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5.13.2009

Never satisfied

One of the things I've long known, whether I chose to acknowledge it or not, is that I am quite often never really satisfied with myself. I go back to specific events and think about how I could or should have handled it better, how I could potentially handle the same thing differently in the future, or how the subsequent events might have changed had I done or said something else.

It's the fatal flaw of a perfectionist - always trying to anticipate what's coming next and figure out how to make it more perfect. Lately I've focused on trying to differentiate between perfectionism and excellence. My friend Sherri had a quote on her messageboard signature for the longest that really made me stop and think, and I've put it on my little sheet o'quotes to glance at during the day --

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." ~ Michael J. Fox

Yesterday I read a great post over on Fistful of Talent about LeBron James, and how he understood where his focus needed to be to become a true MVP of his game. No matter how good he played, he looked for ways to improve his game; he changed his training regimen to add more muscle to his frame; he defended players he knew were good no matter their position. In so many words, he was constantly looking for ways to learn more about his competition and improve his own game.

That's the level I'm striving for in so many aspects of life - learn more about my competition (or the "game" I'm playing), take the steps to improve physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and no matter how good I've performed in the past, always keep an eye out for ways to be better. Kathy Rapp's article is "for" HR professionals, but it is applicable to anyone striving to be the best in their own field.

I think that's the real key, learning to avoid perfectionism since no one or thing can ever be perfect, but keeping my eyes focused on the goal of excellence no matter what surrounds me. It's challenging, being back in this retail environment, and I'd forgotten some of the drama that seems to surround things, but if I keep my focus on doing the best I can possibly do and maintaining my own personal goal of excellence in all things, I can at least keep my head above the fray. I may not be able to change the focus of the people around me, and they may continue to think I'm an insufferable snob (or a threat to them personally, or whatever their misconception may be) but at least I'm doing what I can to keep things running smoothly (and legally, and ethically.)

It's okay that I'm not satisfied with my performance, it's just the end-goal that needs to adjust. Changing my focus from perfection to excellence... working toward being the MVP and improving the team I play for... maintaining my own attitude no matter what is going on around me... those are the more important things.