Ditch Perfect: my slow + sustainable approach to running a creative business
Life has a way of throwing curveballs when you least expect it.
If you’ve been hanging out with me on Instagram recently, you know that I’ve been busy dodging curveballs over the last few months.
From learning to manage my chronic illness to navigating a severe depression... it all resulted in a dramatic shift in my personal life and in my business too.
I've had to prioritize my mental health over any kind of social life and other outside expectations, put some firm boundaries in place to guard my energy + slow down significantly, which led me to discover the slow living movement.
This has also led to a new way of looking at + managing my perfectionism and I help other creatives do the same: the Ditch Perfect way.
I sat down to write this blog post about why I believe in running a slow business, but I quickly realized it’s all intertwined. Slow living, slow business, ditching perfect: it all comes from the same place, rooted in the same beliefs.
Plus, I don’t believe in separating work and life in two neat little boxes. My work infuses my life and my life inspires my work.
I’m still very much in the beginning stages of recalibrating my life and my business + prioritizing a slow and steady lifestyle for myself. I can’t wait what this lifestyle, this business philosophy, this Ditch Perfect way has in store for me in the months to come.
But here’s what I believe about ditching perfect + embracing slow living and slow business.
Here’s where I got started.
A soulful, heart-centered, value-driven lifestyle
If there's anything these last few months of dealing with chronic illness + a mental health crisis have taught me is how to firmly live from my heart.
You see, I used to be a head-person. Even my work of teaching online creatives how to overcome their perfectionism came from reason, rationale, research, facts + frameworks.
But chronic illness doesn't care about reason and facts and all the knowledge I've collected along the way. Dealing with chronic illness is about wisdom, managing feelings and emotions, acceptance of limitations + making the best of the cards you're dealt.
Basically, it's living from the heart.
As soon as I realized this, I knew I needed to go deeper. That's when ditching perfect became a lifestyle.
The Ditch Perfect way isn't *just* about getting rid of perfectionism and the need for perfect, although that’s a big part of it.
On a deeper level it's also about:
ditching those people-pleasing, approval-seeking perfectionistic that you use as a way of coping with life’s uncertainties, insecurities + lack of control
untangling yourself from all the fears and limiting beliefs that are holding you back
letting go of unrealistic expectations + traditional notions of success (because, let’s be honest, who can live up to them anyway?)
ditching all the should's, have-to's, and must-do's and truly living life and doing business according to your own values
Think about it: all of your life you’ve been told, shown + modelled one way of doing life. We all know which blueprint for success I’m talking about: getting straight A’s in school, going off to college, landing a top notch job or starting a top notch business, making a career for yourself, buying a house, getting married, having kids etc.
But for many of us, that’s not the blueprint we see working for our own lives.
There comes a time when you wake up and realize you don’t fit into that mold. It doesn’t work. You want something different. You realize that, as one of my favorite humans in this online creative space Fiona Barrows calls it, there are other ways.
So here’s my permission slip for you: only you get to decide what success looks like for you. You can live life according to your own rules. You’re allowed to prioritize your own values. And you absolutely can do what you love + what gives you energy.
Prioritizing slow + steady over frantic + frazzled
“You’re always so busy and hurrying along to the next thing!” That’s what my grandparents used to say to me. They’re both no longer with us, but their words have stayed with me.
Both of my grandparents had never learned to drive, never owned a car. They had a television, which got bigger and bigger as new models came out and their eyesight deteriorated with the years.
But aside from the TV they never adopted any of the new technology that followed: no computers, no internet, no smartphone, no Facebook. Even their hearing aids were too much technology for them to handle.
I used to scoff at how small their world had become and why they’d allowed that to happen.
But now, I’m not so sure I was right. Yes, their life was simple and slow, but also, in a strange way, BIGGER.
When you have to walk to get your groceries or ride a bicycle to visit a friend in the next town over, the world is bigger. Much more of your day is already taken up with the journey. You do a lot less a result, but *what* you do you do with intention and presence.
My grandparents’ world was also bigger because they hadn’t let the internet change their pace of living.
So, here’s a question for you:
How would your life look different without that hurry? How would your business look different without that ever present sense of busy-ness?
Really think about.
What would you do differently? What would you prioritize? What would you want to accomplish?
That’s where slow living and slow business comes in. It’s about actively choosing to make those sorts of changes. Living + working slowly means stopping the glorification of “busy” AND slowly and steadily getting out of inaction.
The Ditch Perfect way prioritizes slow + steady progress over frantic + frazzled hustle. It values imperfect action over perfect procrastination. It’s about getting away from overwhelm + pressing pause on your big ideas and toward making the dreams you have for your business (and personal life too!) happen in a slow and sustainable way.
To me, ditching perfect means ditching fear, stress, scarcity, inaction, overwhelm + doubt and, instead, taking ACTION. One step. One imperfect action step will surely and slowly move you forward towards your goals.
Gratitude + appreciating small moments
Another core part of my Ditch Perfect way of doing life and business is “gratitude”.
Gratitude is a huge concept – too much for a single blog post – but here’s what living a life + running a business slowly and gratefully can look like:
It’s realizing that the stuff we do when we aren’t working or doing chores is the stuff that really matters
It’s being present in the smallest of moments, the mundane things you usually take for granted
It’s accepting that life is short + our moments are speedily ticking by
It’s accepting the daily hardships of life and, at the same time, keeping an eye out for that silver lining
It’s finding what you were meant to learn from the mess and use it to help you reach the other side and be a better person
It’s taking every single thing that happens to you + knowing that you can either benefit, grow or learn from it… whatever is thrown at you can be handled
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I know this was a long and rambling way of explaining what the Ditch Perfect way of slow and steady living + business can mean for you and your business.
But somehow, strangely, it integrates all my core beliefs and values: embracing imperfection, growing through action, practicing gratitude, self-trust + living and working slowly but fully.
And I hope it does the same for you: that it brings together some of your beliefs about what running a successful business and living a successful life can look like.
Through my journey of ditching perfect I’ve come to believe that slow business is the only sustainable approach to business success + that living a slow, heart-centered, value-driven life is the key to happiness and fulfilment.
If there’s anything you take away from this blog post, please know that you don't have to sacrifice yourself (or your values and well-being) for success AND that you can thrive in your business and life on your own terms.
You're allowed to opt out of the rat race and choose a different way of doing business for yourself. I wish someone had told me this was possible.
So now, I’m telling you.
Are you stuck in perfectionism and need little help letting go of the perfectionist tendencies that are holding you back? Then make sure to download your FREE copy of my perfectionism-busting workbook.
WHAT DOES THE DITCH PERFECT WAY OF WORKING + LIVING SLOWLY MEAN TO YOU?
Hey, Wendy here!
As a perfectionism coach, I help online creatives #ditchperfect, overcome their perfectionism + take action on the big ideas they have for their business. Let’s work together and make those ideas happen.