Kick out the negative parts of perfectionism, be remarkable instead
The hard part about perfectionism isn’t always the feeling that everything we work on must be perfect.
The difficulty can be very much the opposite: the thought that if perfectionism is a negative trait, we should change it. Mess things up. Settle for a lower standard. Get more done.
But is that really a good thing?
If we're not remarkable, we're the same as everyone else. We don't excel. It's harder to stand out. The space between being remarkable and being mediocre is murky.
Sure, perfectionism comes with all sorts of baggage. It's incredibly unhealthy to beat yourself up when you can't reach your unattainable expectations. It's exhausting to feel like you always need to be better. Or be the best.
But what about if you kick the negative parts of perfectionism out the way?
If we look at what's hiding under the doubt, the low self-esteem, and the weight of expectation, we might see a desire to make things great. To do things better than they need to be.
Instead of trying to be perfect, we can focus on being remarkable.
I'm reminded of my trips to my favourite, nerdiest coffee places. Remarkable work is the espresso that a barista devoted their full attention, training, and precision to. Or the latte art that will make the next customer's day. It's in the little extras that take a bit longer to get right and don't need to be there. But they're what make all the difference. They're what we remember.
The startup with the beautifully-crafted website, impeccable user experience, and flawless delivery of select little details that win a customer's devotion isn't forgotten. The product is the cornerstone, but exceeding every expectation gives you a ladder above the competition.
If this is what we want - and by all means it doesn't have to be - it means making it our mission to create the best work we can. Every single time.
You might offer remarkable levels of value that go beyond what you needed to do. You can expand your belief in how deeply you can care for yourself and others. You can create remarkable beauty for the world to enjoy and remember you by.
If we're not striving to create remarkable work, it won't be memorable now and it almost certainly will not in years to come. If we're not remarkable, will we achieve what we want out of life?
To make it your mission, define what you want to be remarkable at.
Do it a little better, and do it every time. This choice doesn't make you a perfectionist, it means you're crafting great work. It means you're making an impact. And that can transform the extra time and effort into nothing but a pleasure.