For as long as I’ve been exposed to the web, I’ve been dreaming of building a website of my own. I’ve been picturing it in my head for years, but as time flies as fast as technology evolves, my ideas grew out of proportion and my desire for perfection refrained my sacred ambitions. Meanwhile, all the subjects that I wanted to write about remained either unwritten or piled up in the draft box of my dying Tumblr blog. I could’ve published some of them, but frankly, I was waiting for the perfect website with the perfect title, the perfect logo, the perfect grid, the perfect strategy, the perfect plan–the perfect everything. Instead, I lost myself in a world of procrastination stirred up from excuses of time, money and knowledge. A world close to this:
I always knew that I was a perfectionist, but I never thought that it would become so problematic. I realized it nearly a year and a half ago when I read this article on Fast Company: “Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?“. I felt like Anjali, the editor, and I had a lot in common and it left me a bit anxious:
[...] like I am on a treadmill that I can’t get off of but also like I am on the verge of being perfect, if only I had the time to sit down and do it well. [...] I’ve held back on making my personal website public for ages, because I always feel as though it’s not good enough yet.
When I saw the comments at the bottom of the article, I felt a sort of relief as it proved that Anjali and I were not alone. I’m even convinced that some of you can relate to this. However, I couldn’t help feeling highly disappointed in myself for letting my passion and my ambitions down for, perhaps, a question of fear or self-esteem. I let procrastination win me over and affect my entire enthusiasm for self-achievement. It startled me so much, especially after I read another article from Vice that mentioned that perfectionism is a mental illness and it is ruining lives. I didn’t want to let it play with my head, so I had to overcome it.
My problem was that I didn’t know where to begin. The proverb First impressions are the most lasting kept me under a list of readings about entrepreneurship, business, marketing strategies, social media, public relations, blogging platforms, tools, inspiration, motivation, etc. I even purchased a book on HTLM and CSS and signed up on Codecademy to help me build that perfect website that still doesn’t exist. All that research didn’t go to waste, but it didn’t get me to break the ice, as I was looking for–of course–the perfect introduction.
Last month, I stumbled upon an interesting video from Derek Muller of Veritasium. I swear it had nothing to do with his beard, but I immediately fell in love with his authenticity. I browsed around his Youtube channel and somewhere between all his science videos, this one below made me reflect on my issue:
Derek’s message can be applied to anyone who wants to start something in life, not just a Youtube channel.
If you think that you’re being restricted by time, money or equipment, you’re just fooling yourself and you need to get out there and start making stuff.
Basically, we just have to initiate it and never give up. It’s not going to be perfect in the beginning, but it can only get better with time and experience. I can say that his video helped me suppress a great amount of my what-ifs.
Pierre Lavoie’s conference on January 22nd 2014.
By the end of January, I had the chance to attend Pierre Lavoie’s conference with the courtesy of LCC. I am ashamed to admit that I was clueless of his identity, but to my surprise, I was told one of the saddest yet most touching and inspiring stories of my entire life. I might not be able to tell it as well as he did, but I’ll try my very best.
It was 1997. Pierre was 34 when he lost his first daughter Laurie to lactic acidosis. She was only 4 years old. Sadly, many parents of his region lived a similar story as the illness was a common spread in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The year after, his wife gave birth of their second son Raphaël. He was also affected by the same hereditary disease. Pierre desperately wanted to find a cure. He devoted himself to raising awareness in hope of saving the children of his region, including his own. In 1999, he founded his first Défi Pierre Lavoie and alone, he rode his bike for 650 km in 24 hours. It was a great success as he gained the support he was looking for, but Raphaël didn’t make to his second birthday.
Losing a child is like freefalling without ever touching the ground. You lose all your reference points and you hurt everywhere.
I can’t even picture being in Pierre’ shoes when he received the call from his wife while he was in Hawaii. He admitted that he nearly lost it, but he never gave up. As soon as he went back home, he put on his helmet, rode his bike for 3 more Défi Pierre Lavoie and collected enough money with his supporters to form a team of researchers. A miracle happened in 2003; they discovered the gene that was responsible for lactic acidosis and developed a screening test for future parents. That miracle didn’t bring his kids back to life, but Pierre believed that Laurie and Raphaël came and parted as quickly for a reason, and he found that reason. A year later, Pierre and his wife were gifted with a healthy baby daughter who is now 10 years old.
Today, Pierre Lavoie is an engaging and valuable man in Quebec’ society for the future of our children and the future of health science. He has become a proactive athlete, a firm speaker, a passionate innovator, an inspiring visionary, a faith to humanity and a hero to many. Here’s a video promoting him and his project that has been going on since 2008, Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie:
Surprisingly, Pierre never was an athletic kid. In fact, he did really bad in all his gym classes; his teacher convinced him that he wasn’t born to be an athlete. He grew up with that misconception, worked in a factory and smoked a lot of cigarettes until he reached his 20s.
Once he decided to quit tobacco, he started running around his neighborhood, not to mention that his main motive was to court his future wife by jogging strategically around her house–how cute! It was in 1989 that he decided to take part in his very first triathlon. Unfortunately, he finished second to last. He described his experience as extremely painful and while he was still trying to get to the finish line, he swore to never do it again. However, the encouragement and acclamation he received for his achievement made him sign up for Ironman World Championship in 1992, one of the most challenging triathlons in the world. He finished with the best time of all participants. Since then, he’s been going back almost every year and came back home with several wins in his category.
When I walked out of the seminar that night, I had a different state of mind. I was on the verge of creating this new blog beforehand, but Pierre Lavoie’ speech was all I needed to actually get it done.
Ce n’est pas le succès qui nous rend plus fort, c’est l’inconfort.
We could translate his message to: success doesn’t make us stronger, discomfort does–the discomforts that we eventually overcome. It struck me because all the while I get extremely self-conscious about my writings. I never want to publish anything until it is perfectly written. The problem is that my definition of perfection has no limit. I always find something to criticize and tweak. It took me over a hundred revisions before pressing the damn Publish button of this actual post. It is a never ending business, as if I am on a constant fight with my ego. I know I’m just being hard on myself, but if you’re reading this right now, it means that I made it to the finish line, just like Pierre Lavoie did on his first triathlon.
This is not how I pictured my website to look like in first place, but my goal here, for now, is to get out of my comfort zone, write like a human being, allow myself to make mistakes, learn from them and keep on writing in hope of self-improvement and on-going inspiration.