Being perfect sucks
When I first started my business and was interviewing employees I asked questions like “what’s your biggest weakness when it comes to fulfilling this position?” The most common answer?
“I’m a perfectionist.”
I’m pretty sure that this must come standard in interviewing 101.
I always thought this was a pretty crap answer because it seemed like a way to avoid admitting faults (additionally I could see from their poorly formatted resumes that they were indeed not perfectionists). Now I realize how true that answer could be for many of us.
Perfectionism can cause major delays, anxiety, massive heartache, and strain relationships. And, the worst part is this: even if you think what you’ve created is perfect, it’s not. I mean, it’s perfect like everything in the world is perfect: perfectly imperfect.
I remember when I was designing our first business cards for The Dragontree, I spent days agonizing over fonts and placement and wording and colors. It consumed me. When I was done I thought it was perfect. Everything just as it should be, never to be touched again.
But just months later it needed to be tweaked: new font. Then a few months after that we needed to add our website. Then again: better logo. The first couple of times we changed it I felt like my heart was being ripped out – I thought I made it perfect! I guess I failed. It was painful to admit that even after days of scrutiny, my creation wasn’t flawless.
It was painful because I had so much of my self-worth wrapped up in an unattainable illusion called perfection.
We’ve changed that business card so much over the years that it doesn’t even resemble the first “perfect” card. But I wouldn’t have known what needed to be tweaked without putting it out there and finding out.
Once I realized that my copy will never be perfect, my spa will never be perfect, my body will never be perfect, my house will never be perfect, my parenting will never be perfect, I relaxed. On a soul level. Things were light again, and fun, like when I was a kid, only better.
Instead of tormenting myself with the goal of picture perfect, I resolved to do my best, put it out there, and welcome the next evolution.
Perfect isn’t possible. Do your best and resolve to evolve. – Tweet it
You’ll save yourself so much time, energy, and despair if you allow yourself to let go, be human, and be perfectly imperfect – just like the rest of us. The amount you can accomplish when you are focused on doing your best and being productive is astounding. If your mission is to feed starving children in Africa, it’s better to do it now, than to do it perfectly.
Do you find yourself in perfection paralysis? What can you do this week to move past perfect and allow for evolution?