Quit Striving for Perfection, Start Thriving in Progression


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Have you ever stumbled over perfection? I do it all of the time. Here are a few ways striving for perfection makes me stumble…

  1. I get so caught up in the fact that I may not do it perfectly that I don’t do it at all. Nothing great was ever done because someone failed to try. Everything we attempt comes with the possibility of failure. But, failure is an event; not a person.
  2. Sometimes, when my end goal is perfection, my “in the game” performance is all I focus on.  When my thoughts circle on doing something perfectly, I often jump ahead and don’t spend enough time preparing and planning.  True success is often found in the calm times of preparation. At sporting events, you don’t get to see all of the practices, meetings, playbook and locker room chats. You just see the game. Months and months of planning, preparing and hard work for a few hours of play time.
  3. When I know I am coming up short of perfection, I tend to think of excuses. No one wants to hear them and they just make me look desperately inadequate. Excuses mean I quit trying and am looking for something or someone to blame other than myself.

Maybe you are like me and find that the thoughts and goals of perfection are actually causing you to stumble. Striving for excellence in all that we do is different than striving for perfection. When I am not striving for perfection, I can begin thriving in progress. Emotionally healthy people understand that there is a difference between perfection and progress. They know that we, as humans are fallible and incapable of perfection. People who think otherwise usually end up steeped in pride and a misguided sense of leadership.

So, what do we perfectionists do stop the on going search for perfection that causes us to stumble?

  1. Realize you have limitations. Understand that you may fail. Accept the possibility of that. Then, go after it with everything you have got. Recruit people to help you that can do the things you can not. A real sign of maturity is recognizing you need other people to succeed. If you fail, learn from your mistakes and try again. Don’t be so afraid of failure, that you never try. I can respect a person that always gets up when they fall. Go for making some progress, not being perfect.
  2. Prepare and plan. Educate yourself about what you are doing. So many times we believe the lie that something really good can happen quickly.  You have to put in the work if you want to make progress. There are some nights I open a jar of spaghetti sauce, and that is ok. But, there are some nights I dice, sauce, simmer, sip and smell. Nothing that comes in a jar compares to that rich and deliciously wonderful homemade sauce I make. Don’t get so ahead of yourself thinking about your end goal, that you forget to put in the effort.
  3. Excuse: an attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify;a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.  Both of these definitions focus on a fault or offense. Neither of these definitions have anything to do with taking responsibility. I don’t like giving excuses and I don’t like getting them. Usually when I give them, it is a prideful attempt of trying to attach blame to the reason I didn’t meet the mark. I could just admit that I didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t seek to be educated, I didn’t ask for help, I didn’t prioritize, I didn’t follow up,  I didn’t think it through, I didn’t delegation, I didn’t investigate and I didn’t make any progress. Attempts to mask being imperfect with excuses always hinders progress.

Instead of focusing on being the best, focus on being your best. Thrive by seeking out progress. Bring value to whatever you do my taking responsibility for yourself. Don’t keep stumbling over pride and perfectionism. God has great plans for your life!!

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