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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Progress Over Perfection

Progress Over Perfection. It’s been a while. I was afraid that what I was thinking and writing wasn’t my best; wasn’t perfect. Then I realized that it is the path and not the destination.

It’s ironic since “progress over perfection” has been my mantra for the past 4 months. As I revisited every item collected in my 57 years, purging, donating, storing, and trashing, I had to focus on each task and not the end result. Preparing for my nomad adventure (working from the road for the rest of the year), every possession (and the memories it held) had to be assessed. I had to set parameters to live by or I would still be in my garage evaluating school pictures of my 6th grade classmates.

  1. No second thoughts. Once I made a decision, I stuck with it. If my first thought was ‘donate’, I did not revisit that decision or question my instinct. There was no time for re-evaluation and I trusted my gut.

  2. Progress over perfection. It was not a perfect process. There would be items that were donated or trashed in error (sorry to my daughter for the donated basket of clothes that she had intended to give to friends), but in the end, I have faith that everything ended up where it was supposed to.

  3. Everything has value but not everything is valuable. I had a lot of nice things that would find new homes. Some items went direct to family and friends; other items went to thrift stores and charities. In the end, I could not stress that something had value, but instead embraced that those things would be valuable to others.

Now that I am settled into my first location, I can reflect that progress over perfection was the guardrail that got me through. I needed to move forward, step by step. I could not be paralyzed by fear that I would make a mistake. I had a timeline to hit (pushed back once already) and if perfection was the benchmark, the task would not have been completed.

What is an area that has stalled, where you are focusing on the end rather than the process? It could be cleaning out a closet or junk drawer, or at work, it could be a workstream or a project that scares you, that you are afraid you won’t be perfect in your performance. Progress over perfection allows us to learn and grow; to fail safely. Just get started. Take a first step.

Turning this around, where are you missing out because you don’t raise your hand or don’t bank on your ability to learn as you go? Where has fear limited your progress? I bet on you. Take that first step. Put yourself out there. Let each step provide momentum for the next. The task will be completed and you will have learned from the experience.

This is my first lesson from the road. Follow the adventure on Instagram @topbroad.

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Barbara Palmer
Barbara Palmer
May 10, 2023

In talking to a client today, I think this motto works very well for parenting as well. Perfect parenting doesn't exist, but progress toward being the parent you want and living your vision is a pretty good goal. Don't wait to (insert: travel, coach, teach...) because it may not be perfect. Jump in and learn on the job!

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