Masterful Mindsets – Defining Perfection As Excellence

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for – perfection is God’s business.”   ~ Michael J. Fox


Do you suffer from perfectionism? What does the word “perfect” mean to you? Do you strive for perfection or do you strive for excellence? Is being a perfectionist keeping you from fulfilling your true potential and living your life freely?

Action Challenge:

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.

I can confess, that in the past, it has tripped me up on more than one occasion too. I’ve even had to have talks with my daughters about the unrealistic expectation of perfection. We try to remind them on a regular basis that we don’t expect them to be perfect, we just ask that they strive to be their best self. And 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 we, as a society, 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 full form. And when we are free to be our best selves, our power expands and our happiness is achieved.

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, being our best true selves. That is it – nothing more, because nothing more is possible.

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 fall evening. I’m looking out at the changing colors of the trees. (See my view in the image above) A great fall 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. It’s the perfect evening – for “this” evening and 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. See that’s the thing – perfection is in the eye of the beholder. 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.

My challenge to you is to redefine what perfect means to you. Think about the moments when you felt at your best. What characteristics do you value most? That’s really where the definition of perfect must come from at the core in order for you to show up as your best self. Then after you’ve written out your new definition of perfect, decide what you must do to make progress towards your newfound beliefs. And then begin… effort is where excellence is achieved. And excellence is something we can all reach. Time to be your best, true you!

***I want to hear from you… share your thoughts about this week’s topic below.