“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can achieve it; perfection is God’s business.” ~ Michael J. Fox
Perfectionism can paralyze 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 prevent you from reaching your true potential and living your life freely.
Sadly, I see so many people on a regular basis, refraining from sharing their gifts with the world due to 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 also tripped me on more than one occasion. The funny thing is, we usually don’t expect that from other people we love and care about. We accept them as they are. But, nevertheless, we expect it of ourselves.
Think about it …
Would you expect your best friend or child to be perfect all the time? No, you probably love and accept them for what they are. Sure, you can encourage them to take a step towards their true potential. But that means that as long as they do the best they can, it is enough. That, in my opinion, is excellence, being your best true you. Look, I think all too often we have this unrealistic expectation that things must be perfect, that we must be perfect, be sufficient. But perfection is something that is rarely, if ever, achieved. But being your highest self, your true best self, is not only achievable, it is excellence in divine form. And when we are free to be our best, our power expands and our happiness increases.
I recently googled the word “perfect”, and guess what it said?
The first definition that emerged was “to have all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as possible.” Take note of that last part … “as good as can be”. So for each and every one of us, it simply means, taking a step towards our true potential, being the best of ourselves. That’s it, nothing more, because nothing else is possible. (And isn’t that all we would ask of those we love?)
Looking for the definition, I got to thinking, what if each of us defines perfection for ourselves? I firmly believe that the only way to have a truly fulfilling life is to define success for ourselves. So wouldn’t the same apply perfectly?
Let me explain …
My definition of success and yours can be very different because we value different things. Likewise, our definitions of what is “perfect” are also subjective. So striving for perfection is a difficult goal to achieve, unless we are clear about what it means to us. Which is where excellence comes in or what I like to call it, be “your best truth you” or your best self.
I will give you a practical example using “the perfect evening”. As I sit in my backyard writing this, it’s a perfect night for me right now. It is a warm afternoon. I’m looking at the sun starting to set behind the mountains. A healthy meal is being cooked in the kitchen and I can smell its delicious aroma. My family is at home relaxing and my dogs are lying next to me as I write. Right now, it’s the perfect evening, for me. You may not see it that way. You might think that a perfect evening is a night on the town, drinking the best champagne and eating the best meals. And guess what? Sometimes you might agree. But not right now. Right now, for me, it’s the perfect evening.
Look, that’s the thing: perfection is in the eyes of the beholder. It can change from moment to moment and from person to person. If we define perfection for ourselves, then we will know what we are striving for. Simply put, it’s no longer about perfection, it’s about effort and progress. And when you put that effort into everything you do every day, that’s when transformation happens. This is how change happens. And this is how you find your true excellence.
When you define what perfect means to you, that is when you are free to become your true best self. And being your best self is not about being without flaws or failures here or there. In fact, those little imperfections are what give us character, make us human and make us better. So don’t worry about looking for perfection. Instead, strive to progress. And live to be your best true you.
Now up to you …
Redefine what perfect means to you. Think about the times when you feel at your best. How are you showing up? What do you value most about yourself when you are giving your best? This is really where the definition of perfect must come from for you to recognize your potential and accept that who you are at the center is enough. And in that process of making an effort to seek and then show yourself 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 that we can all achieve.
Go and be the best you can!