Trying to be perfect will stop you dead in your tracks.

The idea for this blog post grew out of the tortured process I went through trying to decide whether to post a short clip on social media of me singing and playing guitar

The truth is, not many people are likely to see the clip, relatively speaking. I’ve been getting back into playing guitar again, and I’m working on some ideas for a music project. It feels good, but it’s scary, too.

I kept coming up with excuses not to post the video clip. ‘What if I get hit with a copyright claim and they make me take it down?’ Or ‘my guitar playing is so rudimentary’ and ‘my voice is a little weak in spots.’ Who cares? It would appear that I do.

I worry too much. I have a bad habit of comparing. And although I wouldn’t exactly call myself a perfectionist (because I can’t even excel at being one of those either, obviously…see how that works?), I am often my own harshest critic. I recall that being a comment made by at least one of my teachers back in high school. That should have been a clue.

Take it from me, self judgement is a dream stealer. 

I wonder; how many songs might I have written had I not thought any one of the following before putting pen to paper?

  • Any single Beatles album proves that I shouldn’t even try.  
  • Elvis Costello has written hundreds of songs that would make any song I write seem childish and ridiculous.  
  • Between Dolly Parton and Joni Mitchell, everything‘s been said that needs saying.  
  • Bob Dylan. (Yes, that is a sentence. That should be obvious.) 
  • When it comes to singing, the standard is set by Aretha.

That’s some serious head trash. What would have happened if Beethoven had thought like that after listening to some J.S. Bach compositions?

I’ve actually written a few songs and I managed to get some of them recorded with the help of some awesome musicians several years back. Nothing much came of that, but some people liked the songs. One song got the ear of a successful songwriter (a favorite of mine) who had some good things to say. 

At that point in time I really wasn’t sure what to do with my music. In retrospect, this highlights for me the importance of having a mentor in your chosen field. (Sounds like the germ of a blog post for another day!) Ultimately, I have the recordings and, who knows? Maybe there’s a CD release in my future. 

So, what’s my point? I’m a late bloomer; always have been. For some reason as I get older I’ve begun to remember a lot of bon mot sayings that I’ve heard along the way. One that my mom used to use was “we are too soon old and too late smart.“ Amen to that!

Apropos of that, another lesson I’m learning as I get older is that learning comes from doing stuff. If you don’t do stuff, you don’t get better at it. There’s an aha moment if I ever heard one.

I am being a little silly here, but it’s true. If there is a log jam in your life, one way I have found to get unstuck is to just do a thing. Get into action! 

When you’re working on something new (or something old that’s new again), you don’t have to show everyone every inch of your progress along the way.

Know that you are good enough where you are. Keep going.

As far as comparisons are concerned, the only one to whom you need compare is you, before. Celebrate any and all progress, however small.

This is not unlike the Mel Robbins 5-4-3-2-1-Go method. Shake things up! According to Mel, there’s science to support that this way of shifting gears can alter neural pathways in your brain and ultimately lead to a healthier emotional life.  

I’ve heard of this G.B.B. (good, better, best) approach. I’m going to suggest a better way to look at it might be GB-GB… or possibly GBBBB… for B being for better, and on and on.

Keep practicing and have fun along the journey toward your better! 


~ Maura

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