Last week I had a very rich discussion about perfectionism with one of my clients. This is what part of it sounded like:
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.
Brené Brown reminds us that perfectionism is about others and what they will think. It isn’t about growth. It’s about seeking approval.
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.
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:
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.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
P.S. Waiting for me to write about a topic? Wait no more. Shoot me an email with your idea or your question and you will see it sometime in the near future.
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