Recently, I was told, “In a perfect world, all things would go perfectly.”
This got me thinking about how “perfection” plays a very big role in our lives.
To be perfect, is to be lacking from “fault or defect”. If we’re being honest with ourselves, is there anything really “perfect” in our lives? No.
So, when I hear…
“I can’t reach out without the perfect email.”
“I don’t want to start this unless it is perfect.”
“I am not ready to release my website unless it is absolutely perfect.”
… I am confused. Are you not moving forward with a part of your life because of an unattainable standard? If so, why would you do this? Why do we stand in our own path of success?
From TV, movies, media, and society, we are all inundated with this need to be “perfect.” You can even find a reference to being perfect in the Bible:
Matthew 5:48: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Growing up in my own household, perfection was always the standard. When I got a 98 on a test, I wasn’t congratulated or celebrated for my accomplishment. Instead, I was asked why I didn’t get a 100. Chasing down the path for perfection is a road that has no end, unless you recognize what is happening and decide to take a new and healthier path.Am I saying we should shoot for mediocrity? Absolutely not.
But refusing to move forward with your life, feeling inadequate all the time, or failing to celebrate your accomplishments is not really living. We downright should ferociously pursue our dreams. It feels good to do a superb job and work very hard, but we need to drop this notion of “perfection” for something much bigger… reality.
In reality, we have hopes and dreams and it’s up to us to make them a reality. In order to do this, we need to be as honest with ourselves as possible. Are we willing to ask ourselves critical questions? Can we really put in the hard work? Will we stay the course through the good and bad times?
To tackle my own journey dealing with perfection, I have found the following four tips:
Focus on the Big Picture – In the middle of the night, when I am working on something for a client or a blog post for Dressing Room 8, it is important to take a step back and remember what the big picture is. Yeah, you might want to send the beautiful email, craft that proposal that will get an automatic “yes”, but ultimately it is not about striving for this unrealistic “perfect” product. The goal is to work towards something you love so you can continue to be happy and productive in your life. This is always the most important thing!
Always be Kind to Myself – It sucks making a mistake. Maybe you made a grammar mistake in an email, said the wrong thing to the wrong person, or tripped on the runway. Whatever the mistake is, we all make them. Making a mistake is a part of life. How we deal with them is completely under our control. Beating ourselves up on the inside isn’t going to prevent you from making a mistake so it doesn’t make sense to be so self destructive. Instead, acknowledge what happened and be kind to yourself with what you say and what you do moving forward.
Celebrate every Victory – Focusing on all the negatives of what is going in your life is never going to make you feel good. It is so easy to think about all the things we “don’t do well”. But what are you amazing at? What are the incredible unique qualities about yourself that is special to you? Every day we accomplish things on our checklist. Every time we do this, it is a victory. We need to remember there are small victories and large victories. But a victory is a victory.
Never give up on your health – If I could work 25 hours a day, I absolutely would. Is this healthy? Absolutely not. It is important to take the time to breath and enjoy the sunlight creeping through the window. If you enjoy napping (like I do), then nap and don’t feel guilty about it. Taking care of yourself is a part of being successful. Getting exercise and making good eating choices is just as important as spending time in front of a computer all day long. Your health can’t be sacrificed for the pursuit of “perfection”. Remembering this fact will save you endless hours of pain and regret.
I always say, perfection is fiction; the only place perfection could exist is nowhere. The next time you’re getting in the way of accomplishing your goals, remember this fact: There is no such thing as perfection. We exist in reality, not fiction, and choose how high the barrier to success really is. Choosing to accept this is how you can happily pursue the life you want and remember that you are imperfectly amazing!