If You Keep Going For Perfection, You May Never Take Any Action!

Don't strive for perfection
The word ‘perfection’. It’s a great sounding word to many of us, to include myself (or at least it used to be). Even though I know that no one is perfect, to me it had always meant excellence; being the best at your craft, not settling for the ordinary, but being extraordinary. It was mastering a skill that you have or excelling on a project you dive into.  It was developing yourself in a way that shows that you are not just doing the easy route, but instead taking it above and beyond.

I am a recovering “perfectionist”. How did I become a perfectionist? How did this all start? I believe it started at an early age when I was striving for something better.  I had a good life, but I wanted more. I wanted to have a great career and be very financially sound. I knew that if I just went with the flow of life, I would have limited myself in what I accomplished in life.

So how did my drive for excellence, actually ‘perfectionism’ serve me?  Quite well in the organizations I worked in. I was seen as a Strive For Excellence Not Perfectiondriven employee that went above and beyond and I was greatly rewarded for it.  For the assignments that were given to me, I had plenty of time to complete the results to what appeared to be in a perfect way. But since becoming an entrepreneur, I have learned that I must be a different way.  Things are at a much faster pace and you must take risks and take action and make adjustments along the way.  I found that if I tried to always make things perfect, or wait for the exact right time, opportunities are going to pass me by. Even though I have accomplished so much in my life, there’s a lot of things I am working on with SmartChic that I am just SO excited about to move forward on. I want it to be PERFECT, but yes…. yes…. I have learned don’t worry about it being perfect, just strive for excellence!

So I hope my story shows you, if you keep striving for ‘perfection’ it may lead to inaction!  So keep these things in mind:
  1. Strive for excellence, not for perfection. *No one is perfect!
  2. Realize you will make mistakes.  Make adjustments along the way.
  3. No more waiting. No more hesitating. Take action today!

Can any of you relate to being a perfectionist or have stories of when you were one?  I would love to hear from you!

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32 Responses to If You Keep Going For Perfection, You May Never Take Any Action!

  1. Terri B. says:

    Fantastic blog Cynthia! I’ve been guilty of this myself, but like you said no one is perfect. Your advice to strive for excellence instead of perfection is realistic and attainable. As we continue to strive for excellence, we continue to grow and evolve. Favorite blog, all of your posts are always spot on!

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you so much Terri for your comments. I think so many of us are recovering perfectionists. But it’s good for us to recognize it and do something about it. Yes! No one is perfect and we just need to be our best. Not perfect, but instead excellent!

  2. Tom Coleman says:

    Hi Cynthia. I love your statement “I am a recovering “perfectionist”” We all desire to be the best we can be. I was painfully shy when I was a kid. There are two books that changed my life. One is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and the other is Psycho-Cyberntics by Maxwell Maltz. I believe they are both still in print and available on Amazon. I am not an affiliate, just so you know.

    As entrepreneurs and human beings we have to continue to grow. In order to do that we have to uncover old hurts and rewire them for success as those pains are part of our subconscious autonomous operating system just like breathing is. It’s stimulus response. What makes us human is the pause between: We are stimulus- pause- response.

    I absolutely agree that we have to take action. If we are trying to get it perfect it greatly slows down or paralyzes us in our ability to move forward.

    Your prescription is just right: Just do it. Make adjustments along the way, and nobody is perfect. Thankfully we are all human with our wonders and frailties. If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. That is true. The trick is to align the conscious mind with the subconscious.

    Here’s what I want to know Cynthia, how have you been able to move forward and break free of your perfectionist leanings?

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Phil Wall says:

      Yes Tom those are absolutely two great books. Psycho Cybernetics is definitely one of my favourites.

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Hi Tom, thank you so much for your comments. It means so much to me for you to take the time to share your thoughts. Throughout the years, I have aligned myself with those that have been great mentors and being an entrepreneur has forced me to realize, sometimes you just have to do it, and you can’t wait for things to be perfect!

  3. Brad Hanson says:

    Hi Cynthia,
    Once again, your blog is outstanding. Your suggestion to strive for excellence, not perfection is good advice. How did you get so smart?
    For perfectionists, life is all about accomplishments. Perfectionism is just a fear of failure. A one-way ticket to hell. After we have been to hell and back, we begin to understand that we can learn more from failure than from books.
    When we stay focused on avoiding failure, fear itself can be a prison. Perfectionism is transmitted in the little things that we say and do. The only real cure for perfectionism is to love and encourage thyself and others, let God be the judge.

    Much Love,
    Brad
    managementbrad

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Brad, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. It is from people like you that I learn and grow each and every day. I appreciate you my friend. And thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  4. Ashly K says:

    As I have followed and gotten to know @TheSmartChic through the last year plus, I’ve have adopted a new way of seeing life and have gotten a new drive with goals that I’ve never known to be possible, (yes she has made that much of a difference) and along the way I learned about “perfection” and how to me it means just to work hard,do my best and make myself happy, because that’s all I can really do.

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you so much Ashly for taking the time to share your thoughts. I have gotten to know you over the last year and I appreciate you so much. Yes, just be your best YOU. Be happy. That’s all you should do. Thank you my friend.

  5. Terri Klass says:

    Loved your post, Cynthia! Your 3 suggestions are so helpful, especially the one about taking action. I know for a fact, I can become paralyzed when I want to make something perfect and it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Let it go! Tweak it along the way. Keep breathing and just do it! Thanks so much for your insightful words!

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you Terri for sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it. I love what you say. “Let it go. Tweak it along the way. Keep breathing and just do it!”
      Great words of wisdom!

  6. Debbie Steg says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    Fabulous post. And so right on. I can so relate to having been the driven employee being rewarded for going above and beyond.

    I love how you’ve reframed striving for perfection to striving for excellence. It opens up possibilities for change and improvement while encouraging action. #3 is so key, taking action. Over and over again.

    The truth is we are already perfect. But often it’s our fears and doubts that keep us for realizing that truth. When we recognize that, we can realize that every situation is perfect given our matrix of subconscious beliefs in the moment. It’s through action and change that we learn and grow. And if we learn from a perceived “mis-take” then is really just another learning opportunity.

    Love your insights!

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you so much Debbie for your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom. I like how you say we are already perfect. We are perfect just as we are. Imperfections and all! Thanks again for your wisdom!!

  7. Sandra Griffin says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    You did it again, awesome story.
    Love the quote: ” not settling for the ordinary, but being extraordinary”
    I am guilty of that and sometimes push myself too hard trying to be “perfect” when truly I am looking to excel in all aspects of my life.
    Thank you for the reminder, that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes and learning from them.

    You’re such an inspiration.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Sandra

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you Sandra for sharing your thoughts. We all need a reminder once and a while that no one is perfect and we should just strive to do the best we can do, that’s all anyone can reasonably ask of us. Thanks again Sandra…I appreciate YOU!

  8. Geoff Conn says:

    Good stuff my friend. Nice way to look at things, agree 100%. Always appreciate what you put out there for us all to take in :)

  9. Tracy Cotton says:

    Thank you for this Cynthia, I have been putting off some important self work because I didn’t think it was the ‘best’ time. I needed the reminder putting off things for perfect conditions meant NO RESULTS. Action is the only path to results. And less than perfect results are still vastly preferred over no results. Plus my definition of imperfect should be examined…time to relax a little! Your blog really speaks to me.

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Tracy, thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts. I like what you said “Action is the only path to results. And less than perfect results are still vastly preferred over no results” Remember that I am always here for you! Whatever you need. Thanks for being YOU!

  10. Dave Moore says:

    Rock Chick does it again. I thought someone had to be over 90 years old to be this wise?

    I also love the ‘recovering perfectionist’ line. Its good not to be a perfectionist. its FANTASTIC to strive for excellence.

    you stand out because you are outstanding!

    Always a joy to read and learn……

    Dave

  11. Right on the money, as usual, Cynthia! I have been a perfectionist as long as I can remember! My story is slightly different though. In my previous job, my perfectionism and attention to detail only garnered me an ever-increasing workload, higher expectations of me than of my coworkers, and no additional monetary gain! This was one of the reasons that factored heavily into my decision to leave that job and focus on my own business!

    However, working for myself came with a whole new set of problems. As you may know, I’m now in Direct Sales with a health/fitness/weightloss company. While I love my company and my products, when I first started this business I felt I needed to know every detail about every product, every marketing program, every procedure, before I could really work the business. I soon found out that the only thing I gained from that attitude was missed opportunities!

    Sometimes you just have to jump in and learn by doing! And you certainly have to learn to forgive yourself the mistakes you make along the way! After all, as you pointed out, nobody is perfect!

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you so much Michelle for your comments. They mean the world to me. I appreciate what you said “Sometimes you just have to jump in and learn by doing! And you certainly have to learn to forgive yourself the mistakes you make along the way!” Well said my friend. Always here for you! Thank you!

  12. Giovanni Gaudelli says:

    Great post, Cynthia!

    Thank you for sharing and for pointing out the difference between perfectionism and excellence. I agree, perfectionism can be paralyzing while excellence is an inspiring and motivating force. Excellence comes through being and doing. We learn, sometimes we make mistakes, we adjust and we keep growing.

    On the other hand, if we keep going for perfection, we’ll end up driving ourselves crazy!

    In North America there is, in my opinion, an overemphasis on excellence in the work place and not enough on the personal aspects of our life. Excellence starts with self and is nurtured by love. So let’s keep a special place in our life to nurture excellence within ourselves and in our relationship with our spouse, children, family and friends.

    It’s also good to remind ourselves that we’re good enough.:)

    • SmartChic SmartChic says:

      Thank you Giovanni for sharing your wisdom. Definitely you express great words of wisdom right here! “Excellence starts with self and is nurtured by love. So let’s keep a special place in our life to nurture excellence within ourselves and in our relationship with our spouse, children, family and friends.
      It’s also good to remind ourselves that we’re good enough.:)” Thank you! I appreciate YOU!

  13. Tracy Rex says:

    Great blog, Cynthia! As I like to say: Learn, Grow, and Move On! How does one do this? By taking risks. We must step out of our comfort zone to achieve “the next level”. And, when you do…. you’ll be SO glad you did. =) No pain, no gain! xo

  14. Carla Horn says:

    Cynthia, you nailed it Girl!! Perfection is paralyzing, it stops us in our tracks & tells us we’ll never be good enough. Therefore, we need to bury the word & embrace our own excellence!! As long as we’re doing our best, learning, growing & striving for excellence, we can move forward knowing that we’re on the right track!! :))

  15. Etiedidiong Davis (Etibom) says:

    Always Delivering the most excellent Message! Cynthia you are a special Breed, one of a kind, so motivated in all you do. Striving for excellence it perfection, these are the most encouraging statements when you really know the difference between these two words! When we look towards perfection, sometimes we tend not to love what we do, and also not love what is true, cause we are always striving to be perfect. In Excellence, you will meet the standards, be willing to be wrong, taking risk knowing that you are striving for the best! Accepting, being confidence and natural! I love these Cynthia! You are one special Friend that has really touched so many lives in so many special ways! I appreciate your kindness, support and care for all! Blessings to you! Keep doing what you love doing!

  16. As a recovering perfectionist myself, I enjoyed the article. Especially how you had to change to be the best entrepreneur you can be. I had to change once my kids were born – had to adapt, lower some expectations of myself. Also, can’t spend too much time working on being perfect – takes away from quality family time. Plus, I tell my kids, “no one is perfect” – how can I have that expectation for myself?

    Loved the three tips at the bottom – will probably retweet them later today!

    Laura Morey

  17. Sheryl Brown says:

    “I found that if I tried to always make things perfect, or wait for the exact right time, opportunities are going to pass me by…” As an author, I suffer from too many iterations. Egads. You just have to make a decision to finally “GO” and let the chips fall. Risks are part of the recipe for success.

    I also suffer from perfectionism, but I work smarter each day to let that go and embrace my excellence. It’s great that you put this message out there too.

    One of my greatest tasks right now is converting digital transactions to humanesque touches. It’s not a science and it is very challenging, yet I found you along this journey which keeps me focused that this is possible. Developing our online friendship has enriched my passion that we can make social spaces a very human experience for all. Remembering we are all imperfect helps me find balance during each touch.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

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