I called my friend because I knew.
I had spent two full days stewing over thought-chaos that had exploded in my brain. I was stumped, confused, tired, frustrated and I no longer wanted to waste precious headspace chasing the never-ending-rabbit-trails of useless thinking.
Her advice was calm and passing, yet, it was as if she yelled it in my face with a megaphone.
It hit me hard.
Hit me deep.
Hit me with truth.
“Make sure you’re striving for excellence, not perfection.”
It’s no secret we all wear a million different hats. We play a million different roles. We juggle a million different things. We live complicated lives in a complicated society with the pressure to perform complicated feats of achievement.
If you’re like me, add to that, Type A, thinker, perfectionist, achiever, control freak, planner, organized, oldest child, and basically you get a complicated version of complicated. Note: despite this description, I swear you’d like me in person. Ha!
So there was something about my friend’s advice that set my spirit free.
I hung up the phone, inhaled a deep breath, pondered the birds flying so free all around me, and reminded myself—in a very truthful and matter-of-fact way—that my strengths can only remain my strengths if I choose for them to not get the better of me.
Being a thinker is good. But thinking too much is not.
Being creative is good. But being too caught up with better, different, cooler, faster, clearer and brighter because nothing is ever good enough, is not.
Being competitive is not a bad thing. But when it’s at the expense of other people, well then …
I called my friend because I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that I knew … my momentary pursuit of excellence was treading dangerously close to perfectionistic territory—a territory that can never be attained, claimed, reached or achieved.
The pursuit of excellence can be what propels us, but the pursuit of perfection can be what paralyzes us.
Know the difference.