Preparation Without Perfection

“If you follow this plan step-by-step you will be guaranteed success.”

I have bought into that pitch more times than I want to recall. Now I’m much more skeptical of its assertion. Following directions and paying attention to details are definitely two of my strengths, I’ve had success following plans step-by-step. The problem I keep bumping up against is that it’s not possible for me to maintain that rigor of attention forever and I start to gradually slip in my level of success. Then I notice that my perfect efforts, process, success, etc. is not perfect after all. It doesn’t matter if it has to do with weight loss, lesson planning, reading, decorating, organizing, or writing a blog post, as soon as I deviate a bit things start crashing down around me. At least that’s how it feels.

My head tells me that if I do everything I’m supposed to do all will turn out as I want. My head also tells me that if I DON’T do everything I’m supposed to do not only will it not turn out as I want, but also I don’t deserve to have it work out because I failed the plan. I allow my lack of perfection to derail me and send me back to where I started. Why? Why do I do that?!

One area of my life that I have experienced great joy and success while embracing its inherent lack of perfection is performing on stage. There I can accept and allow the imperfection of being human to coexist with the high standards and efforts I practice to be an authentic, accomplished performer – with the proper preparation it’s perfectly acceptable to allow myself to be who and what I am at that very moment.

If I imagine my life as a beautiful tapestry with unusual threads running through it I need to keep my focus on the whole object and not fuss and pull on the threads that don’t seem to fit it the right way. Placing my focus and energy on the unusual thread will only make me pull on it too hard and perhaps destroy what is truly beautiful about the entire piece of art. Breaking those threads will weaken the whole tapestry. The whole is much more important and meaningful than those few threads.

I can see and feel those unusual threads throughout almost every aspect of my life, it’s time I stopped pulling on them. My intention: Preparation without Perfection.

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