Every superhero has an enemy, right? The villain who just makes their life more complicated. The arch nemesis.
Perfection is the enemy to progress, in my opinion. Us overachiever types (I’m betting you can relate) have a severe need to have everything just right. High standards at every turn and a yearning to always go above and beyond. It is exhausting!
I’ve had an entire year to just sit with this concept since then, and am pleased to report that my perfection infection is in remission. Yes, I want to still do everything to the best of my abilities. And yes, sometimes I can feel my tendencies kick into overdrive. And yes, I still have work to do in this area of my life. But this one key concept keeps me in check…
In every situation, my goal should be progress not perfection.
Progress is moving forward, step by step, toward improvement and growth. One little step in the right direction is progress, and progress makes me stronger and wiser and just plain better than I was the day before. Progress makes you better too.
It is all too common for me to want to give up before I even begin if I don’t think that perfection is attainable. That is obviously a problem! I want perfect relationships, perfect interactions, perfect processes, and perfect outcomes. What in the heck am I thinking? Perfection as a goal in anything is just plain silliness.
I had an ah-ha moment as I was reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. The very first chapter perfectly called “And Invitation to Imperfect Progress” reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker. I needed to accept that invitation and give myself a little grace.
Imperfect. Just that short little nine letter word was music to my ears. Seeing the word in print, reading it to myself, and repeating it over and over in my head gave me exactly the grace I needed to be something that I had previously thought was never quite good enough.
“What kept me from making changes was the feeling that I wouldn’t
do it perfectly. I knew I’d still mess up and the changes wouldn’t
come instantly. Sometimes we girls think if we don’t make instant
progress, then real change isn’t coming. But that’s not so. There is a
beautiful reality called imperfect progress. The day I realized the glorious
hope of this kind of imperfect change is the day I gave myself
permission to believe I really could be different.”
Progress, you see, is what we all should be striving for. Giving ourselves some grace to make mistakes. Allowing ourselves some setbacks and do-overs. Learning to celebrate our progress instead of condemn ourselves for our imperfections.
Perfection would be lovely, don’t get me wrong. I still want gold stars and smiley faces and 100% grades in my life, as if I were still turning in term papers. But perfection is an unachievable goal that fosters frustration and resentment within ourselves. It is a never-ending battle and a no-win situation.
Progress, my friends, is the thing that I admire in each of you. I see it. I strive for it. And I want to celebrate it. In you and in myself. And not just progress, but imperfect progress.
Today, I encourage you to celebrate the progress you are making in your life with each an every step you take toward improvement and growth. Progress is your superpower!
What areas of your life do you expect perfection in?
And in what areas are you able to celebrate progress?
What can you do to increase your satisfaction with imperfect outcomes?
How can you help others in your circle strive for progress instead of perfection?
Thank you so very much for joining me in this journey of surfacing and celebrating our superpowers. We all too often just shrug our shoulders and think that the amazing things we accomplish every day are simply no big deal. We undervalue the small things. And this month I am making it my personal mission to change that! Please join me tomorrow in celebrating a new and equally awesome superpower.
*This is the 8th post in a 31 day series called “Celebrating your Superpowers“. Catch the series from the beginning by clicking here and you will be directed to an introductory page containing links to each day’s topic. Join me in celebrating your superpowers this month!
Special thanks to Shaina Kellogg for sharing the photo of her and her little superhero cousin, Harley.