been in that situation I certainly have, where I’ve like, they’re gonna want me to know this. I’ll look stupid if I don’t say, I know this and that, and I’ve just thrown myself under a bus.
Kris original audio: Yeah. Because you’re scrambling later to catch up. Yeah, yeah. Or you’re putting together pieces and you don’t have all the pieces. So, yeah, it’s not good. Absolutely. I know that there’s a real drive, especially amongst creatives and just the entire entrepreneurial space in general to show up as our authentic selves.
And, you know, people are really drawn to it. That’s when you look at successful people in business, it’s the really authentic people that are successful. You know, people are drawn to authenticity like bees to a honeypot. They’re drawn to the real you.
Don Original Audio: Yeah, that’s right. They can sniff out, fakeness, they can sense it.
People are like, yeah, right now I see you, or I don’t see you because you’re not showing your real self. You want to come to the fore and just really allow people to be drawn to the real you. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating when you are truly yourself, and people see you for it.
Kris original audio: People are drawn to the real, imperfect you. It’s okay if you’re imperfect because you know, with perfectionism, The worst thing is you can risk not showing up at all. You just won’t show up because it’s like, it’s not perfect.
I’m not showing up. Yeah. I’m not gonna go on socials, so I’m not gonna post that post because it’s not perfect. Yeah. And then, you know, you’re not showing up at all.
Don Original Audio: so that’s right. So let’s overcome that. Let’s, let’s look at some ways that we can really overcome perfectionism and, and kick it to the curb.
The biggest way, the first way, is to have courage. Be brave. That’s, that’s the thing. Be brave to be you.
Kris original audio: You know, some examples of that in a design business is, send off that not quite finished, not quite refined design to your clients, you know. Go on, dare you. Just try it, and see what happens.
Just consider sending it off, ripping it off like you’re ripping off a bandaid, you know, just send it away. Yes. See what happens.
Don Original Audio: That might feel so uncomfortable for some of you, and it’s like, oh my goodness. But just experiment and see what happens. We wonder, will the world fall apart?
You know, will the client not like what you’ve done? And really, at the end of the day, most likely they will love it and they will love you for it. So we’d just like you to experiment a little bit with that.
Kris original audio: Yeah, just have some courage to be imperfect. To be, it’s a vulnerable kind of position to be, because there’s a real fear around not being perceived as perfect, because you know, if you think, oh, if people see who I really am, they’re not, I’m not gonna measure up.
If they, if they see this in this concept that I don’t think is quite resolved or not quite perfect, I’m not gonna measure up and they’re gonna reject it, and then I’m gonna have trouble. But, your standards are gonna be much, much higher than your client’s standards when it comes to perfecting all those little design details and you gotta think, who am I actually doing this for?
Don Original Audio: We’ve talked about that before. When you’re kerning two letters with the tiniest little increments and the leading and then the colours—the shades are just 10% different. And you have to stop and ask yourself, who on earth are you doing this for?
And is the client even going, going to notice? And we’ve said this in a previous podcast. They don’t notice those things. They don’t, they don’t see that level, of perfectionism. They really don’t. So it really is worth letting go, but it’s an ongoing practice. You know, you’re not gonna be, all of a sudden…”I’m not gonna be a perfectionist anymore!”, and that’s it. It’s over. Yeah. You know, cured!
Kris original audio: Not a perfectionist.
Don Original Audio: That’s not gonna happen. You are gonna just have to take this on as a way of being and acknowledge it when you see it, recognize it, and just set yourself back on course again when you see it.
Kris original audio: Yeah. Sometimes I see in somebody’s bio, they might say something like, recovered perfectionist or something like that, and I’m just like, “what?” You know, how is that possible? Because. I have personally been working on this shit for decades. Like I really have!
It’s something that I work on every day. I was dealing with my perfectionism and had awareness around it even when I was a teenager. And, you know, full transparency, sometimes I’m going to slip up and I’m going to fall into that perfectionism trap and other times I’m super powerful and I’ll own my imperfection and it’s totally fine.
But it is a practice. It’s not something that you’re just probably going to do if you’ve got that as your tendency, which I do, it’s, it’s something that you need to work at and practice little acts of bravery daily.
Don Original Audio: That is the trick. Yeah. We love that. So give yourself permission not to be perfect. That’s the first step.
Everybody out there give yourself permission. It’s okay. You do not have to be perfect.
Kris original audio: Yeah. Write yourself a permission slip. Mm-hmm. I learned this technique, um, from Brene Brown. I did a course. Um, with her quite a few years ago. It was from her book—The Gifts of Imperfection. So the book that we mentioned before.
And what you do is you actually write yourself out a permission slip, a little physical permission slip, and you put it in your pocket somewhere, or you put it somewhere where you can see it every day, and it’s a reminder! You could even do it digitally, you could even put a little reminder on your phone, make a little alarm and some ideas that we have for your permission slip, things like this.
I give myself permission to be imperfect, as simple as that.
Don Original Audio: Yeah. I am allowed to be imperfect.
Kris original audio: Yes. Yeah. I’m imperfect and I love myself anyway.
Don Original Audio: Yep. I have full permission to disappoint others. That’s a good one, I love it.
Kris original audio: Yes. And you know, that might sound a bit odd to say, you know, we’re encouraging people to disappoint others.
That’s not what we’re saying here. It’s just sometimes we choose others over ourselves. Uh, we, we put others so much higher up then our own disappointments, you know? And it’s like we’re constantly just taking on that resentment. Absolutely.
Don Original Audio: Because we’re afraid to disappoint. We’re people pleasers as well in that.
I am here to tell you, coming from personal experience—it feels far worse to consistently disappoint yourself, to always be disappointing yourself and being filled with resentment when you’ve agreed to something or pushed yourself in a certain way, or you haven’t said no and you’ve chosen to disappoint yourself over saying no to somebody else. It’s crazy. I’ve been there so many times and I think that was my biggest lesson —feeling that ick, that awfulness of knowing I’d let myself down again, and it got to a point where I just didn’t wanna feel that way anymore. I was like, no, this is not cool. I don’t wanna feel this way.
Kris original audio: I think I remember Oprah saying once that there’s nothing worse than the feeling of betraying yourself. Yeah. If you’re doing that over and over and over again, it really does build up. Yeah. Especially over the years. Yeah. And Glennon Doyle talks about a lot of this too, if you’re interested in just diving deeper.
Glennon Doyle in her book, ‘Untamed’, goes into this whole thing as well. It’s really good. Yeah. Yeah. If you haven’t read it, it’s wonderful. But that last one that we said that I have full permission to disappoint others. How does that make you feel? Like, what is your level of discomfort about the thought of actually disappointing others?
Don Original Audio: Like, whoa, that would have done my head in at one point. Absolutely. Done my head in and I’m still working on that one. I think that comes from perfectionism. Yes, absolutely. But also that people pleaser element of my personality. Yeah. I’m working on that, but it’s a big one.
It would have done my head in, you know, some time ago, but now I’m completely comfortable with it because I do check-in and there are strategies for how you can check in and stop yourself from pleasing people. Stop yourself from pushing yourself to that perfection and just pause, press pause, and ask for a little bit more time so that you can really know if it’s right for you.
Digressing a little bit into people pleasing, but if you stop and say, I’ll get back to you on that, or, I can’t give you the answer to that right now. Just check my diary. I’ll let you know, I’ll let you know tomorrow. It buys you time to check in with your body to see how you feel and to see if you would be, in fact, betraying yourself.
Or letting yourself down so that then you can come back to them and say, no. Previously I had a habit of constantly wanting to please. So whatever came my way, it was “yes”, Or “sure, I’ll help you”. “Yes, I can do it.” Yes, yes, yes. Not even allowing space to stop and process my thoughts.
And the same can be said for perfectionism. You’re not even allowing space to pull back from something to question it. What am I doing? Why am I doing this?
Kris original audio: Why am I doing this? And that, that’s so important to have a little pause before you say yes. Um, Brene Brown talks about this as well. She’s got a ring that she talks about where she, it’s a spinner ring and she has to spin it three times before she says yes.
That’s like if somebody says something to her on the spot, you know, like, can you make some cookies for. You know the, the, the school. The school bake bakeoff. Yeah. Bake off. Yeah. And she’s like, has to spin the ring three times before she says that automated. Yes. Because we just get into the habit of saying automated yes’ and it’s like, well really inside we’re we’re meaning.
Don Original Audio: you know, it’s really often we’re like, I can’t believe you’ve just asked me to do that. And I can’t believe worse still that I said yes. Yeah, that’s the worst part of it, that you actually said yes. Because people will ask you to do the most amazing, astounding things at the most inappropriate times in your life.
Ridiculous things, especially in business, ridiculous things in business, in life in general. And you have to actually just pause, big pause, spin the ring three times, like Brene would, whatever, but just take stock of the situation and really work out whether it is a, a full body. Yes. For you or your whole body is shuttering with a big no.
Kris original audio: Mm-hmm. And gives of imperfection that the book again, um, Brene talks about a mantra that she lives by. And, um, in the show notes, we’ll put her a video where she talks a little bit about this as well. Um, it’s choose discomfort over resentment. And what she means by that is to choose the short term discomfort of disappointing someone by saying no.
To, to feel that short-term sensation of your skin growing and you’re feeling like, ah, I can’t believe I’m saying no to their face. And yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, or, or that discomfort of sending out something that’s not quite right, um, to choose that momentary discomfort, cuz it usually is momentary. It’s much better to choose that over experiencing the deep ongoing resentment towards yourself and then the others involved when you give into that perfectionism.
So choose discomfort over resentment. That’s
done is better than perfect – the mantra every design studio needs: gonna
Don Original Audio: be good. That momentary discomfort, like Kris just said, it’s momentary. It’s it, it is. It might be like, oh, sorry, I can’t do that for you, but when you walk away, Honestly, you will walk a little bit taller. You’ll walk away with a big smile on your face, and you’ll be so proud of yourself that you said no in the moment.
It’s so exciting to think that you are. You have that power, so just use it and be courageous.
Kris original audio: You might disappoint people. You might, yeah, you might piss a few people off, but it’s more important than that ongoing resentment. Yeah. It really is. Like it really is. Yeah, because you can’t hold that in your body and in your business.
No, for an ongoing sustainable amount of time. Mm-hmm. So the ways that you can apply this concept of saying no in your business is, you know, feel that discomfort of saying no and setting a boundary rather than, you know, resenting your client all weekend because you’ve taken on last minute work. Yeah. Yes, I’ll do that thing.
Sure, no problem. It’s five o’clock on a Friday afternoon. You’ve got this deadline that you have just told me about. Sure. I’ll do it. Feel the discomfort of saying I’m sorry. No, um, the earliest I can do it is, You know, whenever, Tuesday, Monday, whatever, whatever you decide, and then feeling that
Don Original Audio: discomfort.
Yeah. And then, yeah, you would be, you’ll be so surprised at how many people are like, oh, okay, yep. No, I can make that work. You know, the, the deadline that they’ve potentially plucked from the air all of a sudden just disappears and shifts to meet where you are at. So just again, experiment, try it, see how it feels, see how you go with it.
Kris original audio: They know if they’re being cheeky too, that, so they wouldn’t be really surprised by the boundary. Yeah. It’s just that you are too uncomfortable to set the boundary. Yeah. If, if that’s the case for you, and we’re being general here, we’re being generalists, but designers tend to have that. People pleasing thing, which is another point we wanted to talk about, which is, um, seeing the underlying reason for why your perfectionism keeps showing up again and again and again.
Mm-hmm. Because why are designers so perfectionistic and why are designers so people pleasing? Yeah. So under trying to understand and unpack where it’s stemming from is really important.
Don Original Audio: Like, it’s so important. It’s, it’s everything really. Yeah. Because if you can pinpoint that, then once you know that knowledge is power and you can acknowledging that is the first step.
Yeah. And once you acknowledge it, then you can start to release it and you can start to leave it behind instead of carrying that thing around with you. Yeah.
Kris original audio: Does it like even terrify you to disappoint people? I remember one, um, entrepreneur, um, I can’t remember who it is off the top of my head. But I remember her saying that um, her business coach set her a task every day. She had to disappoint somebody because she was so afraid of disappointing people.
Don Original Audio: Yeah. I just love it. Yeah. That
Kris original audio: she had to like step up and Okay. And then often she didn’t disappoint people at all, that people were great, but it was just like her mindset of like, oh, I’m gonna disappoint them by saying this.
Yeah. And then seeing what unravelled and seeing, sitting with those feelings cuz it is a practice. Yeah, absolutely. You can absolutely lose yourself. You know, because you wanna be everything to everybody and it hurts when people don’t like you, or it hurts when people don’t like your creations, like, and is it just because you don’t feel worthy enough?
Is that where the perfectionism is coming from?
Don Original Audio: Absolutely. Well, Brene Brown says, you know, that we try to combat not being enough by pleasing, performing, and perfecting. That’s what we do. That’s how we combat that feeling of not being enough. So here’s another affirmation for you. I am enough. I am enough. I am enough.
Kris original audio: That’s it. That’s it. Mm-hmm. Three beautiful words. Mm-hmm. Uh, we’ve heard that a lot from Brene Brown and also we love Marissa Pier. She’s really great with, um, subconscious mind work and yeah, getting into hypnosis and all that sort of thing, but just having that on your mirror, having it when you wake up, having it behind your desk, reminding yourself all the time, I am enough.
Those three powerful words, do you really believe it? Can you look in the mirror and say, I am enough and really believe it? Maybe you can’t straight away, but it’s a practice.
Don Original Audio: It’s a practice. So just say it, say it out loud at first, and you may not believe it initially, but just say it out loud. Let that be the first.
Step and then repeat it. Let that be the second step, and then eventually the momentum will lift and you’ll be saying it. You’ll be looking yourself in the eye and you will be believing it. And that’s our ultimate aim for you, is that you actually believe that you are enough.
Kris original audio: Yeah, like just say you do send away a concept that’s not quite perfect, and rather than being resentful of yourself, and your client, because like maybe it’s a, a last minute job or you’re burning the midnight oil or whatever the case may be.
Fussing endlessly over a concept, you know, is, is not the answer. So you’re gonna send it away, and you’re gonna sit and you’re gonna experience possible discomfort, and then you’re gonna breathe and say, I’m enough. Yeah, I am enough. This is enough. This solution is enough.
Don Original Audio: And can I say you trust yourself.
You do. You have to trust yourself. That courage. Be courageous and it will come. Can I just say that initially that discomfort was really palpable for me when I started saying no. And this is many years ago now. And I would, I would actually feel it. I’d start to shake. I’m very shaky person when I, whenever I’m in a really uncomfortable situation, and eventually over time with practice.
When you start to do that in the end, it, there’s a rush of, of, um, power that comes with it. When you really know and recognize that there will be resentment on the other side of the yes, and you have the courage to say no, you actually that replace that feeling of trembling fear or whatever it is, into one of being really super proud of yourself.
Because you get, you get it, you get what’s gonna come if you don’t be true to yourself, if you’re not authentic in that moment. And I’ve, I’ve found that, that that feeling, that discomfort has been replaced now with, with a sense of, yeah, no, I’m sorry. I can’t do that. And it comes. So easily and, and, and from somebody who was a massive people pleaser.
I have beautiful friends and family now come up to me and say, oh my gosh, I love you are one of the people who set boundaries so clearly. Let’s talk about setting boundaries because wow, the way you set boundaries, and I, I could, I would never have believed that I would have people say that to me, that I had to practice.
I had to practice, I had to make myself really uncomfortable and I had to get used to it. And it became really quite second nature to do a quick check in, check in, does this feel good? It doesn’t feel good. I’m gonna have to say no, I’m gonna have to set a boundary here. And so, yeah, if I, I feel like what I’m saying is if I can do it, somebody who is literally shaking in their boots and now, and now somebody who is really quite grounded in my responses, if I can do it, anyone can do this.
It just takes practice. You do have to just be courageous and be gentle with yourself and kind because you’ve got this, you can do it. Just practice, practice, practise.
Kris original audio: practice. Yay you. Oh, you can do a little role play. Do a little role play exercise to just imagine a client is saying, you know, maybe it’s Friday night.
Maybe that’s unrealistic. Maybe it’s 6:00 PM on a Thursday night, and they say, Can you whip up this flower? I’m so sorry, but I need it by tomorrow. Thank you so much. You know, they’ve not even given you an opportunity to, to say No. Well, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna say? Like, is it an an immediate yes.
Or are you gonna pause and consider the I impact it’s gonna have on your life and on your business? So
Don Original Audio: yeah. And on your adrenaline. On your adrenaline. Yeah. Your adrenals. What impact is it gonna have on those? Just, yeah, check in on that.
Kris original audio: And to practice before the adrenals kick in. That’s a good idea too. I think when we are under the pump like that or are we put on the spot? Uh, sometimes we can just come out things that words are coming out of our mouth and we’re like, what? And I’d love that technique, that Brene Brown technique where it’s just like little three spins of the ring.
Okay. Just thinking about that now. No, actually, no. Sorry. I can’t do it. So. Mm. Something to practice.
Don Original Audio: Okay. Release your ego as well. That’s a good one.
Kris original audio: We touched on, um, releasing your ego a little bit earlier, but it’s worthwhile just talking about again, because when you are driven by your ego, you’re going to make very perfectionist, perfectionistic, um, decisions with your work.
Yeah. And it’s going to, you’re gonna finesse to the, to the nth degree and you’re going to be really fussing over little details because you’re worried. But you’re worried for the wrong reasons. So it might be just about your own worthiness issues, but it’s gonna be about, well, what will other designers think?
I’ve got heaps of designers following me. What if I share this and they just think it’s crap? Um, are they gonna help your business grow?
Don Original Audio: Yeah. Yeah. And what do my friends and family think? That’s another one. Like what’s, yeah, they’re your clients. Are they your clients? No. Well, maybe sometimes they are, but maybe, but yeah.
But really, it’s, it’s just a matter of actually going, okay, is this ego? What’s, what’s happening here? And having that little check-in, and if it is ego, then release it, let it go, because that’s gonna be crippling for you.
Kris original audio: Yeah, I think we’ve all been there.
Don Original Audio: Definitely.
Kris original audio: Definitely. Yep. And as designers, we’re much more likely to get hung up on that because of the expectation that everything’s gonna be brilliant because we’re designers.
If you are gonna, um, hold back because of perfectionism, you’re not gonna show up at all. And we’ve touched on that before, but it’s like, are you missing an opportunity to serve your audience and to help them with some of your content? Because you’re actually gonna show up imperfectly, or are you going to just, um, never post it?
And never. And, and just hide out because, and who is that gonna serve? It’s not perfect. Yeah. It’s
Don Original Audio: not gonna serve anybody. That’s right. That’s right. So be brave, be brave, beautiful people. Yes. And love yourself no matter what. That’s the key, isn’t it? That’s the keys to be really loving and kind and gentle with yourself through any big changes that we make like this.
This is a big change. Like I said before, it’s a massive change for me, so, You have to be gentle and kind, especially when you find that it comes slips back in, and Chris was saying this before as well, it slips back in. So you see it and you see it for what it is. So through that process, just really be
Kris original audio: gentle.
Yeah. Have an awareness about it. Because a lot of these points that we’ve been talking about are, you know, looking and analysing what conversations you’re having in your mind, what’s the dialogue that’s going on, and when you consciously take notice of the words that you’re saying to yourself. Is it you are just being your own worst critic is, yeah.
There’s probably nobody else who’s gonna criticize you like you are. Yes. When you, when you show up as your authentic self. So talk to yourself with self-compassion and kindness as you would a loved one or a small child. Like maybe sometimes it’s helpful to think of yourself as like your three year old self.
What would I say to myself as my three year old self? You know, like imagine that cute little three-year old and what you’d say and. There’s, there’s a few self-compassion practices out there, and we really love the work of Kristen Neff, and if you’re interested, we’ll link that in the show note. Um, and so it’s about using self-compassion as a practice, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful way to talk to yourself when you’re struggling with something.
So if you’ve just sent something off and you’re feeling like, Ugh, it’s not enough, I’m not enough. You just talk to yourself like, and you say things that you would say to your friend, you put your hand over your heart. You can, you can put your hand over it. Yeah. You can soothe yourself. Yeah. It’s like a self soothing technique.
Don Original Audio: It is, it’s beautiful. Be kind. Just be kind. That’s right. And, and I’ve noticed with, um, family members, when I, when I, I have a, a daughter, she’s very much a perfectionist. And when I hear her berating herself for lack of perfectionism, because that’s what she’s striving for, I actually say to her, Hey, would you stop talking to my daughter like that?
I know I won’t, I can’t, I can’t send the thought of you speaking to my daughter like that. And she stops and looks at me and goes, oh, mum. And I’m like, no, I’m, I wouldn’t let anyone speak to you that way, so I’m not, I don’t think you should be speaking to yourself that way. You know, little things like, oh, that was stupid, or, oh, I can’t believe I, I did that, and things like that.
So, We wanna ba basically stop that negative talk, that dialogue that Kris was talking about. Stop it in its tracks and see it for what it is for the damaging, you know, how damaging it can be. You wanna, you wanna stop that? Yeah. Yeah.
Kris original audio: I would actually really love to see what happens with people when they can release this burden.
Cause it’s like a burden. It’s like, oh, this horrible armor that you are, you are wearing to protect yourself, but it’s not protecting you at all. I remember, um, having this revelation around done is better than perfect. And it was a, um, I first heard it, um, when we had, um, an Emmys business coach and she said it and it was like, oh, like the penny just dropped.
It was incredible. Like it was, I. So having that awareness was the very first step. It was like I was finally looking at myself from the outside in, and, and most of the time, most of the time I can catch myself and even sometimes when I’m catching myself from doing perfectionist perfectionistic behavior, I’ll actually stop.
Cause it’s like, as I said, it’s a, it’s an ongoing process. I can see myself doing it sometimes and I’ll still keep going, but, um, take the pressure off. Like it’s just not that serious. And that’s what I think the shift was. It was like, What are we doing? It’s design, it’s not, yeah, it’s not like, you know, brain surgery or, you know, it’s not like I’m operating, I’m on an operating table, making an incision into somebody’s heart, you know, it’s like, make it, make it a game, make it fun.
Like, Ooh, can I really design this thing in two hours? You know, let’s go, let’s see if we can do this.
Don Original Audio: Yeah. See what happens. Absolutely. Just lighten up everybody and, and really just, you know, the business of design needs to be taken seriously. Yes. And it’s a profession. Yes. And all of those beautiful things, but if we are just authentic and a little bit more lighthearted and actually say it is okay to let go of perfectionism. I am enough. I think it will be a massive revelation to you, just like Kris has described for herself that time. Yeah.
Kris original audio: Mm-hmm. Give and time. Go do it. Let it go. Yeah, let it go. Yeah. Okay. We are gonna cut out some of this podcast, but it’s only gonna be like three little sections, we promise.
It’s like we have, we’re gonna make this Yeah. Like, as, as unedited as possible in the interest of like, embracing this.
Don Original Audio: Challenge set Kristine. Oh, challenge, challenge set. Challenge set.
Kris original audio: Yes. And, that’s all on me. That’s on my shoulders. Yeah. Yes. Okay.
Don Original Audio: So, Kris will be editing, so I’m just gonna be like the little person on her shoulder going, what are you doing? What are you doing now? What are you doing? Leave it in. Yes. Leave
Kris original audio: it in. What are you doing? Yeah. Alright. I’m not gonna edit it. I, I’m, I’m hardly gonna touch it. Great. Yeah. So, um, to head to our show notes for, for more, because we’ll put some. Um, there’ll be a video link in there of Brene Brown talking about perfectionism, and we know that this has been an absolute Brene Brown love fest this episode, but she’s awesome.
Don Original Audio: And she’s awesome. Hi Brene. If you listen to our podcast, hi. Oh,
Kris original audio: how wouldn’t that be so much? There’s, oh, that would be so cool. There’s, there’s so much gold in what she shares, particularly for graphic designers. Yeah. That, that’s
Don Original Audio: how we feel it. We really feel that way. It’s, it was like Brene had written books for us.
It’s like, oh my gosh, she’s speaking to me. Oh my goodness. And to my colleagues and to my peers, and, and she’s speaking directly to us. It, it, yeah. She’s definitely somebody who we really love, admire, and respect, so, yeah. Yeah, we
Kris original audio: love. We love Brene and we love all of you. Thank you so much for listening.
Yeah. Um, we would love it if you could get on top of this and don’t be too hard on yourself about it. It’s like we said, it’s an ongoing thing, but Yeah. That you, with these challenges, yeah.
Don Original Audio: Be kind. Go have courage and be kind. Oh, hey, that’s out of, um, Cinderella, isn’t it? Um, oh, is it? Yeah. That’s what Cinderella’s mom says to her just before she dies.
Sorry, spoiler alert. And she says, just have courage to be kind.
Kris original audio: What? Cinderella’s mother dies. What?
Don Original Audio: What Donna? Sorry. Have a great, uh, have a great time letting go of, of, um, perfectionism beautiful people and, um, we will catch you at on the next podcast. Yes, have a beautiful day. Bye bye. Thank you so much for listening.
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