One of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned is that perfectionism is just an illusion, an ever-unattainable goal. I’ve read Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, which instead of being a one-time read, is a reference book that I keep within easy reach on my book shelf. A lot of us get caught up on the perfectionism hamster wheel, always trying to look perfect, do perfect, be perfect, perhaps in an attempt to escape judgment from others. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown puts into perspective: “Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”
In my work as a career coach, I help others with their resumes, where understandably the goal is to have a perfect resume. But even here we consider it a “living document” and a work in progress that is constantly evolving and improving.
According to the idea of perfectionism, it’s not good enough that we’re only human and (hopefully) trying to do our best on a daily basis. And actually, it’s when we trip up and fall a little short that help create opportunities for learning and growth. To me, healthy striving and doing my best is perfection!