Do you need Perfection or Standards?

It’s a rainy day in the Baltimore area, and I’m waiting at the airport to head out on vacation. As I’m putting thoughts together to write this article, on comes the airline representative, our flight’s been delayed. I continue on writing and they come on again, and again, and yet again, flight delay. At this point, I’m finishing this article while on the runway parked- 3 hours later.

Ever find yourself wanting to do something, and you have the excitement, motivation, and drive to do it- but something is stopping you?

Sometimes it’s perfection- the need to feel like things need to be “right” in order to be satisfying.

When I prepare for vacation, I expect the process to be me frantically packing at the last minute, forgetting something small (this time it was my sunglasses), and a smooth flight that lets me stare out the window and get giddy when the pilot fires up the engines and we roar into the blue sky.

But things change all the time right? Oh yes.

Much like my flight throwing off my plans to start vacation on MY TIME, there are SO many times when I’ve started a project in my head, and because it didn’t end up exactly as I would have liked it to- I considered it a bust, and even worse, some projects were NEVER even born aka “dead on arrival” because I couldn’t make it “perfect”.

From business ideas to blog pitching, everything in between is riddled with the hidden resistance known as perfectionism. For a lot of us A types (proud one right here!), we use perfectionism to project the tidy, cleaned up version of what happens inside of our minds (let’s all admit it, there are ALWAYS a lot of different ideas running around!).

Some of my favorite projects have also failed because I couldn’t get it perfect before doing it. To my own defeat, I didn’t even START my last business idea because my mind already decided that my final product wouldn’t be perfect- it wouldn’t be show time ready, ribboned, and copy-edited to catch the eye of my ideal audience.

That’s a shame right?

The kind of shame I used to feel when plans were thrown off- like a three-hour flight delay when you are on your way to sunny Florida- for a vacation that is as much for your mind as it is your spirit---yeah that’s how much it’s needed! These delays used to leave me with a REALLY bitter taste- the taste of anger, impatience, excitement, worry, and anticipation.

Perfectionism used to leave me with this same feeling, the anger, impatience, worry, it all led m to feel shame.

The shame was because my vacation or project didn’t turn out how I envisioned it.

Fast forwarding to now, I’ve been bombarded with new opportunities, collaborations, clients, pitches, and even MORE ideas.

Perfectionism hangs out where there is MORE to do that feels like a stretch.

Are you feeling like you want to stretch yourself right now? I’ve definitely felt it this year!

When I stretch myself, I find that the old shame of perfectionism pops in from time to time. Almost to remind me that not everything I do is perfect or “up to standard”. And why would it be, if I’m stretching myself, it means I’m doing something new, and something usually falls off, or needs to shed in order to let me move up.

Rather than focus on perfecting everything that I’m doing, I focus on leveling up- it’s when I focus so narrowly in order to be sure I can sit in my creative genius and do what I do best, CREATE and HELP women. As a result, my standards have to change- they need to evolve and reflect where I am right now.

As I focus my efforts on blogging, that will change. As I focus more on connecting with women in the Passion & Purpose Tribe (gosh that’s changed so much, and still evolving!) that will also shift. The little Miss Perfect that used to hold me back, now cheers me on when I need to say no to something in order to focus on my priorities.

I call this raising my standards. I expect a certain level of VALUE that I create through writing and speaking with women. The difference between standards and perfection are that standards are for SERVING and HELPING others, while perfectionism is serving NO ONE.

My biggest lesson in raising my standards was that when I choose to play, I choose to SERVE and HELP. Perfection hurt me and others by holding me back.

Choose to raise your standards, not perfect things. You’ll find deeper happiness, and find that the Universe HAS YOUR BACK and doesn’t want perfect, it just wants DONE what MATTERS.

As I write up this blog, I'm still sitting on the runway still delayed, and the sun is finally shining bright after a long morning of clouds. This reminds me that my vacation is already PERFECT. It’s perfect because I’m safe. As long as the weather rumbled through Baltimore and I wasn’t in the sky… I was safe. See, even experts use high standards to tell us when it wasn’t a good time to go wings up- and that makes for the PERFECT start to this vacation.