Jean Croker Petke

Waiting for perfect

Waiting for perfect

Waiting for perfect means not starting. That’s what Seth Godin says.

He’s right.

I’ve proved him right many, many times.


Getting started is the hurdle that’s plagued me for years. It never goes away and it never gets easier.


Right before the Getting Started Hurdle is our desire to be perfect from the get-go. Using our energy and time on trial and error, practicing and honing our skills, or taking tiny steps at the beginning are abhorrent to us. We want to be the best-selling author, the concert pianist, the fastest swimmer, or master artist without the work. And if we can’t have that, there’s no point in starting.

You can keep that mindset — if you want to be self-defeating, declare your lack of self-discipline, and continue to add to your list of future projects or hoped-for accomplishments. It’s your choice: keep what you’ve got or decide to start.

I have suggestions for getting started:

Give up your need for beginning perfection. No one’s perfect. We all say that, but we have a different standard for ourselves. We think we’ll be shunned or ridiculed if we are less than perfect, yet we offer grace to our imperfect friends. How about offering a bit of grace to yourself? Allow yourself some fumbles and missteps and errors and do-overs. After all, you are a work in progress.

Take a tee-tiny step to begin. Figure out how to get started without reading more books, consulting more people, or buying more supplies. Those things you think you have to have before you can start are just excuses. Think about how a child learns to walk. They don’t take off running. First, they learn to stand while holding onto something. Then they take a step or two while still holding on. On their first attempt to walk solo, they fall down. Again and again and again. Finally, they manage a few steps before falling. Then maybe it’s six or eight wobbly steps. Eventually they can walk a few feet. Running comes much later. Learning to talk is the same. Children first mimic the rhythm of language with their coos and sounds. Eventually, adults hear one recognizable word and declare victory for the child. Separate words come long before putting the words together, let alone constructing a complete sentence. Language takes years to master. Our adult skills are no different — we’ve just forgotten how we learn things.

Encourage yourself along the way. Celebrate your tiny victories. Encourage yourself to try again after your missteps. Be as kind and encouraging to yourself as you are to the child who’s learning to walk.

Try and try again. You will get it, but it takes time and practice and patience. Look back to before you started, when this project was just a failure of wishful thinking. Your efforts are progress towards your goal.


It’s never too late to start.

What’s preventing you from beginning?




Until next Tuesday . . .



5 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Vicky Hatfield -

    Great blog today. This is me to a tee. Good advice, Jean; I’m going to try it your way, because my way leads to nowhere. Thanks for doing this each week. I think of you and our Tuesday knitting group often. Take care!

  • Cindy Bishop -

    Jean, I’m a friend of Vicky’s. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. I really enjoy them all, but some speak to me in a special way. I hope you continue to write. I just want to reinforce what Vicky said, and let you know you are touching people with your words.

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