“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.” ~Brené Brown

I used to think perfection was something to strive for, and I tried to obtain it at all costs, only to be disappointed with my efforts at every turn. My desire to always accomplish 100 percent stemmed from a feeling of unworthiness that had been taught to me in my youth. My perceived defect only enhanced a deep desire to please my parents and teachers, to prove that I belonged, that I mattered. No matter how hard I tried to achieve perfection, I always failed. Obsessed with superheroes and gods, I didn’t want to admit I was human. Some days, I still don’t.

However, thanks to my coaches—and teachers like Brown—I now understand that perfectionism is the lowest standard with which to judge success, simply because it doesn’t exist. It can’t be won. This knowledge frees me to do my best and find gratitude no matter the result. Releasing perfection is a discipline that I practice everyday because the alternative is to live a life devoid of joy, and that is no life at all.

What role has perfectionism played in your life? Is that role still valid to the person you are now? How do you choose healthy striving instead of perfectionism? How would your life be transformed? Let me know in the comments!