We were recently on a telephone call with a colleague, talking about a project we are working on together. At the end of the call our colleague said, “I will have the project summary to you by the end of the week.”
His voice became stressed as he talked about all he needed to get done to finish the project outline by Friday. We said, “Make this a GEFN (pronounced gef`- en) draft.” He said, “GEFN. What is that?
We said, “GEFN stands for ‘good enough for now.’“
He started laughing and said that approach is totally contrary to his usual way of doing things. Working hard and striving for perfectionism has brought him professional success, but with some undue stress and anxiety.
When we shared with him that we often live by GEFN as a guide in our creating process, there was an audible sound of relief on the other end of the phone. “Thank you,” he said. “Just thinking about GEFN helps me to relax and not worry about having a perfect paper. Now I can get that draft to you by Friday and actually enjoy writing it.”
GEFN is a concept that David created in the heat of facilitating a group of executives who were trying to get to a “perfect” solution that sapped the energy of their co-creating process.
All human beings want to be creative and bring forth their best self – as Creators. Our job as fellow Creators is to find ways that help reduce the stress and drama in our teams, at home, and in our communities. We have found that GEFN is a tool and way of thinking that allows creativity to flow with more ease and grace.
The GEFN approach to creating can help you nurture your “inner Creator.” By not having to have everything figured out, you can more easily relax, take one Baby Step, learn, adjust and keep moving forward.
GEFN helps interrupt the dance of the internal Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) that might sound something like: “I feel like a Victim if others think anything bad about me. Therefore, I will strive to look good – even perfect – at all costs.”
Your inner Persecutor can also come alive at this point, insisting that you must “get it right” and not let anyone see your work until it is perfect. Needing to have it all figured out before you begin to create is the “enemy” of learning, creativity, and innovation.
Learning often requires experimentation, multiple attempts and, yes, falling short. As you engage in the creating process, you will learn and adjust with each Baby Step, even when the step fails to produce the particular result you hoped for.
We often title the first draft of our Friday “TED* Works!” essay our GEFN draft. By saying it is “good enough for now” our fear of having to have it perfect gives us room to breathe. We then hand the draft off to the other for editing and honing.
As a Creator, allow yourself to be vulnerable to imperfection, for that is how you learn, grow, and develop. The continuous learning mindset embraces the reality of not knowing, in particular, how you are going to achieve your envisioned outcomes, which makes the perfectionist in you cringe.
By embracing GEFN, you give your inner critic a break so you can focus on the next Baby Step in service to what you want to create. You will immediately feel a shift from stress and anxiety to possibility, and even fun.
We know our colleague’s GEFN draft will be the beginning of the next phase of our co-creating process.