Progress Over Perfection: A Journey Towards Growth

Progress Over Perfection: A Journey Towards Growth

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

Some glorify perfection thinking that flawlessness will stave off blame, judgment, and shame. But, the pursuit of perfectionism, while seemingly noble, gets in the way of progress, hinders working well with others, and creates unnecessary stress.

The Illusion of Perfection

Perfection is a mirage that shimmers on the horizon but is never quite attainable. Rather, needing perfection often prevents us from taking the first step to do accomplish our goal. Whether it’s decluttering our living space or another task, the fear of not achieving perfection can be paralyzing.

Mirage showing a pool of water with greenery around it in the middle of a desert.

Perfectionism’s Impact on Collaboration

Perfectionism not only affects our individual pursuits but also strains our relationships with others. When we expect perfection from ourselves, we project that same expectation onto those around us. This makes working with others challenging, since we’re hesitant to accept help and don’t appreciate their efforts when we do let them help because they never meet our idealized standards.

The Harsh Critic Within

Perfectionism is a relentless internal voice that magnifies every flaw and misstep. A self-critical mindset not only gets in the way of our progress, it also leads to burnout and despair. After all, if it feels like we can’t do the job perfectly, why start?

“The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.” – Edwin Bliss

Concept picture of a woman with 5 stars between her cupped hands. 4 stars are gold-colored and 1 is white indicating room to improve.

“Excellence” and “Perfection” Are Not Synonyms

Whatever we do, we want to do it with excellence. But that’s not the same as performing perfectly. Working with excellence means we do our best to plan and execute the work. We pay attention to the details and processes that we reasonably can. We care about our work and how it affects others. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll work perfectly or have perfect results.

Progress as the Path to Growth

Accepting progress over perfection shifts the focus from an unattainable standard to an achievable goal. Recognizing that growth is a continuous process allows us to celebrate small victories, learn from setbacks, and move forward. Progress acknowledges the beauty in imperfection and values the lessons learned along the way.

Overcoming Perfectionism

To break free from the chains of perfectionism, we have to reframe our mindset. Instead of fixating on flawless outcomes, we need to appreciate progress made, no matter how incremental. Setting realistic goals, learning to accept help, and understanding that perfection doesn’t exist in this world, helps us overcome the paralyzing effects of perfectionism.

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” – Harriet Braiker

Join My Email List!

Receive great decluttering advice AND be one of the first to know what I'm up to!

We being our clients’ biggest cheerleader as they work toward

an lifestyle.