When Good Is Better Than Perfect
How often do you put something off for fear of it turning out less than perfect?
I’ve been reading a great book by Helen Whitten, in which I am reminded about how miserable it can be when our sights are set on achieving nothing less than perfection from ourselves.
In my case, I’ll either end up avoiding the task entirely, or I’ll get on with it but fret throughout, and usually be disappointed with the result.
By contrast, when I decide "OK, this really is the best I can do and it will be good enough", I can think more clearly and creatively. And I enjoy myself and am usually a lot happier with the result.
(Mind you, no-one said it's easy ... this post has been in draft for weeks!)
Helen’s book lists some great examples of Perfectionism versus Pursuit of Excellence. Here are a few I particularly like to serve as a reminder of perfectionist blind-spots.
Perfection: None of what you achieve is quite good enough.
Excellence: You get great satisfaction from your efforts, even if they haven’t worked out perfectly.
You judge others by your own perfectionist viewpoints, so no-one else makes the mark either.
You accept that people are doing the best they can and that they can develop.
‘Failure is not an option’ - Not achieving an important goal leaves you feeling a failure.
You recognise that we all make mistakes, and whilst you don’t set out to fail, you appreciate you can learn from the experience.
You must be strong at all times, sharing your vulnerabilities is a no-no.
You can be vulnerable and share your doubts and feelings with others.
You’ll miss a deadline in the process of getting it ‘just right’.
You recognise when a piece of work is good enough.