ME: What does seeking perfection bring you?
CLIENT: Stress. Frustration. Anxiety. Disappointment. Tiredness.
ME: What does accepting imperfection bring you?
When we finished up, there was one big question left unanswered:
Can you have high standards while also letting go of being perfect?
There is a big difference between perfectionism and striving for excellence.
On the other hand, striving for excellence is about growing personally, regardless of what others may think.
As we engage in this tired and disappointing struggle for perfection, we end up missing out on so much of life because we don’t want to be judged, disappointed, hurt, or shamed. We are running around, working our butts off to please others and gain their approval, rather than doing things for our own pleasure.
- There is a difference between wanting a clean house because it makes you feel at peace, and wanting a clean house because you don’t want people to judge you when they walk in the door.
- There is a difference between packing a healthy lunch for your child because you want them to have the nutrients and vitamins associated with that healthy lunch, and packing a healthy lunch because you don’t want the other parents to talk about you behind your back.
- There is a difference between putting on clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable, and putting on clothes that will impress the people you will see that day.
- There is a difference between learning new skills to grow your business because it will give you a sense of financial security, and growing your business so that you can install a pool to show up your neighbor.
See where I am going with this?
Are you trying to be perfect or are you striving for excellence? That depends on the answer to these questions:
- What is your motivation?
- Who are you really striving for? Is it for you, or for someone else?
- Why are you doing it?
If you find yourself wanting and hoping for the approval of others, you might end up feeling like my client--tired, stressed, and frustrated.
You will also end up constantly waiting and constantly hoping because the need for approval will never diminish.
If you want less stress, less fatigue, and less frustration, the answer lies in letting go of perfection.
It's not easy, but it starts with awareness. Once you have that awareness, you can start the process of slowly letting go of perfection. (More on how to do that another time…)
Sometimes being bold means being content with imperfection.