I am afraid this is not good enough,”
“I am worried it reflects poorly on me.”
“I want to make sure it’s perfect.”
Have you heard someone say these words?
Have you ever had these thoughts yourself?
I have encountered them, and now I often listen to them from my clients during coaching sessions.
Pursuing perfection may sound enticing and logical, but it is an illusion that brings about various not-so-great consequences :
- Fear of Failure: You are likely to become trapped in the fear of failure, constantly worrying about making mistakes or falling short of expectations. This fear holds you back from taking necessary risks and embracing new opportunities.
- Worry, anxiety: Your pursuit can create constant fear and anxiety. People tend to think, “What if it’s not good enough?” or “What if I make a mistake?” many other disempowering thoughts may consume their minds, draining energy and limiting their creativity.
- Procrastination: You delay action, waiting for the perfect conditions or plan. This procrastination hinders your progress and prevents you from reaching your full potential.
- Indecisiveness: Overthinking and overanalyzing every decision, you can get stuck in a cycle of indecision, fearing that your choice may not be perfect. This indecisiveness can also hold you back from moving forward.
- Burnout: Perfectionists typically set unrealistically high standards for themselves, resulting in excessive work hours and an inability to switch off. Over time, this can lead to chronic stress and burnout, impacting overall health and well-being.
- Performance below potential: Paradoxically, the relentless pursuit of perfection often leads to implementation below your true potential. You can become overly critical of yourself, excessively self-conscious, and afraid to express your talents fully. This self-imposed pressure stifles your creativity and limits your ability to achieve remarkable results.
- Damaged Relationships: Perfectionists not only set high standards for themselves but often for others around them as well. This can strain personal and professional relationships, as it can create unrealistic expectations and foster a lack of understanding and empathy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead of pursuing perfection, I encourage you to embrace the path of seeking excellence. Shift your focus from unattainable perfection to acknowledging what is going well and working to improve it.
Trust in your talents, abilities, and skills, for there is a wellspring of greatness within you that you can unleash. Adopting this mindset can reduce stress, unleash your creativity, get you to take action, and achieve true success.
Understand and act on these seven steps to move towards excellence:
- Get clear on your objectives:
Clarity breeds confidence. Take the time to define your goals and objectives clearly. When you understand what you want to achieve, focusing your efforts and working towards excellence becomes easier. Break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, and create a roadmap that outlines the steps you need to take.
2. Begin with where you are and what you have:
The quest for perfection often stems from comparing ourselves to others or setting unrealistic standards. Embrace the beauty of your journey by starting from where you are and utilizing the resources and abilities you already possess. Headway happens by taking small steps forward, so embrace your starting point and build upon it.
3. Experiment and use learnings to improve:
Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches and learn from successes and setbacks. Each experience provides valuable insights that can guide you towards excellence. Embrace a growth mindset that sees challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Adapt and adjust your strategies based on the feedback and lessons you receive.
4. Focus on what’s going well:
It’s easy to get caught up in self-criticism and focus solely on areas that need improvement. However, this approach only perpetuates the cycle of perfectionism. Instead, consciously shift your attention to the positive aspects of your work and life. Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. By acknowledging what’s going well, you cultivate a positive mindset that fuels further growth and progress.
5. Ask for help where needed:
Don’t be afraid to seek support and guidance from others. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Surround yourself with individuals who can contribute to your journey of excellence, whether it’s through mentorship, collaboration, or constructive feedback. Recognize that we don’t have to navigate the path of merit alone. By reaching out and seeking assistance, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience that can accelerate your growth.
6. Acknowledge progress:
Recognize and appreciate the progress you make along the way. Break down your goals into smaller milestones and celebrate each step forward. Take time to reflect on how far you have come and acknowledge the effort you have put in. By accepting your progress, you build momentum and stay motivated to continue your pursuit of excellence.
7. Celebrate efforts, not just achievements:
Celebrate the progress you have made, the lessons you have learned, and the personal growth you have experienced. Find joy in the process, and let it fuel your motivation to strive for excellence.
Accept that you are a ‘work in progress’ and liberate yourself from the false notion of needing to be perfect. Embrace the truth that each step you take on your journey towards excellence is an opportunity for growth and learning. Embrace the uniqueness of your path, and trust that you have within you all the qualities and abilities needed to achieve greatness.
Excellence and perfection, while seemingly synonymous, entail different approaches to work and life. Excellence, a more sustainable and rewarding goal, encourages learning, growth, and balance. Perfection, with its unattainable standards, leads to stress and self-doubt.
Remember, your goal is not about being perfect; it’s about striving for excellence and continuously growing. It’s about celebrating your progress, embracing the joy of the journey, and unlocking the tremendous potential that resides within you.
Trust yourself, take action, achieve lasting success, and positively impact the world. You have the power to create a life filled with excellence.