The Trap Called P-E-R-F-E-C-T

Who doesn’t want to be perfect? She asked, looking across all the faces in the boardroom and expecting no answer, she continued to speak before she noticed a hand raised. Taken aback, she wondered what her Administrative Secretary wanted to say. Motioning to her to go on, she looked at her intently.

I wouldn’t ma’am, she said, a little above a whisper.

Wouldn’t what? Miriam asked.

I wouldn’t want to be Perfect. Perfect is a trap. Like a bottomless pit.

Side talks broke out immediately among other colleagues. Miriam seemed somewhat surprised at the boldness of her usually quiet staff and worried at her conclusion. She wrapped up the meeting and asked Stacy to see her privately.

Stacy, your stance baffles me as you are my most meticulous staff. Care to share why you seem so passionate about this? Miriam Asked.

Thanks for asking. I have been a perfectionist before I could spell the word. My whole life I never settle, ‘almost’ doesn’t cut it for me. I feel choked with unmet goals as the standards seem to be unrealistic almost all the time. I admire your ability to laugh at yourself many times and accept things that do not go so well.

Then make realistic goals, Miriam cut her without meaning to.

I wish I could, I wish I knew how. Perfect is all I have ever wanted to look like, sound like and act like. I walk into a building and my eyes see all the problems without meaning to. I fix things spontaneously everywhere I go. I want to be normal, comfortable with the fact that things wouldn’t always be in place. I want to take your critic of my work to do better not to beat myself up endlessly and feel like I failed.

I see your point Stacy, I wish I could help you stay so efficient at your work and be less critical of yourself. I admire your work ethics and drive. I wouldn’t have you any other way. However, if being that person makes you this choked and unfulfilled, then its time we redefine excellence without perfection.

Smiling for the first time since she began to talk, taking off her glasses to wipe the tears at the corner of her eyes, she embraces her boss. I just cried and ruined an office meeting and I will not be beating myself up for it. Baby steps yea?

Baby steps, her boss replied amazed at how little she knew about her staff.

As she drove home that night, she pondered on Stacy’s words; if truly seeking perfection was a journey in futility.

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