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Stop waiting for the perfect time to start. It does not exist.

I learned a new analogy recently that has helped curtail my excessive procrastination fueled by a need for perfection. Perhaps it can help you too.

"The Latte analogy"

When it comes to coffee, I'm a bit obsessed. I enjoy it, and I enjoy hunting for specialty coffee shops and local cafes to get a perfect pour-over brewed from quality beans by a skilled barista. When I'm in a new city or neighborhood, it takes me a while to find the perfect brew. So, my go-to order in any cafe is usually a latte. I order this because it's usually the most viable yet easy to execute item on the menu. If the coffee beans at the cafe are not of the best quality, the Latte could still be enjoyable. If I were to order a pour-over and the beans turn out to be low quality, it would be a disaster. So I start with something safe that I still enjoy. Ok now that's I've bored you with coffee talk lets get down to how you can apply this analogy to your life.

If you're a procrastinator, chances are you're also a perfectionist. You have a project in mind you want to start but you're so scared of screwing up that you decide you have to be absolutely ready before you start. But will you ever be ready? You think,  "I have to be fully prepared so I make a great first impression" while this might be true in some cases, it's not true for the personal projects, new adventures, and career-enhancing moves you need to make. You have a picture of perfection in your head but the paradox is you can't reach that perfection if you don't first start where you are and with what you have.

Eventually, I always find the perfect brew but I don't let my need for it prevent me from enjoying coffee and staying caffeinated. 

Everything can be improved but only after you start. There are so many people out there doing what you want to do and they aren't doing it any better than you. Some aren't even as talented and diligent as you but the one thing they have that you don't is that they are brave enough to put themselves out there. And for that reason, they are seen and celebrated while you are for the 100th time going over your mental map of what you will do once you are "ready". Stop waiting and get started. 

How can a child learn to run if he doesn't walk first? You won't know your true abilities unless you put yourself out there. Starting no matter how small, keeps you doing and when you keep doing, you're bound to improve. 

We shouldn't use this as an excuse to promote mediocrity or lazy work. Do your research and put in hard work to produce your minimum viable, yet acceptable work (your Latte) and put it out there!

And if you fail, you get right back up and try again!

Other things that could prevent you from starting are imposter syndrome, the fear of looking silly, inability to appreciate smaller wins, or being overwhelmed by your big goals


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