Choosing a less apologetic story.

A favorite piece of wedding planning advice is this: don’t worry too much about things not going according to plan. Unless it’s big and obvious, we’re not going to notice. Those of us watching won’t know the difference because we don’t know the plan.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how that applies to business and creative work. How the habit of putting something out into the world with explanation and apology is another form of perfectionism.

Here. I hope you like it. It it was supposed to be blue. Sorry.”

Which is just too much information.  Unless the thing is actually about the creative process, I’m not convinced that sharing all the choices that were rejected (for whatever reasons) is all that helpful to the recipients.

Now your disappointment is their doubt.

Why burden them with that?
Now it’s not just about receiving a gift from you, they have to respond to your sense of shortcoming.

Why weigh yourself down with that?
Now it’s not just about sharing your gifts, you have to cope with your sense of shame and guilt they are insufficient.

Makes me tired just to think about it.

So it’s not blue. That’s probably okay. (The next one can be blue. That there is more to do is a good thing.)

It’s enough. You are enough. I am enough. It’s all good enough.

I am practicing remembering that. Every day.
I am practicing not being so very attached to my plans.
And I am practicing sharing what I do without telling such an apologetic story.

It feels like bravado. There is an element of fake-it-til-you-make-it. But I know that’s temporary. It’s just the ordinary discomfort of learning something new. And it’s important that I keep at it.

Because we choose our stories about ourselves. They have a big influence on us and those around us, so it’s important to choose wisely.

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5 Responses to “Choosing a less apologetic story.”


  1. 1 Joanna June 2, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Oh wow! I do that all the time. Thanks for encouraging me to stop. I shouldn’t behave as though my gift, my art, my creations are inadequate or insufficient. If I give that impression how can anyone else feel any differently? Wow! Eye opening!

  2. 3 Cairene June 2, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Afterthought: And crafting those apologies takes a lot of time. It’s not just about managing emotional energy, it’s just plain more efficient to skip the sorries.

  3. 4 Fred H Schlegel July 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

    In creative enterprise the recipient gets a good amount of their joy from your own pride of work. “Now your disappointment is their doubt.” is a great way to put that. Our own self critics so often make it hard to enjoy our own enterprise, it’s good not to let that get in the way of other folks enjoyment.


  1. 1 A round-up of the week’s lessons learned. « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on June 5, 2009 at 6:10 am

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