I’ve been a perfectionist for most of my life, even as a child. Every poster had to be perfectly centered, the house had to be immaculate, clothes folded perfectly and the list goes on. There are elements of that dynamic that I appreciate and am proud of.
And there are elements that I have realized need to be curbed. I believe there is a healthy level of perfectionism, as well as an unhealthy one.
Unhealthy perfection is when your desire to execute every level of a task with such perfection incapacitates you and prevents you from ever getting your idea out to the world, or finishing a project or resolving a conflict. Perfection has a tendency to transform into obsession, which is just another form of fear.
Healthy perfection is what we call excellence. It means you’re not satisfied to ship work that isn’t your best. You work diligently to ensure the details and nuances are taken care of, and you give it your all. But you also recognize the importance of efficiency. This is a healthy habit and lifestyle that I am a big proponent of.
Sometimes you just need to go for it, perfect or not. We move in a very fast paced world, and if you’re not keeping your propensity for perfection in check, it will blow right by you. Your ideas will be lost. Your relationships will fail.
I used to labor over each blog post, among other things. So many ideas, thoughts and concepts will never be known because I didn’t feel they were perfect enough to share. Not any more. When it comes time to implement, I’ll make it as perfect as I can, but I will not let my desire for perfection limit my productivity or level of efficiency.
Like anything else, even perfection requires some balance. Freeing yourself of the obsession of perfection can allow you to experience the true benefits of operating with excellence.