My name is Kate.
I’m a recovering perfectionist.
I’m not sure whether there’s a “Perfectionist Anonymous” group but there definitely could be and I would be an active member. I’ve struggled with perfectionism for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure how much others can tell because I try really hard to be perfect about not being a perfectionist. See what I did there?
I know there are many others out there like me. I’ve spoken to you and *some* of you may or may not even be a part of my team. Perfection seems like a good idea in theory. Who wouldn’t want things to work out as perfect as possible? Projects coming together without a hitch or success stories that sound like something from a Disney movie. Perfect can be enticing.
The Perfect Problem: It Sucks.
The problem is, perfectionism can be immobilizing. Striving to be perfect can make you afraid to fail or consume you with comparison. Being perfect isn’t satisfying and for me at least, the pursuit of “perfect” doesn’t add to my happiness. Instead, it can leave me feeling judged, judgmental and disappointed in myself and others. What I’m saying is, perfect kind of sucks.
The big problem with perfection is that it’s rarely attainable. I’ve recognized my problem but I also recognize that I probably won’t perfectly defeat this mentality. I may always struggle with the desire to be perfect and not cut myself any slack or think of how I could have done better. That’s reality and I won’t beat myself up because of it.
The Perfect Solution: Excellence.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about excellence and the pursuit of excellence. Choosing to be your best self, give your best work and bring it every day — that’s excellence. It’s not perfect. It’s a process and it’s a process that you may never complete. It’s ongoing and it’s motivating. I don’t feel judged by pursuing excellence. I feel kind of encouraged actually.
- Perfection is based on comparison and performance.
- Perfect keeps you falling short and failing often.
- Perfection is driven by fear (failure, the opinion of others, etc.)
- Perfect represents a narrow set of seldom attained standards.
- Perfection doesn’t provide the freedom to truly rejoice in victory because it makes us feel we could have done better.
- Excellence allows you to start with where you are and move forward into limitless possibilities and potential.
- Excellence allows you to view failure as an opportunity to improve and look toward your next chance to do so.
- Excellence drives you to take what you have and make the most of it.
- Excellence inspires creativity.
- Excellence allows for humanity.
- The pursuit of excellence is empowering.
I hope this post encourages you that it’s OK to be imperfect and it’s actually preferred. I’ve made great strides toward the mindset of excellence over perfectionism. It’s pretty tough sometimes and I catch myself shifting focus often. That’s OK though: I’m not perfect.
How do you combat perfectionism? Do you think there’s a difference between being perfect and being excellent?