“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for – perfection is God’s business.” ~ Michael J. Fox
Perfectionism can paralyse you and stop your dreams in their tracks. If you suffer from perfectionism, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Being a perfectionist can keep you from fulfilling your true potential and living your life freely.
Sadly, I see so many people on a regular basis, holding back from sharing their gifts with the world because of an unrealistic quest to be perfect and a deep debilitating fear that they never will be. And I can confess, that in the past, the unrealistic expectation of perfection has tripped me up on more than one occasion too. The funny thing is, we usually don’t expect that of others we love and care about. We accept them as they are. But yet, we expect it of ourselves.
Think about it…
Would you expect your best friend or a child to be perfect all the time? No, you probably love and accept them for who they are. Sure, you might encourage them to step up to their true potential. But that means that as long as they are doing their best, it’s enough. That, in my opinion, is excellence – being your best true you. See I think too often, we have this unrealistic expectation that things need to be perfect – that we need to be perfect, to be enough. But perfection is something that is rarely, if ever achieved. But being your highest self, your best true you – is not only achievable, it’s excellence in divine form. And when we are free to be our best selves, our power expands and our happiness is increased.
I recently Googled the word “perfect”, and guess what it said?
The first definition that popped up was, “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be”. Take note of that last part… “as good as it is possible to be”. So, for each and every one of us, it simply means, stepping up to our true potential, being our best selves. That is it – nothing more, because nothing more is possible. (And isn’t that all we’d ask of those we love?)
In looking up the definition, I got to thinking, what if we each defined perfection for ourselves? I’m a firm believer that the only way to have a truly fulfilling life, is to define success for ourselves. So, wouldn’t the same hold true for perfection?
Let me explain…
My definition of success and yours may be very different because we value different things. Likewise, our definitions of what is “perfect” is subjective as well. So striving for perfection is an elusive goal, unless we get clear on what it means to us. Which is where excellence comes in or as I like to call it, being “your best true you” or your best self.
I’ll give you a practical example using “the perfect evening”. As I sit on my back patio writing this, it’s a perfect evening to me in this moment. It’s a warm evening. I’m looking out at the sun beginning to set behind the mountains. A healthy meal is cooking in the kitchen and I can smell its yummy scent. My family is all home relaxing and my dogs are laying by my side as I write. In this moment, it’s the perfect evening – for me. You might not see it that way. You might think a perfect evening is a night on the town, drinking the best champagne and eating the finest foods. And guess what? On occasion, I might agree. But not in this moment. In this moment, for me, it’s the perfect evening.
See that’s the thing – perfection is in the eye of the beholder. It can change from one moment to the next and one person to the next. If we define perfection for ourselves then we know what we are striving for. Simply put, it no longer becomes about perfection, it becomes about effort and progress. And when you bring that effort every single day to everything you do, that’s when transformation happens. That’s how change happens. And that’s how you find your true excellence.
When you define what perfect means to you, is when you are free to become your best true you. And being your best self is not about being without a flaw or failure here or there. As a matter of fact, those little imperfections are what give us character, make us human and make us better. So don’t worry about striving for perfection. Instead, strive for progress. And strive to be your best true you.
Now it’s up to you…
Redefine what perfect means to you. Think about the moments when you feel you are at your best. How are you showing up? What is it about yourself that you value most when you are being your best true you? That’s really where the definition of perfect must come from in order for you to recognise your potential, and accept that who you are at the core, is enough. And in that process of making an effort to seek out and then show up as your best self, that is where you will find excellence. Because it’s not about the outcome, it’s about who you are on the journey. Effort is where excellence is achieved. And excellence is something we can all reach.