The Antidote to Perfectionism.


I was working on a bunch of marketing emails, and I just wasn’t feeling “in the flow.” My ideas and creativity seemed to be all backed up at the rotary.

However, with a baby and limited childcare, I only had the two hours that I had booked to get the emails done before my deadline.

Gone are the days of meandering around projects and organizing my sock drawer for a few hours before finally getting around to putting my butt in my seat at the computer. Gone are the days of staying up until 1am to get something done for a launch the next day. (I may be up at 1am anyway, but I won’t be at my computer. I’ll be hovered over a precious baby girl trying to will her back to sleep.)

I simply had to get the emails done right then, with or without the muse and her inspirational fairy dust.

So I wrote them.

They were not the best emails I’d ever written. They got the message across, but I didn’t feel deeply connected to my ideal customer as I often do. I just wasn’t in the zone.

It felt clunky. It was arduous. It was a slog. But they were done.

As I made my lunch that day I was feeling kind of “meh” about the emails and wishing I’d had more time to perfect them or re-write them all together.

And then I had the following thought:

A less-than-perfect email that’s written and sent will make more sales than an email that never gets sent because I’m obsessing about it not being good enough.

I’d heard the phrase, “Done is better than perfect.” But what that really meant didn’t land until I was right in the thick of it, realizing that good enough had to be good enough…and that it was way better than nothing.

The emails got sent. Sales were made. Good enough was more than enough.

So much goodness never sees the light of day because we don’t think its good enough.

A less than perfect painting that gets hung in a gallery will move more people, create more beauty, and sell way better than a painting that remains hostage in the studio, leaning against the wall with the other forlorn canvases that the obsessive painter won’t let go of.

A good enough blog post drives more traffic and teaches more people than one that’s never published.

A slightly sloppy shot scores more goals than one that’s never taken.

We can still aim for greatness.

We can still strive for excellence.

We can polish and shine when there’s time and space.

But we have to know when it’s time to set our work free and let it do its thing, imperfections and all.

Imperfect work that’s put out there changes more lives than work that stays hidden because its creator was trapped by perfectionism.

Perfectionism stalls progress.

Perfectionism keeps us stuck.

Perfectionism robs the world of our gifts and talents.

Sometimes good enough has to be good enough, and it’s always better than nothing. {Tweet it!} Sometimes good enough has to be good enough, and it’s always better than nothing-tweet

You’ll make more sales with an email that’s written and sent than with an email that’s never sent because you thought it wasn’t perfect.

The truth is it will never be perfect. So just hit send.



Do you find yourself caught in perfectionism? What’s one project that you’re ready to put out into the world even if it’s not perfect? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


  • Kate! This post helped me so much! I totally get caught up on perfectionism and needed this boost of confidence that done IS better than perfect and that good enough has to be good enough. It always is. Thank you for your always awesome words of inspiration! – Francesca

  • I so needed to hear this! Since having our 2nd baby I’ve been struggling to get into a new routine. Just need to dive in :)

  • Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you Kate

  • I can’t remember who said it, but “Perfect is the enemy of Good” has been ringing through my ears the past few months.

    I had been avoiding finishing my book proposal because of so many fears about marketing (not feeling good enough) and then thankfully I was cracked open at Kripalu with Gabby Bernstein and since then I’ve finished the proposal and gotten endorsements from people I LOVE and greatly admire.

    And it really has snowballed to other webinar offerings and blog posts that before I may have held back for fear of being judged that it wasn’t just right, but our imperfections make us stunningly human!! And that’s what people are drawn to more than “perfect” – so I am loving this new space of putting really freakin fabulous work out in the world and trusting that part of the process is to learn, it’s one of the best parts, actually.

    BIG LOVE!! Thank you, Kate!

  • Christi Raphael

    Thank You Kate! Having this in my Inbox was Divine Intention this morning…my husband and i were just mulling over this last night on our before bed walk.
    I struggle with my emails and FB posts and messages…I start to type and then go back and edit and rewrite and it goes from being straight from the heart to “fixed” and probably loses it’s authenticity in the process.
    Thank you for sharing that even you struggle with this too, a women so confident and accomplished; it makes me feel less so not this morning :)
    I want to add that your 4 step Webinar on getting your Financial House in order was very beneficial as well. I am going to buy your book when the money presents itself.
    Hugs and Health,

    • Kate Northrup

      Christi – it’s so true that when we overwork things they can lose their authenticity. A little editing is good but then just going for it is so key! I’m so glad you see that!

  • Im not quite ready yet but this post made me want to get going on my side business building a clothing line ! Thank you!

  • THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this post, Kate! This is exactly what I needed to get my email program started! I have a year’s worth of emails composed and ready (and I’m working on more for the hopper), but I’ve been struggling with how awkward it feels to START with that FIRST ONE! I’ve written and re-written it, but haven’t been totally satisfied with it.
    I’m ready for “good enough,” now – thank you!

  • Perfectionism keeps me at the starting line so I don’t end up running the race I so want to participate in. Blogs and articles and messages of inspiration don’t get written or shared because I’ve been paralyzed by thinking it has to be “just so”.

    I’m not a “mainstream thinker” so my ideas often challenge others to move in a different direction. Of course that can be a good thing :) It’s accepting that I am a game changer and saying out loud to the world…but I am courageous and will do it anyway! Thank you for your thoughts and timely message Kate!

    • Kate Northrup

      You are a game changer – I loved the way you’re owning that! Pushing people in new directions is SO necessary – press publish!

  • Linda

    Your statement “so much goodness never sees the light of day because we don’t think it is good enough” really hit home for me. I have so many unfinished ‘projects’ that I will call incompletes’ because my mind says ‘they are not good enough. The truth is that I am making a judgement and it is time for me to ‘let go’, and let myself have and ‘see the light of day’. Thank YOU!

  • Wow Kate, this was perfect timing – I needed to hear this message today. I was feeling “off” in my energy and concerned about putting out my weekly video when I wasn’t feeling my best. This was a great reminder that it’s OK to just do it and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Thanks Kate!

  • Kate, this post was such a truth moment for me. This is an area that has kept me from walking in my purpose for years. I am taking action to do those things right now. Thanks you for sharing your heart.

  • Laurel

    Something else about what you just did: better time management.
    I’ve been discovering that when I limit how much time I have to do something, it still gets miraculously done in far less time than if I don’t limit that time. Maybe like you said not as perfect as when I spend hours *tweaking*, but IT GETS DONE.
    I have two businesses and am slowly learning that simply sitting my butt down at the computer is a time waster. I can spend an entire day just checking and responding to emails, and then my studio time is gone. I’m experimenting with timers and spending more time in my studio with breaks to check my emails for my other business. So far working much better.

  • Kate:
    I tend to write about 20 blog drafts, half-assed, I might add, with sprinkles of fabulous ideas. When I abandon them, midstream, and return later, only to find I haven’t a clue as to where I was going, nevermind the incredibly insightful message I wanted to generate. So much of my writing sits, lying await, like a tiger in the bushes, luring me in to finish, and share with those who could use the surge. I need to just hold tight, finish my work, give a little more steam to the engine, and post.
    You make it seem so seamless.
    Thanks, Kate!

  • Elizabeth

    “So much goodness never sees the light of day because we don’t think it is good enough”. THANK YOU. I tie myself up in knots because I think that if I don’t do my day job PERFECTLY, I’ll be fired. If I don’t write my freelance and dramatic writing perfectly, I’ll never get published nor produced. Meanwhile, the fear stops me from submitting my work, and I go see new plays by playwrights whose work isn’t half as good as mine, and that’s frustrating. But those playwrights managed to get their plays out to theatre companies – and get produced.
    A smart and notoriously critical friend of mine saw one of my plays in a festival, and she told me that my writing is as good, sharp, and funny as Aaron Sorkin. That’s a great compliment! I need to focus on my talents and abilities as a writer, and stop freaking out about things that may never happen.

  • Shari

    Wow! Confirmation for me today as I made calls I felt I wasn’t saying the right thing, I wasn’t on my “A game” sales talk……but I kept calling. Your email confirmed to me that I am on track to move forward! I also realized personally I do not do a lot of “fun things” because everything is not the perfect- place, time, attire, people…. and this is the 1st comment on a blog I have ever posted because I never felt my comments were perfect enough-Thank You for sharing and motivating!

  • Van

    This post was perfectly timed. Overcoming perfectionism seems to be on my “last frontier” list. This is why I haven’t drawn comics, wrote poems, or started the website with all these ideas I’ve filled a whole journal with. I buy the web domain name, sometimes get as far as designing it, then somehow I decide its not good enough, no one will visit it, and drop the project. This has been happening for 10 years now. My goal now is to finish one complete website and have it live before I finish your money love course. THANK YOU for divinely timed posts.

  • Agree – you summed it up beautifully. That was definitely me UNTIL I started working with a new mentor who says ‘Just chuck it out there’. Love that term and i say it every time i hesitate sending out a newsletter or email. I have had more results and more clients than i have ever had since i adopted the philosophy and approach you are talking about. Thanks for the wisdom.

  • Diane

    Thanks for the reminder! I’m in the advertising business and was indulging my inner perfectionist working and re-working an ad – my late husband looked over my shoulder and said “it’s not going into the Smithsonian – It’s a one day newspaper ad – it’s good enough. Stop now.” Whenever I find myself going over to that craziness, whatever I’m involved in, I just say those words – it’s not going to the Smithsonian – it’s good enough. Tension eases and life looks better immediately. Keep up the good work.

  • Marianne

    Your outlook on getting things done and them being good enough as opposed to perfectionism is a breath of free air. It will spur me on to achieving more without worrying about the dotting the i’s and t’s. Thank you.

  • Erin

    Great post, Kate!
    As a mom of a still breastfeeding through the night 14 month old baby (and my oldest is 17 years old…we’re very busy) I’ve been struggling with getting articles out and my work as a full time professor. As a momma who puts nursing her babies above all else, I’ve been ragged trying to do everything else. It wasn’t until I read this post that I realized my biggest problem is moi!

    I need to stop trying to be amazing at all of it and just get things done.
    My articles are being submitting in an hour (with no more perfectionism-driven tinkering to hold up the works). Thank you so much!

  • Danica Herbert

    I really, really needed this today! Everyday I feel like there is this weight being buried on my shoulders to finish my website. It’s just not getting done because I feel it’s “never” good enough to finally publish! I’m currently at my computer working on my website and will work to complete the last few things before I publish and start blogging (which is the part I’m really excited about). Thx Kate xo

  • Annette

    Thank you for yet another inspirational blog Kate.
    I am yet to read a ‘meh’ piece of writing from you.
    I absolutely love everything you write, and I mean everything!
    It is like you are actually writing to me personally.
    It is curious how hard we can be on ourselves.
    Your excellence is in your vulnerability and I learn so much from it.
    I helps me to embrace my perfectly imperfect self.
    Much love and gratitude.

  • Great post. I completely agree. I just read a book referred to me by a writer friend called The War of Art. Very inspiring read and reiterates your message. Put in your time at work and then move on.

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