I have always thought of myself as “Type-A” or a perfectionist. Some words I have used to describe myself have been: anal, particular, and needing to have things a certain way. To a point, these words do describe me. However, I am not neurotic about it. I just want things to go well. I want to do my best. I want things to look good, and happen as planned. Is that so bad?
So when I read the section on perfection in “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brene Brown (the book which I blogged about last week). I was in awe. I was wowed. It shifted me to have an ah-ha moment and look at myself differently. All of these years I have thought of myself as a perfectionist, and yet all I have ever really wanted is to have excellence shine through. Anything my name was attached to, well I wanted it to be good. Wikipedia states that perfectionism is: “striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.” After reading that description and Brown’s book, I realize I am not that into being perfect. Which is why I love this specific line from Brown’s book:
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence.” Page 128
I feel as though a boulder has been thrown off. It makes me not feel so nit picky about myself. If I try hard, do my best, and the outcome is good, then that is my own excellence. I have never wanted it to be flawless, as that is too picky to me. Besides, we learn more from making mistakes. Perfection is not everything.
How have I lived this long and just now learned this about myself? What a revelation! Does Brown’s quote resonate with you?