In Monday Memo


Seeking perfection sets us up for failure!

I am really privileged in my work to be able help people who are already successful become even more effective. In effect, this often means that a part of the process entails coaching them to be at their best, more of the time.

It’s also interesting to me how our society (including our parents) often conspires to work against our doing so. Education, sport, and business has become so competitive that we often confuse the need to do our best or searching for excellence with being perfect.

Another interesting thing for me is how perfectionists know at a very deep level the answer to the question: “Can you ever be perfect?” Of course, the answer is no. After all, we’re human. Yet we continue to put pressure on ourselves, our children, and our people at work to do the impossible. So, at what stage do we realise that this worldview sets us up for failure? How often do we persist for perfection even when things like performance anxiety are draining our energy and performance into a downward spiral? Yet, even under extreme pressure, we work even harder for the elusive perfection – even though we know we can’t achieve it. So we work even harder! Where does it end?

The most we can expect from ourselves, and others, is our (and their) best! So whilst perfection is an elusive outcome (something we often have no control over), being at our best is an input, our effort, something we always have control over.

This week merely focus on doing your best, and expecting the best from your people. Then, notice how, over time, that best improves.

Monday Morning Perspective: “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” – Leo Tolstoy

Kind regards

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