“The synonym for perfect is boring.” Maureen Traynor As a young teen, I swam competitively. I was pretty good too! Rarely did I come in first; there were two girls in my swimming league who were much better than me, so often I finished second or third. “You could have beaten her, if you only tried harder.” The words of my father echoed in my head. Loser Good for nothing Second doesn’t count I also heard, “You’re nothing but a jack of all trades, but a master at none; you’ll never amount to anything.” It was partially true – I was pretty good at a lot of things but not the best at any one thing, but that took me pretty far in my life. My ability to multi-task and delegate aided me in my career as a community association manager – perhaps not the best, but my ‘graffiti’ knowledge took me far! In my forties, I met Maureen Traynor, A mental health counselor in Winter Park, FL. She told me that no one is perfect. There was certain freedom in that for me! I tried many new things as a result – scuba diving, water colors, and changing careers at age 57! Do you know that my first book had eleven errors in the first printing? That was after several friends and a professional editor cleaned it up! In the Spirituality of Imperfection, by Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham, I learned that it is in my imperfections that people can relate to me. Actually, this has become a cornerstone of my spiritual coaching practice; to help clients to see that stumbling is all part of climbing the mountain it’s still important to put a good effort into the job, but today I seek to achieve excellence, rather than perfection! Here are some things I’ve done to move away from perfectionism and toward striving for excellence!
- Let go of expectations – they’re premeditated resentments anyway! When I expect a certain result, especially if it is unattainable, it’s a set up for disappointment.
- Create an action plan to achieve goals. If the plan doesn’t work – revise it! There is always more than one way to accomplish things.
- Celebrate the ‘wins’. Along the way to the big prize, there is a plethora of victories. Savor each one!
- Learn from the challenges – note I did not say failures. Each stumbling block along my way has helped me to discover the spirituality in my imperfections.
Might you be a perfectionist? Take this online test to see how you measure! http://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/perfectionism_abridged_access.html “Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence.” Rosalynn Carter