The Fine Line Between Perfectionism & Excellence
I can tell you straight out that I’m a visionary – a “Ready, Fire – ooops, I missed – let’s check the Aim and Fire again” kind of person. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been accused of being a perfectionist.
However, I am a huge advocate of excellence, from the old school of “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I laughed out loud recently when I read a quote by G.K. Chesterton, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” Another thought in the same circle is one by General Sherman who said, “perfect is the enemy of the good.”
I work (and live) with several recovering perfectionists and find that creates a very nice balance between getting started and getting it perfect. Excellence requires preparation and proofing the plan but at some point (the sooner the better) you must begin. Quick, small tests are my best friend. Testing on a small scale allows you to fail on a small scale and then tweak and try again.
Is there an idea that’s simmering in your brain that’s ready for a test run? Sometimes, a gentle push from behind is more effective than a helping hand. As a coach, that makes me a paid pusher. The true value of teamwork is that I can push you and make you feel like I did you a favor, but when you’re in a free-fall, you’ll be glad that someone gifted with details packed your parachute.
Pushing for the best is a healthy endeavor whereas pursuing perfectionism results in anxiety, relationship problems and paralysis by analysis. The line is not as fine as it may seem when you shine the light of truth on the matter.
If you’re not sure whether you are “over the line” with perfectionistic tendencies, you can take this quiz. It’s doubtful the test will be news for the recovering perfectionists – we all know who you are.