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HOW TO PRACTICE PROGRESS AND STOP SEEKING PERFECTION
Welcome back to the RS Blog. Today I hope to prove to you that perfection is a myth and practice makes progress. Have you heard the saying “practice makes perfect?” I think there with posters with this quote hanging in most classrooms growing up. In today’s episode, we are going to debunk that epic myth, because practice doesn’t make perfect. PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS.
PRACTICE AND PERFECTION
Google gave me this definition of practice: “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.” It is about application not ideas, and it leads to forming beneficial habits. If you want to be an extraordinary concert piano, you can take a class. You may even have a prodigy-level aptitude. But if you don’t put in the time practicing, you will not improve.
Perfection is defined as “the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.” It’s a word we throw around a lot. This outfit is perfect. Your car is perfect. Her house is perfect. My dessert tastes perfect. But in reality, perfect is a myth because something or someone can’t be 100% without fault or flaw.
In doing my research, I found that science actually proves that practicing to the point that you move beyond mastery of an item will lead to superior performance. Practice decreases the amount of energy needed to do a task as well. On the other side perfection is freedom from flaw or defect; flawlessness. THAT ISN’T POSSIBLE.
It reminds me of the correlation of Olympic athletes hiring coaches. You can be naturally good at a myriad of things but without sweat equity that talent will peak long before it needs to. Practice is about being diligent to show up with CPR (consistent, persistent, resiliency). It is about the application, proficiency, and pursuit of something you long for.
PERFECTION IS A ROADBLOCK
Many women are so afraid to fail they never try. Worst yet they use perfection as an excuse to avoid taking a step of faith in the direction of her dreams. It is time to stop living by this lie and start being confident in your gifts. It’s time to take a chance on your dreams with no excuses or need to seek perfection. You can feel confident to move in the direction of your dreams without seeking perfection. Put an end to chasing the approval of others and instead focus on running your race.
Striving for perfection can leave us hyper-focused on our imperfections. This will lead the “not enough” messaging we are inundated with to continue to pound us relentlessly. Perfectionism ramps up our fear of failure. We become highly critical and often set unrealistic standards for ourselves. It pounds home this idea of all or nothing, as if the journey, the lessons we learn, the connections we make matter naught. We become focused on the results, and since they are so unrealistic, we can’t achieve them. This can lead to anxiety and depression along with low self-esteem. This isn’t living.
PERFECTION IS THE ENEMY
We need to see perfectionism as our enemy. The world tells us perfection is the standard, but it sets us up to believe we can’t measure up no matter how hard we try. It is wrong to think your best isn’t good enough when giving it your all is more than enough.
I have seen too many women hold themselves back from the life they dream of living because the need for perfection tells them they aren’t ready. Ready never means perfect. In today’s world of filters and highlights reels, it can feel like everyone else has the perfect life while you are so far from living one of your own. We need to understand the filters and highlight reels of social media are smoke and mirrors. Even if what is being shared is a true story, it is a micro image of the story. We don’t know what others are experiencing or what it took for them to get to that place. And yet we compare ourselves to the smoke and mirrors. We weigh and measure ourselves and believe the lie that we are lacking. But it is a lie.
BLASTING PAST PERFECT
The search for perfection can often be rooted in a lack of self-worth, or better said, it is a tool we use to validate a lack of self-worth when we can’t reach perfection. We use it as proof that the lies we have believed for far too long are true. Do any of these sound familiar:
- I tried this and failed. I am a failure at everything.
- I started a wellness program and didn’t reach the goal of my perfect pant size. I am never going to look like the women in Vogue.
- I joined a direct marketing company and was sure it would allow me to quit my job and retire to Costa Rica, but I am still here in my cubical. I am a failure.
- I married my perfect mate, and then everything ended. I am unloveable.
As a trauma survivor, one of the coping skills I put in place to survive was perfection. Anything less than perfect brought criticism, and no matter how hard I tried, it never seemed to measure up. I never seemed to measure up. So I quit trying unless I knew it would be perfect. But because perfect is a lie, this was a recipe for disaster. By showing up, staying in the arena, practicing CPR (consistent, persistent, resilience) I learned to make progress. If I can break the perfectionist pattern, you can, too, and there is nothing more beautifully brave as a woman who keeps getting back up, showing up for herself and those watching, and presses on. I will take that woman over a filtered facade of a perfect woman any day because the woman who gets up and stays in the fight, is the kind of woman I want as a friend. She the kind of woman I will stand beside and fight for any day of the week.
HERE IS THE PLAN
You can have the same success by choosing progress over perfection in three simple steps:
- Show up
- Stay in the arena
- Practice CPR (consistent, persistent, resilience)
Follow these steps in every area of your life, and you will make progress in the direction of your dreams. Practice, practice again, practice some more, and you will:
- Become unstoppable
- Develop resilience
- Create a never-give-up attitude
- Live by the mantra that they have on Cheer – “I can. I will. I must.”
- Begin to see progress in the direction of your dreams
- Watch the metamorphosis of yourself blooming into the fullness of who you were created to be
LIFE IS BETTER THAN PERFECTION
Life isn’t about perfection. It’s about making progress in the direction of your dreams. This happens when you move in that direction. Your gifts get developed. You find your voice and learn strengths you never knew you had. When I was at one of the lowest points in my life and could barely get out of bed, I was asked to lead a group of women. It made no sense but I knew in my gut that I was meant to say yes. And that one simple yes became a commitment that got me out of my pit of destruction and into the world. And healing came. Before I knew it my heart opened and I found gifts, strengths, and a new identity I never knew existed.
PROGRESS BEATS PERFECTION ANY DAY
The days of our lives are going to pass whether we show up for them or not. Wouldn’t it feel better to show up fully, without letting fear of making a mistake or of what others might say stop you so you can live each of those days with the feeling of flying, the freedom of the wind blowing in your hair, and the exhilaration of living in a moment of pure joy? What if it’s in that exact moment that the little girl on the sidewalk sees what you are doing and decides she can do it, too? What if you taking a step toward what sets your soul on fire gives her the permission and courage to do the same?
You don’t need to live in fear, stay small, or give up on your dreams. Don’t keep believing the lie that you are not enough. The goal of perfection is an arbitrary measuring stick someone created to keep you small. It is time we toss that trash in the garbage and show the world that women are made of strength, courage, power, resilience, confidence, gifts, grace, and a radiant beauty born from walking in our truth. This is the woman you were born to be, Lovie, and it is the one you can become if you are willing to give up perfect and practice making progress.
Until next time, remember, I am in it WITH you, always,
NEED SOME ENCOURAGEMENT TO HELP YOU STOP SEEKING PERFECTION AND START PRACTICING PROGRESS?
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And remember, practice is where your gifts grow stronger!