When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher explain something I’d done to my parents with “Oh, Kim is such a perfectionist!” And all the adults nodded like this was the most logical thing in the world.
When I asked mom later what exactly did that mean, she said that a perfectionist always strives to be the best, to have everything perfect in her work.
And I thought to myself, “Of COURSE I want my work to be perfect! Of COURSE I want it to be my best! Who doesn’t want to be her best?”
Somewhere in my eight-year-old brain, it was like a lightbulb went on: I could be my best.
And then I spent the next decade of my schooling career striving to be the best, most perfect.What's the difference between striving for excellence vs perfection? Click To Tweet
But here’s the thing…
I’m NOT a perfectionist in the real definition of the world. (Look it up!) Because what my mom said, and what my kiddo self, heard were different: It’s not about being The Best (as in, the best in the class, the school, the world) it’s about being the best ME.
There’s a huge difference between taking professional pride and striving for excellence (or perfection!) than about being somebody who falls apart when things don’t go perfectly. I’m the first to admit that flexible isn’t really a word used to describe me – I’m actually not exactly go with the flow, laid back, or spontaneous.
I love plans, deadlines, clear directions, and measurable goals.
But a lot of times people DO say I am laid back, go with the flow, and easy going.
Because I really don’t panic about having everything PERFECT.