Good morning, my favorite listeners! Here in Utah, we also celebrate the 24th for Pioneer Day. It celebrates the pioneers that traveled to the west to settle Utah in search of religious freedom for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think we can all be pioneers in one way or another. A pioneer is someone who ventures out to do something no one else has done before. They essentially pave the way for everyone coming after them.
Today is part two of Perfection vs Excellence and I hope you’ll be able to find one new way that you can pave the way for others after you. I think as you strive for excellence in your life, that will come naturally. Did you notice over this past week where you may be falling into the seduction of perfectionism? It sounds like being perfect would be so great because then no one would have any reason to judge you or be upset with you and all they could think about you would be that you’re fabulous!
Perfectionism may seduce you into believing that, but it’s all a lie that your brain is telling you out of fear. Fear of what others might think or say to you. Fear that you’re not enough just as you are.
Perfectionism stems from the desire, the longing to feel like you’re worth something. A lot of times when you do a good job you will get validated by others telling you that you’ve done a good job and it’s so much easier to accept ourselves when other people can validate that, right? So if you’re seeking validation, you get caught in the lies that if I do this perfectly, someone’s going to notice and you’ll be validated. However, this put you into the trap of always seeking validation and when you don’t get the validation you start to find all the reasons why you didn’t get it. Could I have done it better? Is there something wrong with it? Is there something wrong with me?
Perfectionism is asking, what will people think? When the need for perfectionism arises, shame is driving it. It’s not how can I be my best self, but what will people think? I’m more focused on thinking that I will be found out that I am not as good as I say I am. That in some way I am less than.
First, I know that because you were created from God, you’re already 100% full of divine worth and nothing, no one, not even you could change that. Second, what you think is perfect, is perfect to you. But everyone else in this world has their own thoughts of what perfection is and it could be totally different than your definition.
If you are constantly focusing on how you’re failing. If you always rely on others for validation to feel like you’re a person of worth, if you find that you’re beating yourself up and making your worth conditional on your achievement and success, let me offer you, it’s all a lie. It’s a story your brain has told you over and over again to keep you fitting in. Remember, that’s part of it’s job, even as misguided as that is.
So what is excellence?
I went to the google and asked it to define excellence and it said it’s “a talent or quality that is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards.” I loved how it was defined as a talent. Talents are something that seems to come a little more naturally, but if we want to excel in it we need to put in our own effort to get there. If someone is talented they may have a natural knack for something, but at a certain point, you can’t ride on that talent anymore without working at it to become better.
My daughter is super naturally talented in a lot of ways. Things came easily for her when she was little, and she excelled without much effort. After trying a lot of different activities, she decided to focus on soccer. She played and had fun, but as she got older she was seeing others that were just as talented as her. If she wanted to continue to excel with her teammates, she needed to practice. There were other girls on her team where maybe it didn’t come as natural, but their talent of hard work and not giving up resulted in them playing just as good.
So if you’re striving for personal excellence, you’re striving to be someone who surpasses ordinary standards. If I am a person of excellence, someone who wants to surpass the ordinary, how do I want to show up in my life? What type of person do I want to be? It has nothing to do with how perfect or imperfect I am. It has no need for other people to see it. It’s me showing up as the best version of myself, maybe going the extra mile on one more thing today.
Let me give you some examples. And these are just my thoughts, however, and you’re free to use them, but I encourage you to find ways how you think excellence, or going beyond the ordinary, would look in your life.
When I was working out, my muscles were pretty spent. I was doing pushups and I’m wondering, can I do just one more than I think I can? I’m going to try! When I’m going into a building where the doors aren’t automatic, I can either open the door and hold it long enough for the person behind me to catch the door or I can go one more level and completely open the door and step aside, allowing them to go in before me. When I’m putting the shopping cart back, instead of propping it up on the curb or leaving it next to my car where it may roll and hit another car, I choose to go one more level and take it back to the cart return. Or when I’m walking into the store and see a cart left by a car, I can grab it and take it in with me. Or grab two or three roaming carts out of the parking lot. And you might say, they have people to do that. That’s their job. But I’m not doing it for them, I’m doing it for me. To start showing up in a way that surpasses ordinary.
If I want to surpass today’s ordinary, maybe I want to lift my head up out of my phone when I’m walking so I can smile at people when I pass them. You could even make it fun and see how many people you could get to smile back. Some people might think I’m weird, but that’s okay, I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it to practice my own personal excellence.
I was talking about holding doors open for people, what about when you’re going into a fast food restaurant or one where they don’t take reservations. You’re literally letting them cut in line in front of you. That is definitely not ordinary!
This is an opportunity to show myself that I can be a person of excellence. And not just because people are watching because most people aren’t. They’re probably just as busy and focused on their lives as I am, but do I want to do it for myself to show up as a person of excellence? Not because it’ll give me any more worth or have any higher worth then a person not choosing to do it, but because I want to show myself and that I could be a person who surpasses ordinary . Because I am a person of excellence. Because when I think how I can be more excellent, then I am more motivated to be excellent and show up in a more excellent way and guess what? I have more excellent results in my life.
Martha Beck is well known for saying “The way we do anything is the way we do everything.” So, how do I want to do things? How do I want to show up? Do I want to be an ordinary person? OK, maybe. Does that mean I have ordinary worth? Absolutely not! Still 100% priceless. But if I want to do everything ordinary then I need to expect to get ordinary results in my life.
For myself, I want to do the best that I can to be an excellent person and have excellent results in my life. It’s my opportunity to show myself that I am a person of excellence. Not for anyone else because when we’re doing it to show other people we start to ride on the side of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is fear-based I’m worried about what people will think, I’m worried about how other people are judging me, I’m hoping someone will say something to me about it, that is all fear-based and perfectionism thrives off of fear.
Maybe you’re thinking that perfect and excellence are sounding very much the same. I admit, they sound similar but the feelings you get are completely different. Perfectionists and people striving for excellence both push themselves to be their best, but here is the difference. A perfectionist focuses on the flaws and points out the ways that you don’t measure up. That feels awful. A person of excellence understands that there will be flaws, but they find the joy and pleasure in the good job that they did.
A perfectionist will beat themselves up because it’s not right yet or it could be a little bit better and that feels awful! Someone striving for excellence will acknowledge that, although not perfect, it was their best and it was a pretty darn good job.
When I live my life from the story of I am a person of excellence then I start figuring out how I can be excellent in other ways of my life that I haven’t quite figured out. When I start thinking of myself as a person of excellence, I start feeling more confident and I start showing up in other places of my life, choosing to surpass the ordinary and giving myself amazing results. I am doing this out of confidence because that’s the person I want to be and that is the person I am
I will do that extra push up, I will smile at one more person, I will be healthy for myself one more day, I will do something extra outside the ordinary of what I’m already doing.
So are you a person of excellence? Did you know that you can just decide right now that that’s who you’re going to be? You can decide right now that today and each day after, you’re going to start showing up in little ways for yourself going the extra mile, being the extraordinary person that you are.
You don’t have to completely change all the things that you are doing. Just start with one. Notice how you’re feeling. If you start to fall back into the “I don’t want others to judge me” or “what will others think” mentality, you’re allowing your habits of perfectionism to run the show.
Take a deep breath, do a restart and try again. Whenever you give your brain something to look for it will find it. So if you start asking yourself, what is one little way that I can start being more excellent in my life? You’re focus will be on that and I promise you will find it.
Find your own excellence. It will be different for each of you. Don’t do it for anyone else, but yourself. Because let me tell you, my friend. You are an extraordinary person and I want you to start having extraordinary results.
See you next week! Bye!
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