- Is perfection something that you strive for?
- Do you like to have everything ‘just so’ before taking action?
- Does it drive you crazy when something isn’t completely perfect?
Striving for perfection can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand it drives us to try harder and do whatever it takes to achieve our goals. On the other, it can sap all the fun out of life. Even worse: we can become paralysed by perfection.
Whether it’s at work or at home, to do with our personal lives or our hobbies, the need to be perfect can take away all the creativity and possibility. And it’s deeply unsatisfying to be constantly striving for some sort of nirvana that can’t actually be reached. (Cue Salvador Dali quote: “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.”)
What if we set an intention to be committed to excellence without being attached to it? What if we allowed room for some imperfection in the spirit of discovery?
Consider all the areas of your life where striving for perfection might be counter-productive. Consider what being wedded to a certain outcome or way of doing things might be costing you.
- Maybe you keep such a tight rein on your team they never get the opportunity to make mistakes they can learn from.
- Maybe you spend so much time in the kitchen that you miss the best bits of your dinner party.
- Maybe your novel will never be published because you won’t show it to anyone.
- Maybe you’ve given up dating because no one who likes the look of you is good enough (and vice versa).
Now consider what you might be willing to let go of or change. Where could you lighten up a little? How might it feel to shift your perspective from judgement to curiosity? I’m not suggesting you ditch the prep for that important customer presentation and just ‘wing it’, but perhaps you could factor in a safe bit of ‘being in the moment’, just to see what happens.
How does that feel? How can you support yourself to make it easier? If it feels scary, uncomfortable or just plain wrong, what action might you take to lessen (not eradicate) those unwanted feelings? Write down some options e.g. ask for help, practise in front of a ‘safe’ audience, meditate, experiment with something small first… etc.
Please let me know how you get on.