Many of us spend much of our time striving to be perfect. Personally, seeking perfection served me well for many years, until I realized that if I focus on excellence perfection is irrelevant.
While striving for perfection, I was thriving with numerous career opportunities for delivering perfect or near perfect results on a regular basis. I believed that I would remain successful only if I continued to strive for perfection. This belief kept me safely nestled in my comfort zone, however over the time I realized it was not only affecting my health but also limiting my growth potential.
The downside of striving for perfection
It’s hard to believe that striving to be perfect can affect you negatively but it can! Here’s the thing, if you focus on small mistakes and getting things perfect, you miss out on so many other things around you. We must realize that striving to be perfect is not the same as striving for your best. Brené Brown says, “Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.” The need to be perfect can become a defense mechanism to guard us against the pain and threat of failure. Perfection encourages us to focus on what others think of us rather than on improving ourselves.
There is a better way…trust me
Once I embraced my emotional intelligence and became more self-aware, I learned that striving for perfection is not only an unhealthy way to live, it’s impossible. I realized when I focus on being perfect, I’m missing a lot of important things in my life and I’ve come to believe that getting things done trumps perfection, reduces procrastination and enhances productivity.
I speak about this during my workshops and coaching sessions to encourage others to recognize the benefits of focusing on self-improvement rather than perfection as well as the importance of making errors and learning from them.
How to make the change and what to focus on
Instead of striving for perfection, focus on how to:
- Stop being your biggest critic
- Stop setting unrealistic standards
- Stop worrying about what others think
- Stop procrastinating
- Stop worrying about failing
- Allow yourself to fail and learn from it
- Love and accept your non-perfect self
- Start your personal journey to excellence
“Excellence does not mean perfection. We all make mistakes and take the odd wrong turn on our life’s journey. But if we pause long enough each day to prioritize what’s important to us, we’ve cleared the path ahead for progress and the next steps toward excellence.” – Linda Marshall