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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Ask the Expert: Sheila Delson | 10 Letting Go Surprises »

Letting Go of Perfection

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

- Anna Quindlen

Life’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn wonderful. Why are we so demanding of our selves, others, and situations? Why do we expect perfection, when we know it doesn’t exist, except perhaps if we’re talking about chocolate lava cake? Letting go of the idea of perfection is one of the secrets to happiness.

I am not suggesting that you abandon striving for excellence. I’m instead encouraging you to consider another perspective, one that keeps you moving forward in a positive way. When perfection is the goal, it can cause procrastination or paralysis. How about replacing the perfection goal with excellence, personal best, pretty freaking awesome, really great, or good enough. What else might work?

On your way to fabulous, remember to give yourself a high five, and delight in what you are doing and being. Be grateful for the joy and beauty that is present every day. It’s time to let go of perfect. Go out there and be awesome! It’s good enough.

When you let go of perfection, what will be possible? Come join the conversation and share your thoughts about letting go, perfection, and good enough.

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Reader Comments (12)

Thanks for sharing this important post. We have very high expectations of ourselves at one time or another. Celebrating our successes makes all the difference.

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Beautifully said Linda. From the big things in life, like being a mom to the small daily choices like what to wear, it's so easy to get trapped in the image of being perfect. It's a great moment in life when we decide to be happy with who we are and let go of perfectionism. I think this is when the real fun begins! Love your posts, keep' em coming!

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

The question I always ask is, "what is good enough?" You are spot on, perfectionism can also contribute to depression and anxiety.

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Sicalides

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Life goes so much better when "good enough" is the leading attitude. Stuff happens and it's fun. To retrain the brain for 'good enough' -- I've been creating 30-40 minutes paintings daily and posting them with whatever story comes in the moment. There are days when I really, really, really want to work on a painting I do not like. But I post it anyway. Many of the paintings I don't like strike a chord in people. I'm always so shocked by this. I can't help but think life it like this as well. Maybe our version of perfect isn't as perfect (accurate) as we might think. Thank you again for a wonderful post Linda.

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiya

You are so right... it's very easy to be hard on ourselves for making a mistake, instead of viewing it as a learning experience. Thanks for the reminder!

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Perfection seems to be a topic that everyone identifies with. I'm so happy to "hear" all of your voices and am grateful for your additions to the conversation. For those of you that are going to NOLA, I can't wait to see you!

@Ellen- Celebrating life's successes, even the imperfect ones bring joy.

@Helena- Love it...Being happy with who we are, imperfections and all. Thank you for saying those words. We all need the reminder.

@Anna- Nice that you get clarification with that question. And of course "good enough" looks different for each of us. But it's helpful to think about the range of what's possible and then allow ourselves to move on.

@Niya- Love the creative challenge you've given yourself...and certainly by doing so, you are forced to let go of perfect. Maybe when we're too attached to the outcome, it stifles our creativity.

@Janet- Mistakes used to upset me until I began seeing them as learning opportunities. Laughter helps too.

April 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I might say this is a perfect post. :)

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZack

Thanks so much, Zack. Most grateful for your positive feedback.

April 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hello Linda - thanks for this post, I class myself as a recovering perfectionist as I was always striving for 100% and getting stressed not being able to acheive it every time. Now I understand that 90% is good enough, and life is much easier!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy Halton

Chrissy- That 10% fudge factor you've given yourself is an amazing gift. Less stress, "easier" life, and knowing that you're good work is "good enough." Thank you for sharing your journey. Congratulations on making such a significant perspective shift.

June 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I just returned from working with a long-time client on her files. She told me she wished she could maintain them perfectly. I quoted you and told her that they did not have to be perfect--just 'good enough' for her. She smiled and told me she'd remember that next time she felt the need to be 'perfect.' Thanks for the inspiration!

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

Stacey- Thank you for sharing "good enough" with your long-time client…and for letting me know it was helpful. You made my day!

You gifted your client with your presence, encouragement, and perspective shift so that she'll feel good about all she's accomplished. Way to go, Stacey!

April 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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