I was in a conversation this week where I was reminded how often we expect ourselves to be perfect. If you know me, you know that I like things to be a particular way. From keeping things on my desk at a 90 degree angle to everything else or in the standard of work I attempt to produce everyday, I want things to be done well. If you ask my parents about this trait, they will tell you, the person they know me as today did not grow up in their house. I will admit, I have come a long way!
Although this character strength can be very beneficial in my work, it is sometimes also one of my biggest struggles. Even though I know it is a valuable part of the learning process, I, at times, do not want to make mistakes. Ultimately, I believe that this is because I feel if I make mistakes I am letting people down in the perfect world I am trying to create. The problem is that perfect, when it comes to humans and their everyday living, does not exist and is therefore an impossible goal. I have to remind myself of this regularly, put my ego aside, and remember that I am allowed to make mistakes, that they are a part of life, and in those lessons I grow.
Our imperfections make each of us interesting, make us different, and most importantly make us important. We all have something special to contribute that is unique to us as an individual. I cannot tell you what a perfect student, teacher, principal, or person looks like. The reason I cannot explain the characteristics of these individuals is because they do not exist. There is no definition for perfect in our lives, because life is not about being perfect. It is about improving and becoming better.
My goal in life is to use my imperfections, my mistakes, and my unique character traits to make this community a better place. That is my purpose. I get to have the amazing opportunity each day to help people get better, stretching them, helping them change and grow, while at the same time having others do the same for me. I get to go along with people as they get to places they never thought they would go or achieve things they never thought they could obtain. When I stop to think about that, it is deeply humbling for me to realize that I get to serve alongside others in a way where I get to have this lasting impact.
Even though it is a struggle, I know that striving for perfection only leads to things being less perfect, at least in the eyes of the person on the chase. Since nothing is ever perfect, the pursuit of perfection will only lead us to chasing an invisible, moving target. It is the imperfections and mistakes that we must work around and grow with that help us achieve success. I know that when my best developed plans appear to be broken, they usually help lead me to new places and new solutions that fix other broken things in my life. We have to remind ourselves, it is not about perfect, it’s about improving. It’s not about the goal, but the process to reach it. It is about our response to circumstances that define us, not getting it right every time. The only thing that truly helps us improve is working really, really, hard everyday. Any story other than that is probably a lie.
Life is imperfectly perfect, and that is the way it should be. So, remind yourself daily to improve…remind yourself to be better…remind yourself you are amazing the way you are right now! First always remember, life is about improving not about being perfect. Then once you have reminded yourself of this, ask: what did I do to improve today?