The Pitfall of Perfection

In this journey of starting a non-profit organization, I’ve had to learn a lot of lessons, many of them that I did not want to have to learn. An important lesson that I’m still working through is on perfection. Striving for perfection is something that comes easily for me. And sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes its not a good thing. The problem with striving for perfection is that it stops me from just doing something. In my desire to have the perfect situation, the perfect timing, the perfect resources, I’m prevented from doing anything.

Since 2010 when I began dreaming of Cultivate, I had been waiting for the perfect time before I took that leap of faith to actually work on it. My head was full of ideas for Cultivate, but I kept telling myself that I would not start working on Cultivate until everything was perfect. The perfect time in my life to make the leap, having perfect health that would allow me to handle the stress of this, having the perfect financial situation.

But life never happens that way. Nothing is ever perfect. And it took circumstances outside of my control for me to see that I really needed to embrace the imperfection and start working on Cultivate, despite so many things not being as I wished they were.  And in the last 6 months so much has happened. Cultivate exists! But so often even in the process of working on its birth, I’ve been stalled by seeking perfection. I’ve spent endless hours researching before I start doing something. I’ll spend too much time thinking and planning before I actually take action. And though I do believe that things have to be well thought-out and that I have to be as prepared as possible, there comes a point where I can’t stop myself from doing the work that I really want to do. It’s like I am my own worst enemy. Cultivate doesn’t need to be perfect, and I have to let go of that expectation. Which is very hard. But I’m slowly learning! Cultivate does need to be the best that I can make it. With the limited resources that I have, the limited time, the limited energy.

Life is messy, and complicated, and always changing. We can’t wait for perfection. We can strive for it, but also take steps and just do something. I can’t let myself be stalled by a desire to have something that’s perfect. But I have to let go all of that. Because there’s too many people that are counting on me to just start doing something. And in doing that something, it can grow into something beautiful and perfect in its own way.

And that’s what I’m going to focus on in my life.  Beauty amidst the imperfection.

– Elaine, Executive Director