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  • Writer's pictureSETH MCCOLLEY

Motivational Message - Excellence vs. Perfection

"Strive for excellence, not perfection."

    - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Nobody is perfect. Excellence is somewhat subjective and allows enough room for improvement. If I have an excellent performance today, it means that I've poured everything that I have, at that moment, into my performance. There's nothing left in me to give. Given enough time, practice, discipline and focus, my next performance will be better...and even more excellent. Very different from perfect. Perfection means that there is nothing more you can do, say or give to make your performance any better. Ever.

My daughter is an amazing girl. She's a competitive dancer, an outstanding student and until recently a competitive cheerleader. She's only eight years old. Granted, I may be a little biased, but it's my blog so bear with me. She's got more energy, drive and focus than I ever had at that age. With all of her activities, she gets lots of opportunities to perform. It could be the dance floor, the gym floor or the classroom, but she performs often. The one question I have for her is, "Did you do your very best today?"

I'm not concerned about my daughter being perfect. I don't want her to be perfect. I want her to be excellent. I want her to understand that if she gives everything she has to being excellent, there will never be a reason to be ashamed of her performance. She's going to win some. She's going to lose some.

Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing that you emptied yourself and put everything you had into a performance. Excellence leaves the door open for a better performance the next time. Perfection is definitive and slams the door shut.

This holds true in work and business as well. There is no perfect employee, much to the chagrin of the hiring managers, recruiters and HR pros out there. Granted, there are some pretty awesome employees, some corporate rock stars, but every employee's got something they need to work on (even Jennifer Aniston). I wouldn't have it any other way. That's why it's called Leadership Development, Talent Development, People Development, etc. 

I'll take excellence over perfection any day of the week.

Here endeth the lesson.

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