Expect Progress, Not Perfection

Zirkus Design | Expect Progress Not Perfection | Hand Lettering + Watercolor


We’re all on a journey.

Intentionally or passively, forward or backward, for better or worse, we are all moving. If we don’t choose the destination or strive toward a specific goal, we will still end up somewhere, though that somewhere may be less than desirable with a lack of direction or focus.

My Creative Journey

I began my journey to a creative career at the beginning of 2017. Though I have an art degree, I have never held a creative job title. This is not for lack of want; rather, life circumstances required that I take the best paying job possible ASAP. Though I have always found a way to be creative in each of my positions, the desire still existed to make art and design my primary business. This craving bubbled over at the end of 2016, and I began to really ask myself if such a move could be possible.

At the time, I was homeschooling my two oldest sons and failing my creativity because I just did not have a bit of time to let it out. I also felt completely inadequate. My artistic skills had been shelved during years of having babies and raising boys, and I was acutely aware of how painfully rusty my technique and execution were. I didn’t want to compare myself to anyone, but it is insanely hard not to do that.

Back to School

Serendipity or not, I came across an offer for three months of Skillshare classes for $0.99. With my husband’s support and encouragement, I parted with my spare change and nearly exhausted myself, fitting in classes whenever I had a few extra moments. At the end of those three months, I came away with two things: confidence (I can do this!) and fear (I definitely cannot do this!). Most days, I waffle between those two extremes. Don’t we all?

Two ideas significantly impacted me from my Skillshare months. The first is:

There is room for you.

Bonnie Christine mentions this¬† in each of her Skillshare classes. It is so easy to feel like everyone is already doing what I want to do, so why bother? Bonnie also mentioned that it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing; it only matters what you’re doing. I could feel the kindness and support coming through as she encouraged her students both in their creative careers as well as in developing the skills in her classes.

The second idea that I have heard and read in multiple versions is basically this:

Success in design is 5% talent and 95% hard work.

We creatives are an insecure bunch, and I know that we are constantly questioning whether our work is “good enough.” But, who wants to work with a designer that spends all their time either admiring how awesome their own work is or doing absolutely nothing out of fear of failure? I love to work hard because I thoroughly enjoy the sense of accomplishment when a job is done.

Expect Progress, Not Perfection

My work may not be as show-stopping as someone else more famous or well-known. But, that’s okay. I want to be satisfied with doing the absolute best job I can do with the talent, time, and energy I possess. As a recovering perfectionist, I know there will be days that I will struggle with comparing myself to other artists and designers. I want my goal to be a joyful creative career through progress, not perfection. I hope to keep making art and serving clients for as long as the Good Lord allows.

The Story Behind the Piece

I lettered this piece with the “Expect Progress, Not Perfection” phrase last night. The suggestion came from my husband, and I am pleased with how it turned out. I scanned it into Photoshop and added the watercolor background blob which I had painted and scanned a while ago. When I uploaded the final lettered piece to Instagram, I noticed the inverse in the list of filters. I normally do not add filters to black and white lettering, but I couldn’t get enough of the contrast and how it gave a different but equally appropriate look to the design.

Zirkus Design | Expect Progress Not Perfection Inverse | Hand Lettering + Pen & Ink

I’d love to know – which version of the lettered phrase is your favorite? Do you find it easy to strive for progress instead of perfection? If so, I’d love to know your secrets! Please do share in the comments below.

To welcome you to my blog and thank you for stopping by, I would like to give you a FREE download of Expect Progress, Not Perfection.

You can download the PDF in either letter-size or A4 using the links below.

LETTER SIZE | Zirkus Design | Expect Progress Not Perfection | Hand Lettering + Watercolor | FREE Download 

A4 SIZE | Zirkus Design | Expect Progress Not Perfection | Hand Lettering + Watercolor | FREE Download

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