I had someone talk to me today about excellence. They spoke about what it was, how they measured it and then added that they were a perfectionist so being “Excellent” was an ever moving target. After our conversation I better understood why they also mentioned that they were freaked out, have never felt like what they did was enough. I could hear their struggle between striving for excellent and striving to be perfect. That is when this quote from Michael J. Fox came into my mind.
When we press ourselves to be perfect, we often find that admirable. We think and are often taught that nothing less than perfect is good enough. So we clean our plates, make our beds, do the right things to perfection and follow all the rules not knowing that these actions while productive often prevent us from being our true selves. None of us is perfect and when we drive ourselves to be perfect we run full speed ahead towards anxiety, frustration, disappointment and fear. As we can never be perfect we are always disappointed, feel we are disappointing others AND end up with knots in our heads and hearts trying to be something we are not.
Whew! Just typing that made me tense. I understand after many years that being myself, producing excellent work, and doing my very best is what I can bring to the table. Trying to be perfect is not my business it is God’s business, and HE never asked us to be perfect. He asks us to be true, honest and willing to say “Yes” when we see the need. Once I let go of being perfect my world changed for the better. I was able to help others step away from the slippery ledge and find their own path towards living a life defined by their own excellence and definition of success.
So which one are you struggling with – excellence or perfection? You can never do both, so let go and be you all the time. Know that you are enough just the way you are, work hard and produce excellent work. If we would all do that what a different world with would be.