Perfection – The Paralyzing Pursuit

Perfection – The Paralyzing Pursuit

Being an entrepreneur is a freakishly delightful nightmare. As a sole-proprietor, if you don’t do it or hire someone else to do it; it isn’t getting done.

Everything from the cleanliness of the restrooms, to the budget and marketing plan – it is all you timebaby!

You are in complete control – no more nagging boss or derelict co-workers. There is nobody else to pass the blame or credit on to.

Owning a business allows you to have things your way; whether is it functional or not. And, my way has always been ‘perfect’. Everything has to be ‘just right’ with all things in their place, attention to every detail, organized, presentable, neat, and tidy.

I have invested hours sorting, straightening or as we say in Central PA – redding up.

Yes, we say that here and the translation is: to clear the space of clutter and/or clean the area. We also have many other equally odd terms but the list is too long to ponder today.

I function best when order and organization are plentiful.

It is easy for me to find value in filing papers, folding sheets, vacuuming and even cleaning the restrooms. Attention to the small details creates a welcoming and professional environment for me and my clients.

As a healing facilitator, the energy of the facility is extremely important. Re-arranging furniture until it finds the perfect place is therapeutic for me. Well calculated and uber-analyzed decisions over toilet paper, location of plants and wording on signs are some of the divinely imparted gifts I have to offer the world.

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing ‘right’.

One of the things that frustrated me most during my corporate stint was the philosophy that there always seemed to be enough time and resources to do it again, but never enough to do it right the first time.

So since I am in charge, I made sure that I would take the time to get it right the first time. None of the tom-foolery in re-do-land was going to creep into my business.

Or so I thought …

As the opportunities and networking sprouted like the crocuses in early spring, I wanted to make sure that I did not miss ‘that one’ connection. I spent time after the family drifted off to sleep or engaged in their own activities; researching, calculating and squeezing each detail into my carefully managed calendar.

I only allowed the most obscure or regionally distant events to fade into the background as I planned my well designed garden of success.

It all came together perfectly – painstakingly perfect.

However, eventually my calendar was overflowing, without a moment to spare. I was compacting eight hours of sleep into six so I could get it right the first time.

I knew that I was teetering on a rocky shore but this was my opportunity to shine and I wanted to offer that perfect beacon of light to every passing ship.

Deep down I knew it was time for a change, but perfection must be maintained.

Get it all right the first time.

Over the next few months I started to say ‘thank you but I am not able to make it”. At first there was self-inflicted guilt, but eventually it became tolerable.

However, with the expanded space in my schedule, I began to hyper-focus on the remaining tasks. The ensuing waves of analysis began to crash on my rocky shoreline. Eventually I succumbed to the relentless pounding of the perfect waves.

As I bobbed to the surface, gasping for air, I realized I was drowning in my very own sea of perfection.

As I climbed into the life raft, it was only then that I became keenly aware of my precarious situation. If I continued to clutch the weight of perfection, I was going to sink.

I was paralyzed by the overwhelming sensations that were rocking my boat – sink or swim.

My thoughts and body lay still. My shallow breath finally came into my awareness. Breathe, just breathe was my only thought.

As I drifted ashore, breathing much deeper now, I knew it would require diligent effort but I was willing to swim. I was willing to release the weight of perfection, even if it were one pebble at a time.

Over the next few weeks I began to observe the increase of energy that would pulse as I allowed the release of the perfection in small areas of my day. When I say small I mean that I was able to resist the need for all the toilet paper to be ‘over’ the rolls in the dispensers.

One step, no matter how small, is where we all begin as change is invited.

Soon, I found that there was something to this new found freedom. The tasks were being completed and good decisions were being made with less effort.

I had a renewed trust in my ability to navigate any circumstance that life had to offer. Perfection became a tool in the cabinet, it was available but I didn’t need to carry its weight every step of the way.

Learning to employee perfection as a tool rather than a burdensome weight continues to be an adventure for me.

Sometimes it feels like perfection is rusting away in the cabinet and I may have forgotten where I placed this old friend. Typos in a blog or an inaccurate date in an email that was sent to the masses – have I gone to the dark side 😉 – breathe – just breathe is my reminder in those moments. Then I give thanks that it is not a matter of life or death when I misspell a word. Nor will the zombie apocalypse begin because the date was inaccurate.

Yes, I do still have tendencies that are more inclined to the side of perfection, but now there is just a little more balance.

In this place of balance is where I feel most able to move freely.

When the desires of perfection become heavy and I begin to struggle under the weight, I breathe – just breathe.

Do you have a weight that prevents you from moving forward?

Try a few mindful breaths as you draw them deeper and deeper into your abdomen with the intent of inviting relaxation and clarity.

Blessings for all the best


  • Molly Schwartz
    Posted at 08:57h, 06 April Reply

    Thank you………………

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 19:06h, 07 April Reply

      Molly – this requires persistence for me.

  • Liz
    Posted at 08:39h, 07 April Reply

    fantastic. so proud and thank you for the breathing reminder.

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 19:05h, 07 April Reply

      Liz some times it feels like the entire is all about breathe…just breathe.

  • Sherry Dershimer
    Posted at 12:56h, 08 April Reply

    Nature isn’t perfect … or then again perhaps it is the most perfect in its infinite variety. No two leaves are shaped the same,no snowflake and my daffodils this spring are coming up at different times and sizes, so what is perfect perhaps is what is at times irregular and therefore more creative and interesting. We don;t notice, as much, the fence that is as straight as if drawn on the landscape, as we do the meandering fence line that is bent along a field. The hills and valleys are not the same,
    it is these alterations in the high and low hills and valleys that makes one more interesting than the other in the seasons and in the roads that travel through them.
    We notice what is not perfect first, we see it as a stand out in a line up, the irregular line on the high way calls our attention to the bend in the road or the intersection ahead. As a Designer for many years, it’s fascinating to me that the lest interesting spaces are the ones that are ‘perfect’, everything in a line, all furnishings lined up along a wall, it’s stilted and it’s uninteresting. Sometimes simply pulling the furnishings into a more relaxed angle adds tremendously to the character and interest in
    a room. How dull would the world be if we were all perfect humans, no change in the facial structure or the body of our being. It’s not even fun to contemplate. Perfection is uninteresting, uncharacteristic of nature itself.

    • Beth Whitman
      Posted at 11:49h, 10 April Reply

      Sherry that is a beautiful view point! Thank you for sharing.

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.