Done is better than perfect.

February 3, 2020

By Arianne Shipley, COO and Co-Founder, Rogue Water

This seemingly simple sentence, which Jon Acuff used in his book “Start,” holds a powerful, life-changing message — one that has consistently empowered, relieved, and reframed my every day since 2014.

It empowers me to be bold, to recognize that perfection is a myth. When I think I might be done, I’m done. I can own it and move on to the next task.

It relieves me of the self-imposed pressure of perfection, from “getting it right” the first time, or any time. It relieves me from agonizing over mundane details, continuously making microscopic edits, and stressing over little things that no one notices or cares about.

It reframes the way I treat myself so I can focus on the big picture. I give myself grace and allow myself to be vulnerable. I don’t have to be afraid of failing — only of never trying.

For someone like me, who has a close working relationship with anxiety and imposter syndrome, these five words have become my mantra. I repeat them over and over in my mind when I need a kick in the rear during the workday, in the endless hard moments of parenthood, in social settings, and when I need a little more headspace.

This mantra is not about lowering the bar or caring less; it’s about caring about the right things, shrinking the black hole of “unfinished projects,” and doing away with countless ill-spent hours nitpicking to no discernible end. If the question is between perfect but never done, or done but never perfect, sign me up for the latter.


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