A lot of people tell me that I am a perfectionist. Even some of the assessment tests I had to take when applying for corporate jobs in the past suggested to buy that opinion, which I heavily declined.
One again: I am NOT a perfectionist. I “just” do my best in no matter what I do. I aim for excellence. Allow me explain the difference to you.
Perfectionism for me personally is an illusion.
It is a vague goal or concept. It cannot be measured, described and therefore never be reached. You know that I am pretty rational and result-oriented. So, why would I run after an idea which is unreachable? This is stupid and illogical. If you aim for an unreachable goal, it will make you unhappy from a long term-perspective. But my aim is to be happy. Another reason why I am not a perfectionist.
What I am aiming for is what athletes call Excellence (I used to be a competitive athlete for more than ten years, so was my Mother. This might explain a lot…). Leadership consultants, life coaches and or motivational speakers call it Mastery. The Japanese call it Kaizen. These concepts and perfectionism are very different animals. They are like two different pair of shoes.
Please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I understood Kaizen it means continuous improvement. It means getting a bit better every day. It means challenging the status quo for the sake of your own personal growth – which is, from my experience in life so far, the key element to a fulfilled, balanced and successful life. Even the teachings out of Buddhism that I grasped so far (an incredibly complex but interesting life philosophy!) claim that.
How I practice Excellence?
Very simple. I sit down DAILY and think. I reflect on my behavior and am brutally honest to myself:
“Was this or that step (strategically) smart? Where did my ego kick in? Where do I stand in my own way to greatness? What am I afraid of? Why am I procrastinating xyz? Where do I waste time? Which person drags me down and why? From whom can I learn?”
No, it is not easy. And yes, it sometimes hurts, takes courage and will power. But guess what? I actively decided for this lifestyle; and the changes I have experienced since then in my private and business life are extraordinary.
What I want from you?
Why don´t you give this approach a try? You have nothing to lose. Well… accept from a few people or things that keep you small. But this approach might bring you a step closer to the best, happiest, most successful, smartest and healthiest you you can be. – If you are aiming for that of course. – If you are happy with how or whom you are right now, please do not change a thing. The above described life approach is a strategy for people who want to change something in their lives, and who are willing to actively work on themselves.