Ah perfectionism. That old chestnut.
We see the word, we feel the trait within our personality, we tell ourselves that it is a positive, that it drives us and motivates us… but does it really? How can it when ‘perfect’, more often than not, is all based on opinion not fact. One persons perfect is another’s imperfect.
Perfection pushes us but not in the way we would like. Taken to extreme it can push you into many stressful, unhappy situations that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t escape from. Many of you will know, it’s a rough patch.
But what if I told you that your aim in life should be ‘done’. How many times have you strived for perfection and as a result never achieved anything? Work, relationships, the ideal home life… let’s dive in.
Unrealistic goal – what is perfect anyway?
As mentioned above, the meaning of perfection in any situation can vary. It is very hard to achieve. Let’s use a really simple example of baking a cake. You want it to be perfect, it’s for a special occasion. But what is perfect? A professional looking cake? Have you spent years practicing for this moment? Does the perfect icing to you look crisp and even? But what if I told you my perfect icing was ooey, gooey and messy?
In making the perfect cake you have spent time stressing over the details when none of that will matter at all. Your friend will just be happy you put in the effort to make him a cake from scratch… and no one will notice where the icing didn’t meet up…
Better to have taken some action than none at all
Constantly striving for perfection often means that your task is never done. You never hand in that side project you have been so engaged with at work. You don’t hand over the baby blanket you have knitted for you friends new baby. Sometimes you don’t even bother trying because you know it can’t be perfect… “…and if it can’t be perfect then why try at all…” – this coming from a recovered perfectionist. Simply try – I guarantee you will never regret taking action but will regret action never taken.
Believe that your best is enough – and that your best will change
Your best is different to being perfect. Your best can change. Your best is more realistic. Your best represents you. Any task you put your mind to, aim for simply doing your best rather than an obscure notion of ‘perfect’. Your best will change dependant on how you are feeling that day, how much experience you have, what else is going on in your world. No one, including yourself, could or should ever ask more of you than your best.
Trying is believing in yourself
Get started. Do your best and try. It may not be what you had hoped for… but that’s ok. Simply trying in this big crazy world is enough – it shows the world that you believe in yourself. And folks, confidence is sexy! Confidence is free! Confidence doesn’t mean getting it perfect, it means putting yourself out there and not being afraid to fail…. because so what? You tried and that means everything.
It’s only a first draft, don’t sweat it!
Aim for done, not perfection…. because guess what? It’s only a first draft! Everything in life can change, we can change, our careers can change, our relationships, our home, our dreams…. just let it be your first draft. Don’t sweat it out.
Do what you need to do. Life is too short spend on the never-ending search for perfect.
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you try things you know won’t be perfect?
Have you ever found ‘perfect’ in any situation?