Completion Not Perfection

Friday 13 April 2018 - Posted by Julia McCutchen

As a successful coach with a thriving practice, Sarah loved her work and enjoyed supporting her clients to identify and pursue their true priorities in life.

However, she was constantly over-delivering, felt depleted as a result, and harboured a secret sense of shame.

She’d always wanted to write and share the lessons she’d learned from many years of spiritual, personal and professional growth.

Yet despite several attempts to apply her wide-ranging skills to the written word, she kept getting stuck and just couldn’t find her flow.

Despite her professional success, she felt like she was failing.

Striving for Perfection

It soon became apparent in our mentoring sessions that Sarah was striving hard for the perfection she thought was required to write a bestselling book.

Having been brought up to accept nothing less than excellence in all her endeavours, she was struggling with the reality that the early stages of creative expression usually include a degree of chaos!

The idea of writing a rough first draft felt completely alien to her.

Even when she started to understand the principle intellectually, her perfectionist pattern kept knocking her progress and she almost gave up on her dream to write.

Completion Not Perfection

I suggested that Sarah put her writing ambitions temporarily on hold and begin the process of releasing her conditioning by exploring the creative presence and inner alignment at the core of Conscious Writing.

Gradually the tools, techniques and practices which Sarah embraced wholeheartedly set her free from the mindset that had blocked her for so long and opened her heart to a whole new approach.

At that point, I introduced her to one of the mantras that has served me well over the years and continues to do so for many others in similar situations – completion not perfection!

Permission to Write a Rough First Draft

Having prepared the ground by aligning her body, mind and soul, Sarah was ready to receive the powerful message these three words encapsulate and make a fresh start with her writing.

She was finally able to give herself full permission to write a rough first draft and feel OK about it being “good enough for now”.

It wasn’t always easy and her old patterns did re-surface periodically, especially when she was tired or skipped the inner preparation required for Conscious Writing.

Daily Practice

So I recommended that she make it a daily practice before she started writing to:

  • Shift into a state of conscious presence by doing the Mudra Sequence.*
  • Affirm out loud, “I give myself full permission to write a rough first draft today.”
  • Remember, and consistently apply, the mantra – completion not perfection!

Sarah is now making excellent progress with her writing and already has ideas for several other books to follow.

Positive Impact

Perhaps even more importantly, the shift she’s made in relation to her writing is having a positive impact in all areas of her life.

Having released the illusion of perfection, she’s now enjoying a more relaxed and balanced approach to achieving her goals.

She’s also able to show up more authentically with her clients and the others who share her world.

What’s your relationship with perfection in relation to first draft writing or any other aspect of your life? Please share your comments or ask a question below. Thank you!


* Watch a video of me leading you through the Mudra Sequence by registering for my free Conscious Writing video series in the purple box at the top of the page here.


  • It’s a little too late for me to attempt a best seller. I have to be content with concluding a draft that outlines what I would like the end result to be.
    perhaps with your mentoring I can make more progress than at present seems within my grasp

    • Hi Michael, thanks for your comment.

      When people set out to write a bestseller, there’s usually a clear agenda driven by personal, professional and / or financial success.

      Conscious Writing encourages a deeper level intention which does sometimes lead to bestselling status. Yet even more importantly, it opens the way for Conscious Writers to define success on their own terms and those definitions can take a multitude of forms.

      As for the possibility of mentoring, I’ll contact you separately about that and we can review possibilities together.

  • Thank you, Julia. Completion not perfection is very good. I need to learn to get it done and then polish later. very Valuable advice in your 3 words

    • Thank you Peter. Yes, the polishing usually needs to come later so the “getting it done” can actually happen rather than stall on page 5!

  • Julia

    WOW another very timely message for me.

    I have been in a flow of writing for many hours last night.

    I need to share it with some people today.

    Parts are not yet complete.

    I can set aside those parts for later.

    I need to bring the bar down on my perfection standards. Otherwise, I would be rewriting and polishing for far too long.


    • Hi John, it’s good to know that this message is timely for you. Yes, set aside what isn’t yet complete for now and revisit it later.

      I recommend that you find your own level for the bar of perfection in the knowledge that rewriting and polishing in the early stages usually slows the process right down.

  • Julia

    My previous message was related to informing friends that my dad was in ICU.

    He was 94 years old and his health had been declining for a year. He was losing his hearing, thinking, and ability to walk.

    He fell and hit his head.

    When I heard he was going in and out of consciousness that triggered many painful memories of our complicated relationship. The hurts spilled out of me as I wrote. There was some positive.

    What I shared would have taken 12 pages to print out. I could have gone on for more pages. But I needed to end somewhere. And as I looked back to edit the text I went over it a great many times. Each time I made minor changes.

    This blog post on completion not perfection stopped that obsession with infinite polishing.

    My dad was in ICU for 2 days and then sent home for hospice care. He was in his home for just one hour. My brother was there and called me shortly after his passing.

    I informed those few dozen on my email list of his passing. That message was just dry and factual. I was in shock. I did not know what to think, feel or pray. Then the responses began to arrive. As I read them the tears flowed.

    I reported the next day that was today how their comments had blessed me. So I have a community going through this season with me.

    I have been experiencing mild headaches in different parts of my skull. They come and go fairly fast. If I had not been involved in writing then I would have taken aspirin often to dull the sensations. But I want to be fully alive so I can think, feel, and write well.

    I have been using the conscious writing mudra. That has helped me with clarity, balance, and flow.

    I find myself in church with those who discount online communications. They keep saying directly and indirectly that face-to-face communication is the only kind that matters. But they have careers and families. We live many miles apart. So it is rare we meet.

    Yet in less than an hour 9 friends responded and that led to tears. It was after 9 PM when I sent out the announcement. Then the next morning that was today 9 more responded.

    As a single man that is retired and lives alone I feel blessed and connected to an extended.

    I know that I enjoy writing. I have been told that I am good at it. There are many times a week that I cannot stand not to write. But deep inside I do not highly value writing I do not make time for writing like I know would be best.

    I am very grateful for the emails that send me to the blog posts. These have been like timely booster shots for my flagging motivations.


    • I honour you for sharing your story John. My thoughts are with you at this intense moment of time and I encourage you to draw on your writing to support you to process your loss and all that goes with the death of a close family member. Perhaps that will help you to value it more highly too?

      It’s good to know that you’ve been using the Mudra Sequence to help you with clarity, balance and flow; I suggest you continue using it as it will also support you to maintain your perspective in the coming weeks and months.

      I’ll keep writing the blogs and sharing them, and thank you for keeping reading and commenting on them! Julia

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