Do you understand the difference between striving for excellence and striving for perfection? Let’s look at what these two very different concepts mean.

Perfection is striving for something that doesn’t exist. Because it doesn’t exist, it’s unattainable, and you’ll always be left feeling lack and as though you’re not good enough. When you think about it, what do we have that’s actually perfect? We often refer to something like “the perfect day” because we FEEL a certain way, but in and of itself, the actual day was not perfect.

Excellence, on the other hand, does exist. Striving for excellence means striving for YOUR personal best. It is a healthy mentality of wanting to improve what in your life is not working while, at the same time, celebrating what is.

If you don’t feel like you’re excelling in some area of your life, you’ve veered off course. You’re trying to do too much, or maybe not trying enough, and your energy and attention are misdirected.

As you know, your body talks some serious wisdom and never lies, so I want you to notice how perfection and excellence feel in your body. When you are excelling at something, you feel relaxed, expansive, receptive, and accomplished. When you are striving to be perfect, you feel stress, tightness, constriction, and defeated.

This week, I want you to observe if you are setting yourself up to fail by striving for perfection or if you are building your excellence muscle by striving to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday.

Let us know…what do perfection and excellence mean to you?

I hope you have an amazingly IMperfect week and, as always, take care of you.


Love Love Love


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  1. Hey, Your post really helped to change my mindset. However, I must share it with you that the feeling to become a perfectionist can never be dropped completely, which is nothing but another sort of a perfectionist idea! Yeah it’s true that it can dropped to a far extent.

  2. When I think about perfection I get a headache but when I think of excellence I get the never ending compassion for success that gives me a boost to work hard.

  3. I ended up here by a link from the online seminar you participated in and this couldn’t be more on point for me right now. The free meditation is actually what prompted me to join the seminar. Thank you for offering it, I look forward to listening! =)

  4. Thanks for posting. I like the idea of replacing perfectionism with excellence.

    Perfectionism is my ultimate vice. Can you tell me how to determine what my personal best is – is this something I need to work on? I like to think I know what’s best for me, but it’s usually not the case.

    My perfectionism can show up as avoidance and control over many things in my life. I see fears of failure, success and loss woven through everything I think and do. I struggle to get things done or work overboard to ensure I do (which doesn’t help) and things get worse. This can be seen in managing my finances, doing school work, exercising and getting an adequate amount of rest. My motto is do it all or none at all and I’m in a constant state of stress and things are not improving. What makes it harder is that I often neglect to see progress and keep going on my crazy adventure. I’m feeling overwhelmed. This new sense of awareness is creating a whole new kind of craziness. I so badly want my thinking to change and I think I’m actually trying to achieve perfection in letting go of perfection.

    So what can I do at this point? How do I strive for excellence?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Lisa Marie-
      I don’t think striving is your next right action. I think you need to SLOW DOWN and breathe. start a meditation practice and learn to get comfortable in the great area of life, which is about 90% of it. Seems like so much focus on achieving that as you stated it can either exhaust or paralyze you. There is no perfection just experiences and learning. So give yourself a break, get into therapy if you can (it will help) and embrace the messy, imperfect experience of life 😉

  5. I learned the difference between perfect (a perpetual way of beating myself up) and acceptable–in regards to myself and everything I do–the hard way. I grew up with a parent who thought it was his job to find the imperfection in everything I did and point it out to me (he thought this was his job as a parent). As a result, I never felt good enough, and my own accomplishments became analytical fault finding missions. No matter how well I did something, it was never perfect, so–by the definition I applied–it sucked, and I sucked!

    After 7 years of therapy and family of origin work, I learned to forgive . . . everyone on earth, but mostly myself. Now, excellence is simply the best I can apply, and it’s quite good enough (as I am). It isn’t about better or best. It’s about enough: Good enough, dedicated enough, happy enough. In striving for perfection (which doesn’t exist), I had a perpetual carrot, just out of reach.

    My recovery isn’t perfect (I still fall into the trap of taking on too much; overextending myself and beating myself up), but now I consider these reminders to get back on the path . . . and I do.

    1. Debra-
      Thank you so much for sharing your journey from perfection seeking to striving and accomplishing your own excellence! Super inspiring and so concisely written. I have no doubt that your words will help another person heal in some way. Good for YOU and thank you <3

  6. Back in grade school, I was praised for a talent in drawing and lettering. But at the same time, I was shy and introverted to where I would respond to some of my classmates by saying “thank you”, while telling myself, “Ah, they’re just saying that just to be nice in spite of the fact that I have been blessed to win a few art contests during my younger years. After high school graduation, I developed a passion for oil painting.
    I have posted photos of paintings done several years ago on FB, and received many heartwarming compliments from classmates I failed to keep in contact with since graduation. I would define perfection as
    working on the same painting for the past three years. Today, I volunteer as a support group Facilitator and recently won a “Wellness Starts Within” logo contest after submitting a drawing which only took three days to complete.

  7. For as long as I can remember I have started out to be perfect at everything I do.
    Of course I have failed time and time again.
    You make sense, be better than you were yesterday.
    Thank You

    1. Yes Richard! Simply better and accepting that our accomplishments are not what give us value. We are inherently worthy of love, simply by being alive 😉 Thank you for your post!

  8. Hello Terri,

    I have never understood the feelings of being not good enough or defeat until now. Even though I always tell my children to do there best and know there is no such thing as perfection, it seems that I always want perfection for myself, if that makes sense. I will now direct my focus on performing for excellence, my best.

    Thank you Terri

  9. Even the best needles are not sharp on both ends~~ Chinese proverb.

    This form of self abuse sneaks up on me time to time and I notice it follows how I experience disappointment with something that has happened. This is good to be aware of and to hold kindness near at all time. Thanks for the reminder, Terri!

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