Do you have a perfection ghost?

My brother once told me that a teacher he had 6 years after I did, told him, I was the worst student in her drawing class. I took me years to realize how much (negative) impact she had had on my creativity.

For years, I had the feeling that I could not make drawings or make paintings. And yes I am a bad painter and I always had the feeling I should not have passed kindergarten, as I can hardly draw with lines… Yet the message I heard was: you are not a creative person.

When I write these words down now, they make me smile, no – they make me laugh, laugh out loud. Me, I am not creative? I am a very creative person. Yes, my creativity does not manifest in the same way as that of some of my classmates. That does not mean I am not creative and it surely does not mean I don’t care about quality.

In my writing I have the same “problem”, I have always been very bad in languages. I speak Dutch, French & English. I read all three. Yet I am unable to write in any of these perfectly.

I make lots of mistakes when I write. I have some friends who go crazy when I write a DT mistake in Dutch. Some of them have tried to teach me for at least 15 years. The result of their teaching was that I felt bad and I started to avoid interacting with them in writing.

These days I stopped feeling bad about it. Yes I know I make mistakes when I write. Yes I know it makes most people crazy. Yes I want to write better, I know I can’t and so don’t bother teaching me, I have been trying for 33 years, I can’t. Please accept me as I am.

Now make no mistake, I do care about quality. I do care about getting my message across. Yet when I notice that I keep myself from writing because I don’t see my mistakes for the first 3 months after I wrote them, or I stop interacting with people because they care more about their language then me, when I notice that, that is when I am in trouble.

I ‘m convinced I have something to add to this world. I am very much aware that I am more popular as a speaker then as a writer. And that is fine with me; but it won’t stop me from writing.

If you think my idea’s are worth nothing because I am not able to write a perfect sentence, then I think you have as much to learn from me as you think I have to learn from you.

Last year I worked in Bordeaux. Although I speak French much better then I read or write (Guess why I don’t write in French…) I do make mistakes. And some of the French I am using (“a tantôt”) turns out to be more Belgian French than real French (whatever that means).

It took me a few months to realize that “the state of my French” was actually an asset for my work as a coach. I was working for a company were lots of people suffer from perfectionism. They all dreamed of the blue sky scenario. And yes they were great at explaining what the perfect world would be. They knew their problems so well. They knew what had to be done; And yet nothing happened. Is that something you recognize?

I bet you do. A lot of companies suffer from this. Hell, lots of coaches and consultants suffer from this.
They block themselves from doing anything, because they can only imagine the perfect world.

I’m in favor of starting. Any progress is better then what you had before. And by making mistakes in my language I showed the people I coached I was serious about it. The fact I let them correct me all the time I also showed them I cared about quality.