Commit to Imperfection

By Carolyn Edlund

If you wait for everything to be perfect before you launch, you will miss the boat.


Be Imperfect


I once spoke with an artist who told me she had been preparing her portfolio for the past two years. She said it would be about another six months before she could launch her website, because she needed everything to be perfect before she did that.

Fear was stopping this artist from taking her first public step into the marketplace. I recommended that she make a bold move and do it now.

There will never be a time when everything is perfect.

I’ve gotten into the habit, when beginning a new workshop, of letting the participants know that I’m planning to be imperfect. Actually, I am committing to it, and that they should, too. Things will go wrong – you can count on it. Life is messy and it’s the nature of things to not always go as planned. People will come back late from lunch, the schedule will have to be adjusted, a power cord will be missing, or the brand new projector will break down during a presentation (yes, that actually happened.)

Once we commit to imperfection, it gives us space to relax and go with the flow. How much better would things unfold when we don’t demand perfection?

As an artist, your business is a work in progress. Once you have a plan and set goals, get started. You don’t have to know everything first, and here’s why:

It’s all on the job training.

That requires us to allow for room to make mistakes, go down blind alleys and learn tough lessons we need to know to move forward. So make that bold move – and commit to doing it imperfectly.


Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

Sign Up For Updates!


  1. I love this, Carolyn. Just wonderful. And sometimes when we commit, reach out, and begin, the Universe answers back in ways that it wouldn’t have if we hadn’t. Thank you 🙂

  2. With my art I probably will never let go of it needing to be as perfect as possible, but the business end of it has never been an issue, because just like you said…it is a continuing journey! I am constantly learning on the job! I just learned recently about third party apps on Facebook…I ran into a lot of glitches with the process, but you just have to go with the flow of it. No one ultimately cares but I learned a lot from doing it and I’ll never do it again!!!

  3. This is a challenge for me because I pride myself on putting a certain level of quality into anything I commit to. However, I’m also a Man of Action, which means I love to see progress. I believe the sweet spot is having the courage to “just do it,” the freedom to accept that there will be a learning curve, and the discipline to strive for improvement over time. After all, if your acceptance of being “imperfect” impedes your desire for improvement, all your efforts will merely be half-baked.

  4. Thank you Carolyn, that’s a great idea. Leading by example.

    One thing that helped me a lot was when I heard: “if everything in a painting is perfect, then a crooked line will stand out. But if every line in a painting is crooked, then everything will look allright, except the one perfectly straight line.” That was liberation!

  5. Yes! Time to re-affirm that commitment. Thanks for the nudge!

  6. I love your comment about on the job training and how it gives us permission to not do things perfectly! I have a saying for myself “Done is better than perfect!” that has helped me move past striving for perfection in my life.

  7. Hey Coach!
    What a PERFECT TOPIC to keep us motivated.
    Years ago, before I did the “Grate works” based on manhole covers and grates, my oil crayon floral drawing just did not work. It was not perfect!
    I cut it into three parts, threw out one part, sold one piece and kept the third.

Speak Your Mind