Are you committed to perfection? Many of us have grown up believing that “Perfection” is the ideal standard to strive for, and we commit ourselves to that standard daily. And while commitments can be good things, committing to perfection is like telling dirty jokes in church – Entirely Inappropriate!
Yes, I really said that. Committing to perfection is entirely inappropriate.
Now before you come unglued thinking I just said that sloppy work, lackadaisical attitudes, and missed deadlines are ok, let me be clear: your choices aren’t perfection or crap!
How do you know you are committed to perfection? You get to the point where all you can see is your shortcomings. Nothing you or anyone else does ever meets the mark. For example:
- You completed the report on time and it was extremely well-documented– but your opening paragraph could have been stronger. Not quite perfect.
- You made a stellar presentation with outstanding talking points – but stumbled over your words at the end. Oh no! The entire presentation was not perfect!
- Dinner was homemade, hot, and filling – but the chicken was a little dry. (hanging head) It wasn’t perfect!
Welcome to the inappropriate commitment called perfection! When I say “inappropriate commitment,” I mean committing yourself to something that is not in alignment with the things that matter most to you. And in this case, you’ve aligned yourself with, and committed yourself to, perfection
Sweetheart, I’m here to tell you something you may not like:
PERFECTION is not in alignment with ANYBODY’S gifts.
Nobody is perfect. Nobody can do everything perfectly, flawlessly, and without room for improvement!
The search for perfection, that commitment that everything must be perfect, flawless, and done 110% is a recipe for always being in a constant state of agitation, activity, and worry.
When you are constantly in a state of agitation and frantic activity, you quite literally get in your own way. You may find yourself skipping meals, workouts and otherwise neglecting your physical self, or cutting yourself off from the other things that bring you joy like your friends or your kids. Sadly, when you cut yourself off from those things you love, you are also cutting yourself off from the energy, creativity, and innovation required to accomplish the very thing you are working so hard to get “perfect.
Before too long, you’ll find yourself resenting the activities that you committed to – because your commitment isn’t really to them; it’s to being perfect.
You’ll hate the project, even though it leverages your best gifts.
You’ll resent your coworkers and boss.
You’ll resent making a nutritious dinner for your family.
So how do you renegotiate this commitment to perfection in a way that still allows you to honor your appropriate commitments: to the project, your team, your family? What’s the difference between committing to perfection and committing to personal excellence?
Be Committed but Not Attached
The key to personal excellence is to be committed to a Clear Intention but not attached to how you get there. When we get attached to a certain methodology, or the way we think things are “supposed” to happen, we actually make the task more difficult! Remaining committed to your desired result but unattached to the path you take to get there allows you to remain open to new opportunities and resources that were not previously available to you.
Your old commitment said:
“If it isn’t perfect, I’m not working hard enough. I’m not good enough.”
When you’re so concerned with this old commitment to perfection you’re operating from the mindset that if something isn’t “perfect” you didn’t do your best work and put forth your best effort. You are focusing on being flawless – and forgetting about completing the task to your own personal level of excellence!
So how about considering a new commitment: always pursuing your personal excellence.
When you commit to bringing your best gifts to every project, (ideally even positioning yourself to win the projects that best align with your gifts) and you commit to supporting yourself in all aspects (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial) as you pour yourself into the project, your personal excellence will come through on its own. Your result will be far more than sufficient.
And you get to revel in the things that already bring you joy…including your work. How’s that for something to commit to?
I want to hear from you!
Let me know how you’re committing to personal excellence. Or tell me how an inappropriate commitment to perfection has made you crazy! Leave a comment below!