On Sunday I gave a talk to 100 people of the Starting Bloc community.
Two days before the talk, I got some carefully considered, kind, and very useful feedback on ways to change it. The problem was, the feedback would take me far more than two days to incorporate and with my other work and travel, I didn't even have two days in which to do it.
The outcome of all of this was that despite the time, love, and insight I had poured into it, I gave a talk that I knew wasn't perfect.
That knowledge was almost debilitating at first, because I've had a lot of success with "perfect." Perfect essays earn As. Perfect presentations get a great response. Perfect interactions are not uncomfortable. But once I really accepted the fact that I'd be giving an imperfect talk with my whole heart, I felt liberated.
The resulting vulnerability, wholeheartedness, and presence added up to a wonderful experience for me and for many of the people there. Probably not for everyone, and probably not even for the majority -- but for some people, very strongly.
Now that I am working at a high level even as I try new things and explore new ideas, perfect is becoming a liability. Perfect is possible, but it involves so much delay, so much fretting, so much putting-off of connection, that it's not worth it.
Plus, I've had the experience recently of what happens when I stop asking "How can I make this more perfect?" and instead ask, "How can I make this wilder, more wholehearted, more interesting?"
What happens is that I connect more, I build faster, I'm more vulnerable. What happens is that my talk is not bullet-proof but it is connective and beautiful and a little off-kilter and touches (some) people at their core. What happens, in some ways, is better than perfect.