Living on Purpose Does not Mean You Are Perfect

Are you guilty of sabotaging living on purpose by being overcome by the spirit of perfectionism – always seeking perfection as the product of your actions. Perfectionism, in the guise of the right thing to do, can often be the worst unwisest, least productive pursuit and will stand in your way of living on purpose, if you let it.

Most of us want to do our very best when we take action as we pursue our goals. However, the pursuit of perfection can derail your efforts – many times, indefinitely.

There are many considerations when you examine perfectionism. Perfectionism may be what you ultimately strive for; however, failure to reach perfection is no reason to abandon your goals or the tasks to reach your goals. It is, however, important to do and present your best. It is important to recognize when you are doing – and have done – your best without obsessing over perfection, to the point of inertia.

The definition of perfectionism is to be without flaws; accepting nothing less than perfect. However, in many situations, perfection is not warranted and according to Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done”  and a perfectionist becomes the antithesis of a person living on purpose.

When examined closely, you will often find that perfectionism results in procrastination and has roots in the fear of failure and even the fear of success.

Well, here’s a News Flash for you: There is no perfect person! There is value in striving to do your best – giving your best – but when it stands in the way of accomplishing your goals, it has no value. Perfectionism becomes a symptom of larger issues and it has no place in a life lived with intention and on purpose.


At its worst, perfectionism will leave you stuck, unfulfilled and stymied. But turned it around, striving for perfection can be just the challenge you need to reach your goals. It is important to recognize when perfectionism is all about you striving for self-satisfaction, not about satisfying some little inner voice saying, “It’s still not good enough,”  a voice that was probably planted by someone else, anyway.


Knowing when striving to be perfect is beneficial and when it is detrimental may not be as tricky as you think. In its most helpful form, perfectionism is welcomed, even demanded. Tasks like brain surgery, building construction, or airplane mechanics require perfectionism – that extra attention to the tiniest of details. It is most often intrinsic to the well-being of others.


At its best, when the perfectionist strives for excellence and is very task oriented, then perfectionism can become one of the best motivators for “doing.” Think of Apple’s creator, Steve Jobs, in his quest to deliver the best product to consumers. He built one of the largest companies in the world based on “getting it just right.”


At its worst, understand that trying to be perfect in unwarranted situations will be energy depleting and will rob you of your creativity and productivity.


All of this is not to say that because you live on purpose that you should abandon doing things well. On the contrary, living on purpose means you are intrinsically called on to transcend “just good enough.” The trick is to recognize when, where, and how perfectionism is warranted and of value to you and to the well-being of others and when it’s an unreasonable hinderance.


Which are you: either an LOP superhero who uses perfectionism as a helpful motivator or someone who let’s perfectionism stand in the way of taking action?


If you want to learn more of how you can live your life on purpose and become a live on purpose  (LOP) Superhero, contact me at 205.225.9757. You can also listen to me on WJPMJ radio.  Listen live here bitly/wjpmjradio or download the app.

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