When it comes to being Type A, I have perfected the genre. In fact, A isn’t really what I shoot for. I am more an A to the 2nd degree, more a Type A + (++?).
I’ve know this about myself for years. Jim and I still laugh about the time when I was thirty-something and received my grades for a couple of Temple University courses. On the back, there was a chart that read, A = Excellent, B = Very Good, C = Average.
I read it. I read it again and stopped dead in my tracks, gaping at Jim.
Me, “C is average?”
Jim, “Yes . . .”
Me, (clearly mystified) “I thought A was AVERAGE!”
To be clear, I’m not saying I thought A stood for the A in Average. I’m saying, I thought everyone got A’s, and that’s what made it average!
Tell me I’m not the only one.
Being Type A+ often serves me well. And then, there are those other times.
Times when my perfectionism is not satisfied hitting the target—it demands a perfect bull’s-eye. Those times, I start believing there is only one, absolutely dead-on answer and I get sucked into a whirlpool of over-analyzing self-doubt because I have to get it right!
Prepping my Cape Maybe cover turned into one of those times.
With the help of several friends, we staged a photo shoot at Cape May Cove with Cape May Point and the lighthouse in the distance. A couple of dozen pictures later, my perfectionism kicked in.
Jim and I studied each image Ad nauseam looking for that one perfect shot—the one with the young couple, or should the girl be showcased alone? If alone, should she be sitting or standing? Blue sky or gray—ocean calm or slightly turbulent?
Panic rising, I descended into over-analytic-mode, sending the pictures to a half-dozen friends, scrutinizing the covers of all my favorite novels, and dissecting page after page of beach read covers online. After a few days of hand-wringing, I had six different opinions from the friends I poled and a pair of computer-strained eyes.
In the midst of my self-doubting swirl, I remembered advice my longtime friend Susan gave me years ago.
Now would be a good time to breathe.
So, I took a deep breath and another and another. Still uncertain, I decided to go with my gut and sent my five favorites off the publisher’s design team.
Maybe I couldn’t narrow it down to one, but I’m still deep breathing and reminding myself I made progress by letting go and putting the choice in the design team’s perfectly capable hands—and that sometimes the perfect solution is progress not perfection.