Perfectionism is not the key to success or the protection from criticism or self-doubt that we sometimes hope it will be. Rather perfectionism all too often ends up being a twenty-two ton shield that we exhaust ourselves lugging around, sucking up all our energy.
Perfectionism is NOT excellence: excellence is achievable, perfection is not. Truth Telling: Perfection is a mirage, an illusion, a delusion. Perfect is also the enemy of productivity for keeps us from moving on to the next task as we attempt endless refinements.
True Confession: Yes, I am a driven, compulsive obsessive perfectionist! BUT at the same time, I know that perfection is merely an aspirational target I aim for to ensure that I get as close to excellence as possible. Furthermore, I know that Being the Best I Can Be, Doing, Achieving, Being the Most I Can, involves ongoing growth in many different aspects of my being, not just perfecting one. One way to explain is that I start every racquetball game with the goal of winning 15-0 (Perfect!). It rarely happens (Life/Reality) but it’s still what I visualize/aspire to in my mind’s eye.
My personal definition of success is to be an 8 or 9 in the six key areas of my life (Family, Leader, Community Member, Physical Fitness, Spiritual Awareness, Stewardship) not a “Perfect 10” in one or two areas, with the resulting fall off in other areas (Though I’d like to believe I prioritize Family).
“In business, perfectionism is the enemy of profitability.” – Mark Cuban, b. 1958, owner, Dallas Mavericks
“Perfectionism is about trying to earn others’ approval. Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will people think?’ Whenever perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun.” – Bene Brown, Daring Greatly
“The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin. Nothing works perfectly the first time, or the first fifty times. Everything has a learning curve. The beginning is just that – a beginning. Surrender your desire to do it flawlessly on the first try. It’s not possible. Learn to learn. Learn to fail. Learn to learn from failing. And begin today. Begin now. Stop waiting.” – Vironika Tugaleva, The Art of Talking to Ourselves
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier