The most effective way to do it is to do it ~ Amelia Earhart

Did you have to reread that quote?  Looks funny, but I love its message.  I think about all of the instances when my doubts about getting it “just right” kept me from simply starting a task.  “Paralysis by analysis,” whether professionally or personally, is not a foreign concept to me. Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 7.30.20 PM In those moments, I feel like the girl in this photo, stuck behind a fence that allows her to see what she wants but simultaneously prevents her from chasing after it.

Sometimes I wonder if women are more prone to “perfectionism” worries than men.  In my experience, most men don’t seem to have as many hang-ups as we women do when it comes to assessing their ability to accomplish something, nor do they seem as concerned with other people’s opinions of how they did it.  I don’t know the answer, but maybe I’m asking the wrong question anyway.

The right question might be asking why some of us end up with so much self-doubt in the first place?

I believe confidence is partly genetic, but I also believe our results-oriented culture may be part of the problem.  In childhood, it starts with “What team did you make” or “What’s your GPA?”  Then, as young adults, it shifts to “Which colleges accepted you” or “Who do you work for?”  And that need for comparison seems to go on into full-fledged adulthood (promotions, attractiveness, etc.).

When I focus on external measures of approval or success, I lose sight of my internal drive and curiosity, and my motivation evaporates.  However, I’m slowly learning to let go of being “overly” conscientious (caring too much about doing it right the first time) so I can remain enthused and take action instead of standing still.  These things help:

–                Recognizing I will never win everyone’s approval
–                Surrounding myself with cheerleaders who genuinely care about me, regardless of whether I succeed or fail
–                Reminding myself of why I’m pursuing something (for the love of doing it and wanting to improve)
–                Accepting constructive criticism and incorporating it into my task (rather than taking it as a sign of doom and certain failure/inability)
These tips can be applied to anything, whether it’s starting a new diet and exercise program, trying a new and unusual hobby or sport, getting back into the dating game, changing careers, or taking on parenting challenges.

And the best part is, once I get started, the momentum keeps me moving forward and helps me overcome temporary setbacks.

So next time you find yourself holding back from throwing that holiday dinner party, or trying that new photography class, just get started…you’ll be amazed at how quickly excitement will chase away the doubt if you let it!

xo-Jamie
photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt