Excellent vs. Perfect

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Most people don’t wake up in the morning and think: “I’m going to do a terrible job today,” Or, “today I’m going to be mediocre.” Most people have a desire to be excellent in what they do. They want to do well, contribute, and make their employer proud.
Yet, what I’ve discovered is that there is some confusion about what excellence is and what perfection is. They are not necessarily the same. In fact, there may be some excellence seen even in our imperfection.

Some of the great masterpieces of art have flaws in them. I would say that by its very definition Impressionist art is an imperfect image of something using broad stroke colors that clearly reveal the thing you are depicting. In home decoration there is a great attraction to distressed wood; a piece of wood that has aged and shows its nicks and indentations.

A few months ago, when I was completing my book, Leadership Qualities People Crave, I was up against a deadline. I had to decide between good and great, excellent vs perfect. I knew the book still had some flaws in it. I knew there were probably some syntax errors, there were a couple formatting issues, and no doubt, there were probably some spelling errors. However, vulnerability and “realness” is part of being a leader everyone wants to follow and I’m hoping that part comes through.

The reality was that we were launching the book at the Pizza Ranch National Conference and it came down to a choice: either accept that there were some imperfections in the book and get it in the hands of people for the National Conference, or, wait to launch it until it’s “perfect.”

In the scale of things, it’s weighing impact vs appearance, being effective vs being a perfectionist. There is a point in which we need to see that good is better than perfect. For those who obsess over perfect grammar, I’m sorry. But the real question is, in my case, was the material presented in a clear way so that the reader would understand the principles and concepts? Does the material draw people in, and resonate with their life in a way in which it triggers a change in their heart and mind? Does it emotionally stir them?

Perfect can paralyze us and keep us from moving ahead. Excellent is doing your best within the context and time frame allowed. In all cases pursue excellence, and in some cases perfect will be the result.

Perfect is an elusive butterfly, excellence is the net.


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