Pursue Excellence not Perfection


Ok ladies, moms or not, there are times you feel overwhelmed and lost in your pursuit to “get it right.” People, media, and the world around us, exude perfection as the ultimate goal for everyone. Except they change the standards, manipulate the images, falsify reality, and pretend ‘it’s what everyone is doing.’ It seems like everyone has arrived and you are the only one left behind in this mess called life!


As an only child, single adult, and married woman (before kids), I proudly wore the label of a perfectionist. It looked good, really good, but it usually felt overwhelming. People labeled me as a “perfectionist,” sometimes with a jealous undertone and an eye-roll, and other times with a giggle and a smile. Some were condescending and others admiring. But I was proud to be called one; a perfectionist indeed! On the outside perfection appears easy, forthcoming, and “just the way you are” but on the inside, oh how different the feeling. Those of you who pride yourselves on being a perfectionist are staring to feel uncomfortable…a fellow perfectionist is letting the not so perfect secret out of the bag!

On the inside perfection is riddled with overwhelming disappointment. I didn’t strive to be perfect because it was easy; I did it because the overwhelming disappointment at anything less than was unbearable.

My hair was always done (I’m talking like since I was five years old), I always matched my clothes (truth be told, I wrote everything I wore down in my planner so I never repeated outfits); yes of course, I had a planner and yes it was color-coded! Being on time was late in my book, and if you couldn’t do it perfectly…well then, do not even try at all. You would hate to try and fail! You also cannot succeed if you don’t try, but clearly that is masked by the looming possibility of failure. Perfection was the only option; nothing less, EVER!

It looks so perfect, isn’t this what everyone wants to be?!?!

After several years of marriage and several children too, I found myself in a battle. My husband would say things like “it doesn’t have to be perfect,” “who cares if we aren’t on time,” and “hey let’s just go…” as in go out without getting ready!!! After refusing to address my issues with perfection and the fact I also began to require it from my husband and small children, we had a heart to heart. After speaking with a mentor, I got handed a wonderful gift: I was taught that perfection and excellence are not the same.

Perfection will haunt you and excellence frees you.

Perfection is accompanied by frustration, feeling overwhelmed, and usually negative obsessive behaviors. But excellence is doing your best and being your best in that moment. Excellence is accompanied by accomplishment and personal fulfillment. Excellence today can be improved tomorrow, so try it! Try that thing you can’t be perfect at, and pursue it with excellence. Go get pancakes with your family before you shower; just wear a hat…that moment will be excellent. Don’t push your “requirements” on other people either! No one is perfect so stop asking them to be! Be late if that means peacefully arriving instead of yelling at everyone to “hurry it up, before we are all late!”

Let yourself, your husband, and the kids be excellent, not perfect. Perfect is so imperfect, so strenuous, discouraging, and impossible. Be excellent! Everyday do your best, and do your thing.

Don’t look at your neighbor’s grass; water your own and watch it grow.

Don’t aspire to be her; just be you!

Don’t envy the outward appearance of perfection; experience the inner freedom of excellence.

Shake off perfection and join me in the pursuit of excellence…I promise you won’t regret it!